There is nothing better on a cold and sunny autumn day than going for a big walk in a London park, leaves crunching under your feet, knowing that at the end you will reach a gorgeous English pub for a scrumptious roast dinner. The park we walked around was the breath taking Hampstead Heath and the pub we'd booked into was the charming, The Holly Bush.
The Holly Bush is an exceptional Grade II listed pub nestled in the heart of Hampstead. From the tube station it is a short walk and bit of a climb up the hill and located down a very cute cobbled street. Originally it was built by 1790’s portrait painter George Romney and later taken over by Benskins brewery before it’s current owners, Fuller’s.
This establishment is not only striking in it’s look and feel, but in it’s simple Sunday lunch menu that serves excellent roast dinners to suit every dog walker and hungry tourist alike. The low ceilings and dark wood very much make you feel like you are in someone’s home. Well, technically you are, albeit there has been a few developments since the original home built in the 1790’s.
The roast dinners served here are fantastic. I had the roast lamb shoulder, on the bone, served with cauliflower cheese, sticky red cabbage, honey roast carrots, swede puree, roasted potatoes, gravy and one of the biggest Yorkshire Pudding’s I’ve ever seen.
The lamb was incredibly tender and fell apart with ease, the cauliflower cheese was cooked to perfection and very moreish. I am not a fan of swede but the roasted potatoes and sticky red cabbage were excellent. There are occasions when I have roast dinners in pubs, mass produced for the crowds and something is not quite right, perhaps the meat is dry, there’s not enough gravy or the vegetables lack flavour. There was nothing on this occasion that I could find any objection to.
My husband had the 28 day matured Hampshire sirloin of beef which was generous in its portion size and perfectly cooked whilst my Mum had the pork roast which was equally good, it came with terrific crunchy crackling but not the kind that breaks your teeth, pictured below.
I was very thankful that I did not order a starter, instead I had a refreshing and thirst quenching Hoegarden beer, although I have to say that the Seabass Ceviche with blueberries, chillies and squid ink crisp really caught my eye.
Disappointingly, nor could I find space to fit in a dessert after such a mammouth portion sized dinner which was a real shame considering that options on the menu included a Cherry & Almond Clafoutis with cornish clotted cream, a Honey Poached Peach with cinnamon ice cream & granola or a British Cheese board with Somerset brie, Westcombe cheddar and Stilton.
This pub is one I would take family, friends and even colleagues to as you can book a Skylight room, which is a semi-private space for 8 to 10 people, as well as the Our Lady Hamilton room which is a small private dining room also for parties of 8 to 10 people. I can guarantee they will be impressed with both the ambience and the food, especially if you are there for the wonderful Sunday roast which I highly recommend.
The Holly Bush, 22 Hollymount, Hampstead, London, NW3 6SG
For reservations call: 0207 435 2892