I go to The Bull a lot. Not because I particularly like it, but because it is my partner’s local, and he’s been going there all his life. It’s gone up in the world a lot since I moved to the area, which I’m told is due to new management.

The current landlady, Anne, and husband Phil, have redecorated, planted up the yard at the back, and started serving food. It all amounts to a something like a family-friendly atmosphere, which is a huge improvement on the past.

Yesterday evening, we met for dinner with family and friends, as we often do. As we often do, we experienced a number of problems with the service: orders were mixed up, the staff can never recall who ordered what, and the meals never come out at once – the first people have always finished by the time the last have been served (we know this happens, so we don’t stand on ceremony any more).

Despite all this, we keep coming back, and the reason is that the food is amazingly good value. The menu is roll call of pub favourites: ham & eggs, steak, sandwiches, jacket spuds and salads. Watch out though, because the portions are massive – I once had a salad as a light option, but in addition to your hugely generous salad, you also get a serving of chips.

Trying to watch my weight, this time I opted for a jacket spud. For under £3 I got a good size plain baked potato with butter, and a soup plate heaped with salad of mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes, and spring onions. The potato was kept in the oven until squidgy, which is just as it should be, and the salad was crisp and well-balanced. No dressing came with my salad, so I had some of someone else’s. I’m sure if I’d asked, I’d have got some eventually, but I couldn’t be bothered.

You see, the reason for the slow service is that Anne makes all the food herself, to order. It’s a bit like being in someone’s house for dinner (which is, in a sense, true), and you don’t want to interrupt your hostess while she’s busy.

So that’s both it’s major weakness, in that service is unprofessional and patchy, and it’s major strength, in that the food is fresh, and personal.

Have you tried the food at The Bull? If not, where near Silver Street would you go for an informal dinner with friends?

The Bull
Corner Silver Street and Lopen Road (View area map)

161 Silver Street
London N18 1PY
020 8807 2929