The Old White Bear
1 Well Road, London NW3 1LJ
There are folk who regret the makeover of the Old White Bear, which has turned from local boozer to (beautifully) designed gastropub under the direction of Jasper Gorst – also responsible for The Oak on Westbourne Grove. But a meal here ought to put an end to such nostalgia. This is currently the best gastropub in Hampstead by a country mile. It’s not cheap, with prices for main courses at dinner – like fillet of seabass, fennel & blood orange salad, rosemary & aioli or venison loin, rosti potatoes, savoy cabbage & red currents – weighing in at moderate-to-high restaurant levels. But the cooking is quality and there are cheaper options if you’re happy to graze on tapa-like small plates such as salt cod croquettes, aioli and broad bean puree, bruschetta, priced at a fiver a go, or an Italian or Spanish plate of antipasti and charcuterie. The wine list, too, is outstanding, with twenty interesting bottles available by the glass.