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Roebuck, Hampstead

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user reviews of the Roebuck, Hampstead

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Very average pub - 3 ales on which all tasted fine but not spectacular. The food was rather 'hit and miss' with four of us getting meals which varied in quality (fish and chips were very poor).

it's a shame as the pub had a nice atmosphere and the staff seemed friendly, just need to sort out the kitchen!
Foreman - 26 Jun 2012 13:05
Okay pub with outdoor seating, nothing special.
alexw - 30 Jul 2011 10:15
This place has had a makeover in the past six months (I'm guessing, but it's certainly been recent), and is much improved.

Out has gone the bizarre mishmash of 'ironic' 70s lights and carpets and fittings, and it's been toned down to a more traditional Youngs-style boozer - darker wood, softer tones, all the more conducive to a conversation and sticking around for a few pints.

Staff seemed friendly, good crowd, including - gasp - some real people in NW£. Must be over from the hospital. Keep coming, as this place is trying much harder these days.

And try the little bar just a few doors up the street - very promising, but needs some support.
adelondon - 24 Jun 2011 14:14
There are only a few rational explanations for the previous reviews (or indeed any positive ones) since my last post below: 1. the owners keep a watch on reviews about their pub and post ridiculously overrated comments totally at odds with REALITY; 2. the reviewers are genuine but had their taste buds burnt off and sense of proportion surgically removed at birth; 3. people are REALLY stupid and get distracted into thinking they're having a good time with a crap meal and zero atmosphere because the furnishings have been changed in the past 6 months. Take a vote people - there really aren't any other options.
azriel - 24 Jul 2010 18:33
Really enjoyed the beer garden, much quieter than the Garden Gate which can be what you're after sometimes. Friendly barstaff.
jo_leblanc - 10 Jun 2010 12:52
Visited last night - they had Youngs ordinaire, Bombardier, London Gold and Hooky on - what a treat - thought Youngs only did Youngs but now they're branching out - so I was happy. The wine list is good and the staff know what they're talking about - so my girlfriend was happy. We didn't eat as we'd booked elsewhere but there was lots of food coming out. There seemed to be an impromptu party going on - good atmosphere - we'll be back
fruitywine - 30 May 2010 18:20
I've been to the pub for a dinner with some friends. And i can tell, the only negative point was about my full stomack who couldn't get anymore food after an amazing meal.The food was so nice and tasty i couldn't stop myself! Trust me, i am a very good eater but i am also very fussy and a like good food. For sure I'll keep coming back and try to eat more and more.
Thyllane - 27 May 2010 22:42
Let me say this clearly: I-am-not-one-to-post-reviews. But in this case i really felt compelled to register a login, check my email, verify it, etc etc, just so i could actually a) vent my spleen and b) warn off any would be diners from this dismal joke of a place to eat. Sounds harsh? It honestly isn't.

Innocently ordering a 9.95 steak,what actually turned up on my table was the most dismal dish i have ever set eyes on outside of a hospital. (Could there be a tunnel between the Royal Free kitchens and the Roebuck cellar?) The portion of meat was slightly bigger than a poached egg (alas no exaggeration), the salad was old and visibly wilted and the rest of the plate was crammed with tasteless boiled potatoes. Previously in a fine mood from the sunny day, it was such a bad meal that it made me instantly depressed. Where did the chef train? Fawlty Towers?!

With such flagrant corner cutting making this place hard not to remember for all the wrong reasons, its also hard not to wonder what they're thinking and whether one-off trade from Heath visitor blow ins is actually enough to keep the place affloat. Do the locals that frequent (i think i counted 2) have such poor taste or do they just stick to the beer?

Suffice to say if i should ever be hungry and in the vicinity again, i intend to spend 1.19 on an M&S sandwich, that way i know i'll get more enjoyment out of a meal and won't leave the premises feeling completely ripped off.
azriel - 23 May 2010 19:31
The more I think about our meal in this place the more furious I get.
We booked a table for approximately 15 friends plus five children to celebrate Christmas together on Sunday December 13th at 1pm.
A special festive menu was suggested with choice of turkey, beef, vegetarian all of which we ordered over a week in advance of our visit.
The meal was £19.95 for two courses - more than rival local pubs in the area charge - but as a result we were expecting something extra special for the festive period.
What actually greeted our stomachs resembled prison food.
Four plates of Turkey roll were served first, each accompanied by four lonely brussels sprouts, four carrot batons and three soggy ‘roast’ potatoes.
The portions were mean by any kitchen’s standards but worse was to follow.
Ten minutes after the first meals were served a few more followed in dribs and drabs, this continued for another ten minutes. I finally received my meal a good 20 minutes after the first plate was served.
Eleven had chosen the ‘roasted rump of west country beef’ expecting carved portions of fresh meat.
Each of us received markedly different mains.
My friend Zoe was bestowed with three mini lumps of stewing steak - 70 percent gristle I’d say.
This was, naturally, over cooked and required a mouth gymnast to consume successfully.
My friend Mark on the other hand was the unfortunate recipient of two reformed frozen beef steaks that looked and tasted nothing like nothing else on anybody’s else’s plates.
It was obviously something that had been living at the back of the freezer for months and brought out to make up the numbers.
I felt fortunate to be handed a fillet steak cooked within a minute of charcoal, but fortunate nonetheless.
All eleven meals looked and tasted completely different to each other and the presentation was frankly appalling.
On top of that they were served on a mishmash of plates ranging from the gargantuan serving plates allowing the sparse food items to roll around like marbles or – as in my case – on a child’s plate with a pyramid of overcooked blandness.
And what about gravy I hear you cry? What gravy? Just dry as a bone vegetables and rock hard meat unseasoned plonked in front of us willy nilly.
Roast dinner is not the hardest thing to get right.
I would argue you can order a roast in any pub up and down the country and expect lashings of gravy, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings and – most importantly – fresh meat.
Surely having taken a booking for 20 odd people with specific food requests well in advance somebody could have had the foresight to buy a side of Beef or a small Turkey.
And if the Roebuck’s miniscule kitchen and deliciously-challenged cook cannot cope with delivering 20 meals at once then why take the booking in the first place.
As a local to Hampstead and Belsize Park I can confirm there is a lot of competition for food in the area.
The Garden Gate, The Magdala, The Stag are all within yards of the Roebuck and all serve seriously excellent food while catering for many more guests.
I was wondering why so few punters were eating when we arrived, now I know why.
As part of the two courses I also ordered a cheese board which consisted of a large knob of butter (which many mistook for cheddar), melted chlorine-infused brie and a slab of crusted blue cheese that had been exposed to the air for far too long, plus three stale crackers.
Served on side plates, no garnish, no presentation whatsoever.
Others had the misfortune of choosing the lemon ‘asbestos’ pie which defied description.
This being an opportunity for old friends to celebrate Christmas together we did not complain much at the time but did ask for some free coffee.
Only ten arrived and these were served in a mishmash on cups some with saucers, others sliding about on make-shift plates.
When a large proportion of us finally left the pub having spent at least £27 a head, the few remaining bore witness to another table of diners who had markedly better meals.
Large fancy plates with carved meat, rich gravy, parsnips and other non post apocalyptic veg. This far superior meal people were enjoying was only £11.95 from the regular menu (okay so they didn’t get the chlorine brie on a saucer or asbestos pie).
That’s almost a tenner cheaper than our ‘special Christmas’ meal and let’s face it we’ve all had much better roasts in various pubs for even less.
We spoke to the landlady (Suzanne) to point this out but she was really rather keen on blaming Youngs suppliers who send the precise ingredients for Christmas meals (and no gravy, so we should be thankful for the gravy she managed to rustle up for us).
There are so many great pubs within yards of this establishment, which already has a poor reputation in relation to its competitors.
It’s a shame because this was my first visit here and the décor and ambiance seemed pleasant.
Suffice to say my friends and I shall not be returning.

Yours still seething and hungry

Moopster13 - 18 Jan 2010 15:26
We went to the Roebuck for a nice quiet family Sunday lunch,although we haven't been in for a while-to our surprise the food was excellent,we had been served by a tall gentleman (youngish) who was very polite.I personally orded the roast lamb (description:melting in the mouth),my husband had the roast beef and our 2 children the fish and chips-all plates were spring cleaned but no space for desserts.We shall returned to make a treat as I heard they are making handmade ones!Good pub food is hard to find nowadays,most of them serve frozen food with fried food.Most recommended!
lynn38 - 29 Dec 2009 19:59
Went to the Roebuck with a large group of friends for Christmas lunch. Hugely disappointing. Portions were stingy and the food poorly cooked - verging on inedible. As the food didn't arrive until gone 2pm and we had hungry kids with us, it was too late to send the food back and go somewhere else, so we struggled through, but under different circumstances, i would have walked out.
The veggie option was limp pasta in tomato sauce, the roast beef came out as shriveled rump steak that was tough as old boots. The roast potatoes were covered in black bruises, the carrots and sprouts, i can only assume, were left over from last year. For £10 a head i'd have felt ripped off - but The Roebuck had the cheek to charge us £20 a head for two courses. Disgraceful.
When we spoke to the Manager, our complaints fell on deaf ears. She was unconcerned that we'd had such a bad experience. When we saw people being served huge plates of lovely looking roast beef with yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings (for £11!), she explained that they had ordered off the Sunday lunch menu, but we'd ordered off the Christmas menu, which is provided by Youngs centrally. If we had a problem we should take it up with Youngs. So tough basically (though not as tough as the steak we were served...).
I'm taking it up with Youngs - but thought i'd warn you too. I won't go there again - that's for sure.
Eve18 - 20 Dec 2009 12:05
I have complicated sight problems a hearing problem and suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. My 22 year old foster son who has overcome enormous tragedies in this life met me on this pub balcony to celebrate his achievement in getting a recording contract. The woman at the bar was rude insolent agggressive and twisted words to a degree I found desperate. at first she refused to serve my boy because he was "a little boy" He is quite obviously mature and has nay tattoos which would imply an over 18 status.however he went home and got his passport.
she again refused to serve him because he was rude ans supposedly shouted. He did not shout nor was he rude. but when I attempted to resolve the issue this womn was sneering rude and offensive.
We went around the corner and ere served in the George immediately.
I do not anjoy being smirked at when explaining my level of disabilities
verycross - 25 Sep 2009 21:28
this pub is lovely, i have nothing bad to say, i met the female manager (not sure who the previous person was talking to but its defifitely a lady not a bloke) and found her to be very helpful and generally a good sort, i do agree that some of the staff are indeed a little stuck up, but they were efficent and my drinks were served wuickly and with no issues. all good as far as im concerned.
castle2 - 28 Mar 2009 18:05
This place is much easier on the eye and feels a lot more comfortable since the refurb. The garden out the back has been done up and it is also a vast improvement. Unfortunately it has to be vacated at 21:45, which I think is a little early, although this may be out of the pub’s hands. I’m not a big fan of gastro pubs, but this place used to be a dive and anything would have been an improvement.

There are four ale pumps, two of which serve up Young’s Ordinary and the other two are Winter Warmer and Bombardier (which was good). There is also a selection of standard and premium lagers.

I didn’t find the staff to be the friendliest of people and the manager was more interested in talking to the young ladies. I asked him about the refurb and he was very dismissive saying the pub was done up 5 weeks ago – which according to a previous comment is untrue.

I’ll go back here when I’ve lost a couple of stone and grown some breasts so that I get served in a friendly manner.
Strongers - 19 Jan 2009 12:01
see review 2nd Dec
I suppose with all the terrible reviews of this pub in recent times, there's nothing wrong with a bit of self promotion is there? Have seen the pub since the refurb and thought it looked fabulous...but the prices, both food and drink, did seem to be on the pricey side.
gingertosser - 17 Dec 2008 02:25
WOW!! What can I say?.. This is the best Youngs' refurbishment that I have seen for quite a long time! I visited on Saturday night and was amazed by the transformation that has taken place. The upstairs bar no longer smells or looks like a 70's brothel, which in itself, can only be an improvement. The conservatory area is now warm and inviting and the garden now has more seating, which will be great when Summer finally arrives.

As for the old downstairs bar, it is now a cocktail bar called Fawns (like the deer-related tie-in!). It is worthy of being located in the most fashionable area of the West End - stunning!! Prices are, as one would expect, slightly on the ambitious side for the area, but that should help keep the riff-raff out (see previous posting). There is also a late licence on weekends, which should give the local Hampstead set somewhere quality to go after a hard week shopping and partying! This is a bonus, as most bars in Hampstead and the surrounding area seem to be shutting down on a monthly basis. The decor is tasteful and decadent at the same time - a good use of a small, dark space.

The menu looks great too. I saw a cheeseboard being delivered to a table and couldn't quite believe the size of it, even for £11.00. More than enough for a few of us to share. They also have a canape and buffet menu selection, which looked delicious.

i had frequented this pub before it became a Youngs' pub, and was very unimpressed. It had been left to rot and looked as though its sister pub, the Garden Gate, had been very much the beneficiary of all money set aside for development and maintenance. Things have now changed for the better. The female manager was charming and introduced herself to us, asking us what we thought of the redevelopment. We couldn't have been any more positive in our response. I would seriously suggest popping back to see the changes to all those who may have had a bad experience before - you'll be amazed.

I would recommend the Roebuck to all. A beautifully done and well thought-out refurbishment. Good to see Youngs' moving forward and changing with the times. We'll be back!!
ginsling - 2 Dec 2008 21:07
This pub is awful avoid like THE PLAGUE. My Cousin and I booked a room in this place for our 30th Birthday and paid 100 pounds deposit 2 months in advance. The DJ phoned the venue 4 days before the event to confirm details and the Manager of the bar said that we were not allowed to have a DJ. When we made the booking we doubled checked we could have a DJ and it was obvious as the pub told us they had a PA system we could use.

We phoned the Manager and she was rude and abusive. It's been really stressful and the management of this pub have treated us like **it. We would of brought 50-60 customers to their bar but they have doubled booked us and not even informed us that we could not use the venue after we paid a deposit two months ago. They were then rude and abusive and threatened us saying they have big bouncers who will not let into the pub if we try to enter.

Anyway food is overpriced and poor. Bad selection of drinks and very very rude bar staff and management.

In a phrase " avoid like the plague " and go to a pub that values it's customers not one that treats them like crap. Please tell all your friends to avoid this awful bar.
britishbulldog1978 - 28 Nov 2008 17:53
saw the pub quiz advertised at this pub so called in on Tuesday night, quiz was good fun, but staff behind the counter were terrible and messed up our dessert order, the dessert was apple crumble and was terrible (and im honeslty not fussy!) Decided to give them another chance and check out their sunday roast, got there at 4.45pm to be told 'no point looking at that menu as we are all out' by the rude bartender we saw the week before, instead ordered a burger and chips for £10 and got an appalling meal, burnt and oily burger, and wedges that when i squeezed dripped oil. very disappointed. Plus i ordered a lime and soda and got told 'nope - we havent got lime!' doesnt help the bartender is a bit of a jerk. A lovely pub, wtih a fabulous garden, love the decor (a homely living room feel) and all renovated bathrooms etc, but food and especially staff ruin it...wont go back a third time!
anonymous - 27 Oct 2008 14:01
Used to enjoy drinking at this pub, but it's gone seriously downhill. On our most recent visit, only half the food we ordered actually arrived. The staff were seriously rude and unhelpful. Half the beers were off - no real ale - and the new selection of wine is poor. The white wine we ordered was served warm - didn't feel like complaining about this after the passive-aggressive response we got when pointing out that our food hadn't turned up.
bitter_n_twisted - 2 Oct 2008 23:02
Stopped off at this pub after noticing a sign saying "we sell beer now" or something. Wasn't sure if it was a joke or what not so went in. Fantastic garden in the back made up for a disappointing selection of ales - only Adnams Bitter and London Pride. The Adnams went off and we were told they were putting a new barrel on - the barmaid came back and informed us there were only 4 pints left - the worlds smallest barrel. Anyway, returned to the bar later and asked for the Adnams again, and was told it would be 45 minutes to change it. We reluctantly selected a Pride - after 3 out of 4 Prides had been poured, another staff member appeared and said the Adnams was back on again!!!!!!! Very annoying. Pub itself is a bit poncy.
Sharp - 31 Aug 2008 21:27
Nice pub in a realy tweedy part of town, non of those Hampstead RussellBrandalikes or psuedo poets frequent this establishment, thank the lord. good selection of international and continental beers. Pleasant patio area. Well worth a return visit.
theregent - 10 May 2008 16:17
Yet another very good pub in Hampstead, one of the many pubs scattered around the Royal Free. Pints and nuts were shockingly expensive, but then perhaps a reasonably-priced round would be more shocking in this neck of the woods.
Greshon - 5 Apr 2008 21:54
Crassly decorated interior but friendly enough staff, passably good food on occasion and fair enough mix of clientele. Unlike most pubs in the area this is pleasantly free of whinnying bankers and other such spam-faced dullards.
TS77 - 29 Feb 2008 12:39
I hadn’t been to the Roebuck for a few years before I popped in for a couple of pints of very nice Staropramen on Saturday afternoon.
It was never one of my favourite pubs and I still found it dark and unpleasant inside. Thankfully it was a lovely day and I was able to sit in the nice patio garden out the back and read my paper. Gone are the days of pie and mash for 4 quid, but the people that were eating seemed to have no complaints.

I would go back again if the weather was nice and I could sit outside, but I really don't like the interior of the pub.
Strongers - 1 May 2007 07:29
Went there last night for the Quiz. Its a decent pub - food ok, and beer is lovely. However, the manager is pretty obnoxious - my food hadn't turned up for an hour and a half and when I enquired about it, he came over and wrongfully accused me of trying it on to get some free food! Not exactly customer service! It left a very sour taste and even later when I spoke to him he was really confrontational when I was trying to avoid any fuss.

Turns out we won the quiz, so in effect our food was free, and we also got a £20 bar tab, but ordered a bottle of wine to take away so we wouldn't have to go back there!
jimwhitters - 7 Mar 2007 07:57
Quirky decor which isn't so quirky these days as pubs are starting to follow the same formula. Great choice of beer, good atmosphere and the food was decent. I will be back.
bekker - 26 Feb 2006 21:37
Yet another one of the Mitchells & Butlers boozers with the same formula as Crown and Castle in Clerkenwell, the Eagle on city road, Island Queen in Issy. But I don't like this one as much - less relaxed and somehow less friendly. Still, good beers on tap and in bottles - Erdinger, Paulaner. I had well-kept Adnams Broadside and was given it in a handle pint pot which was a nice touch. Didn't fancy the look of the food.

Would go again (next to girlfriend's work) but not a massive fan. 7/10 because its got good beer.
anonymous - 23 Feb 2006 22:28
Revisited on a Saturday night. Busy. Another place that hides its non premium lagers so that you can't see them. They have done it out well but as I've posted so often I'm fed up with these places.
Lyncroft - 8 Feb 2006 17:45
Went to a great Xmas disco/party about 10 years ago. Full of nurses from the Free. Whenever I've gone back since it's been a bit depressing.

Visited it today and it's been done up - in the usual gastro way. However, I liked it. Got a pleasant beer garden through the back. It wasn't too busy, the food was fairly priced and the staff were really pleasant and friendly without being trendy and poncy. Will visit again.

I was surprised it wasn't more busy.
Lyncroft - 10 Apr 2005 19:01
This pub is a bit dark and a bit too trendy for my liking....BUT! Oh sweet Mary mudda of Jesus ..the Sunday Roast is THE BEST I have tasted in a North London pub!!
I know, big claim to make but I was SO impressed!
You must give it a try...certainly the finest I could find for under a tenner in Hampstead!!!
(Though that ain't saying much really, is it??!!!)

cherrypop - 25 Jan 2005 12:15
your right this was a tad run down but i have to agree it's fab! i love the decor, the lighting, the food, the drink hey i totally love this pub. but i have to disagree with the comment on the staff, they are fun, warm & very welcomin, it's nice to not have agrunt as your hello. best time to go is a sun or fri nightin my view, this is my new local!
jenny - 4 Jan 2005 14:46
Used to be a bit of a "one man and his dog" kinda pub. However, after reading the Islington Gazette last week, which awarded it a five star rating as "one of the best pubs in north London", I had to go check it out for myself.

I was more than pleasantly surprised. The interior is very chic (but by no means pretentious). The food was great and the drinks range was second to none, with everything from cask ales such as Timothy Taylor, through to less conventional tipples, such as hemp beer!

This is definitely one of North London's best-kept secrets.

rhys - 20 Dec 2004 20:01
I went in last Thursday for pint after work. First time in since being done up. Head barmiad was a bit snotty the rest were fine. Nice decor, if a little dark.
anonymous - 9 Nov 2004 13:47
has recently closed for re-furbishment, so wait and see .
dan - 6 Oct 2004 12:11

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