Where To Eat In Shepherd’s BushFrom dim sum spots to casual bistros, here’s where you should be eating when you’re in Shepherd’s Bush.
Maybe you’re in Shepherd’s Bush for a gig. Or maybe you work in the area. Or maybe, just maybe, you forgot your nephew’s birthday and you’re about to run the length of Westfield like you’re Forrest Gump on a mission to find the last remaining Baby Shark doll in London. It doesn’t really matter why you’re in W12, what matters is that there are plenty of great places to eat around here. From one of London’s oldest Thai restaurants on Uxbridge Road, to a 16-seater omakase restaurant inside the old BBC Television Centre, this is where you should be eating in this part of west London.
When you first sit down at this 10-seater omakase restaurant on the top floor of the old BBC Television centre and Endo, the sushi master, emerges through a curtained side door, you’ll feel a kind of buzz we imagine is akin to watching The Beatles play Here Comes The Sun in ’69. This place not only has views across west London but everything from the Tokyo oyster, to the Cornish squid, to the Spanish otoro nigiri is exceptional. Plus, it’s all made directly in front of you and handed straight to you to eat. You should also expect big prices: it's £220 for a 20-course dinner. But it's entirely worth it for this kind of once-in-a-lifetime meal.
A spacious Syrian restaurant on Uxbridge Road, with a name that translates to ‘the old days’ and a rustic, exposed brick dining room to match, this is an excellent spot for Middle Eastern classics. Come here for some of the best mezze in the area in a lively setting where you won’t be told to keep it down. And if you happen to visit on a weekend, don’t miss the excellent manakeesh that they get from Damascene Bakery down the road. Our favourite is the meat and cheese number.
Westfield has a lot of food options, most of which are hit and miss, but this spot is serving some pretty solid Korean fried chicken. We’re talking double-fried, soy-brined chicken pieces with a crispy exterior and your choice of housemade sauce (we’d go for the Korean BBQ). The burgers are good too, but the fried chicken is so good we’d pass on the bread (shocking, we know). The kimchi mac and cheese is essential and their iced tea is also something you should have on the table.
This Algerian spot inside Shepherd’s Bush Market is making some of the best sandwiches around. There’s a simple menu with five meats to choose from, including lamb’s liver, merguez, marinated chicken, and a fish fillet. While all of the sandwiches are great, our favourites are the chicken and the minced meat. You’ll find regulars appearing out of nowhere and leaving with hefty sandwiches to go, and you can watch as your meat of choice is fried to order. Harissa and mayonnaise is brushed on to the bread and each sandwich is topped off with chips, a fried egg, and salad. They’re generously filled, make a great lunch, and once you try one, trust us, you’ll be back to taste everything on the menu.
Shikumen is one of the best restaurants in Shepherd’s Bush but unless you knew it was there, you’ll probably have walked past it dozens of times without knowing it. It’s a posh Chinese restaurant located inside the swish Dorsett Hotel, but don’t let that make you think it’s either ridiculously expensive nor pretentious. It isn’t. We’re not saying you should drop in for a cheap bowl of noodles, but considering how good the food is, it’s a price we’re more than happy paying every now and then. The roast duck is very good and you should absolutely come here for dim sum at the weekends when the room’s buzzing with people. Book a date or group dinner here with confidence.
This spot on Uxbridge Road is apparently RiRi’s go-to Caribbean spot in Shepherd’s Bush. Their menu has everything from fish tea soup, to curry goat and jerk chicken, and excellent Jamaican patties with a choice between meat, chicken, fish, and vegetables for £2.50 a pop. Our favourite of the patties is the meat. It’s peppery and warming, but the chicken is also a great choice and a little lighter. You’ll always find a queue of at least two people before you, but the wait is usually quick and the food is definitely worth it.
This tiny Palestinian kiosk is parked opposite Shepherd’s Bush underground station, and could very easily be missed. But the falafel here really shouldn’t be. It’s made to order and their falafel box is one of our favourite grab-and-go lunches in the area. They’ve got wraps, salad boxes, and tahini. The best part? It’s all under a fiver.
Somewhere in W12, there is a dumpling burger waiting to be eaten. Why does that affect your life? We’ll tell you why. At this spot on Goldhawk Road, you can get some great jerk chicken sandwiched inside a fried dumpling. The dumpling is fluffy and we could eat a whole batch of them alone (which they do sell), but the Caribbean jerk spiced chicken inside is saucy and full of flavour. You can add things like fried plantain, avocado, and cheese, or you can keep it simple. It’s a popular spot with limited seating so if you’re in a rush, taking it away is the better option.
Shepherd’s Bush isn’t lacking options when it comes to Lebanese restaurants and bakeries. But if you’re only going to try one, it should be Zeit & Zaatar. This little spot on Uxbridge Road has been specialising in manakeesh for over a decade, and it shows. They’ve got all the classics like za’atar and labneh, and halloumi, as well as some Z&Z specialties like basterma with cheese, and cheese and honey. What’s more, most of them fall within the £3 to £5 range. You can’t go wrong with a classic lahm beajin or spinach, and we like to ask for some cheese on them, because... well... melted cheese.
It’s basically impossible to get any work done in Shepherd’s Bush without asking one of the following questions. When did Ricky Martin start making music again? Where did all these children come from? And at what point did human beings start using Primark bags as paper nunchucks? But Flying Horse Coffee in the old BBC Television Centre is actually a pretty peaceful place to send some emails, get a little life admin done, or contemplate how you’re managing to keep so many hanging plants alive. The coffee here won’t blow you away but the wifi is fast and there are plenty of pastries and baked goods to choose from come lunchtime.
Esarn is a cosy local spot on the Uxbridge Road, with old-school ‘80s decor and sweet waitstaff who will effortlessly guide you through the menu of home-style north eastern Thai food. Esarn is an original for Thai cuisine in London and the food isn’t for the fainthearted. The minced pork and bamboo shoot salad is very good and the tom yum is intense. If you do happen to have less adventurous eaters among you, relax—there’s also massaman curry and pad thai on the menu.
The first thing you need to do when you sit down at Kricket is order the Keralan fried chicken. The second is to order a cocktail. This modern Indian spot is in the old Television Centre and serves small plates, the odd larger dish, and some creative drinks. This is a great spot when you’re heading out with a big group of friends for a catch-up that requires several solid hours of eating and drinking. Or with several colleagues, including two vegetarians and someone who insists on only drinking IPA. Kricket has something that’ll please everyone. Just make sure you get a round of that fried chicken in so you’re pleased too.
It’s not easy to find a little candlelit spot in Shepherd’s Bush, but if that’s what you’re searching for, Bocconi’s will fit the bill. This is a proper little Italian joint with herbs hanging from the window, entirely dodgy upholstery, and some secretly excellent food. Is the music and some of the decor slightly questionable? Yes. It absolutely is. But that’s a price worth paying for this breed of homemade cooking. The menu changes regularly depending on what’s in season and focuses mostly on fresh fish and meat, but if you’re feeling indecisive, you can’t go wrong with their mushroom risotto.
Every neighbourhood needs a steadfast joint. Your port in the storm when biblically hungover. A shoulder to cry on when you spent your entire pay packet in the first five days of the month. For Shepherd’s Bush, that place is Mr Falafel. It’s a pretty basic grab-and-go setup, but their classic wrap is under a fiver and it’s got to be one of the best falafels in London.
It’s Saturday morning and you’ve woken up in Chez Boo with your questionable one-night stand. Press reset and wander over to Proud Mary’s where you can decide if you actually like them as a human being over an Aussie-style brunch. It’s the only place in W12 where you can optimistically pretend you’re in Sydney (especially if the sun’s out and they’ve set up chairs outside) and more importantly, everyone likes brunch so you can see your date at their best. If they manage to ruin that, then feel free to leg it to the station. But only after you get the pancakes.