Otherwise known as the ‘cool bit’ of West London, you might find yourself in SheBu for the odd gig or because you’ve been dragged to Westfield for the umpteenth time to go shoe-shopping. However, unless you’ve got a date with falafel or dumplings, you’re probably not here to eat.
In the general vicinity of West London however, Shepherds Bush is one of the better places to grab dinner, and the neighbourhood is cool without the outright twattery of other areas. Most of the action is around the green, but you’ll also find some nice spots located around Brook Green.
Here’s where you should be eating in Shepherds Bush.
Every neighbourhood needs a solid neighbourhood restaurant, and Mustard fits the bill for everything from your parents’ unannounced visit to a casual dinner with a houseguest whom you can’t be bothered to trek to central London for. The restaurant serves tasty brasserie-style food like fish cakes and beef braised in red wine that, while not exactly memorable, gets the job done nicely. The dining room has lots of wood panelling and leather, and is a reassuringly comfy place to sit while your mum gabs on about her local bake sale. Just don’t get too comfortable and actually fall asleep, OK?
Shikumen is the best restaurant in Shepherds Bush and 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 that just happens to be located inside the swish Dorsett Hotel, but unlike most posh Chinese places, it’s neither ridiculously expensive nor pretentious. We’re not saying you should use it to drop in for a cheap bowl of noodles, but considering how good the food is, it’s a price we’re more than happy with 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 bumping with Chinese families and the odd East London tourist (us). Book a date or group dinner here with confidence.
The Uxbridge Road isn’t the prettiest stretch of road in Shepherds Bush, but it’s where some of the best action is in the area. Case in point, Bush Hall Dining Rooms, a pretty and relaxed diner with a very chilled ambience and anything you would conceivably want to eat on any given night. It’s a brilliant little neighbourhood place that’ll do you crab cakes or a tasty hamburger in a snip, and their pizza game is pretty good too. Hit it up for dinner with friends in the evening, or for their brunch.
It’s one of our long standing observations that there aren’t a heap of ‘authentic’ tacos in London. Killer Tomato won’t change that, but if you just want some solid tacos, this place is worth checking out. It’s a small neighbourhood spot around the corner from the Empire (so Perfect For pre-gig eats) that does tacos and burritos with bonkers combos like Vietnamese pork and lamb Merguez and feta. Their burritos are tasty, and you might want to check out their cheeseburger taco, that tastes like a Big Mac. It’s up to you to decide whether that sounds incredible or terrifying, or both. They also have a Saturday afternoon all-you-can eat tacofest with unlimited booze too, which is so much better than the usual eggs benedict snorefest.
Esarn is a cosy local spot on the Uxbridge Road, with old-school 80’s decor and sweet service from a couple of aunties who are experts at guiding you through the menu of homestyle Northeastern Thai food. Esarn’s 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 as intense as it is in Bangkok. If you do happen to have less adventurous eaters among you, relax - there’s also Massaman curry and pad thai on the menu.
Not to be mistaken with the bakery beloved of Taiwanese tourists, the Hummingbird Deli is an easy peasy breakfast and brunch spot a couple of minutes from Shepherd’s Bush Market station. It’s a cosy spot that’s convenient for snacking, and at the weekends you won’t be wanting for smashed avocado and eggs. The coffee’s decent, and it’s an appropriately lit spot for nursing a hangover.
We like to live by a few rules. First, live every week like it’s Shark Week. Second, always order your fish supper from an actual chippy, because gastropub fish and chips is for chumps. Kerbisher and Malt won’t be your granddad’s idea of a chippy, but it is good. There’s a proper counter, lots of tiles, and seats for you to shovel warm fried potatoes in your face. The fish and chips itself is very good, and they’ll even grill it if you’re worried about things like, you know, gout.
It’s Saturday morning, and you’ve woken up in Chez Boo with your questionable one night stand from the previous night. 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 them at their best. If they manage to ruin that, then feel free to leg it to the station. Get the pancakes.
You probably know what the deal is with Brewdog but in case you don’t, here’s a quick recap. It’s a brewery up in Aberdeen that just happens to have opened some of the best craft beer bars in London. Shepherds Bush was their third in town, and it’s also one of their best, owing to the fact that it has the same brilliant selection of beers (and friendly staff to help you navigate it), but it’s also larger than other Brewdogs. So while it gets popular at the weekends, you can still usually find somewhere to sit, and if you’re hungry, they’ve a solid selection of burgers and BBQ on hand.