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 broader vicinity of this part of west London however, Shepherd’s Bush is one of the better places to grab dinner. Most of the action is around the green, but you’ll also find some nice spots located further afield.
Here’s where you should be eating in Shepherds Bush.
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. Book a date or group dinner here with confidence.
There are few pubs in London that you can take someone to for date night without them thinking that you intended to take them somewhere nicer around the corner, but forgot to make a booking. Unless, of course, you’re at a pub like The Queen Adelaide. It’s a retro pub on Uxbridge Road, with wood-panelled walls, a domed fireplace, 20s chandeliers, a giant painting of Queen Adelaide herself, and the kind of atmosphere that’s far more ‘charming date night’ than ‘hardcore boozer’. They serve proper gastropub fare with small plates like shin of beef croquette, but you really want one of their pies on your table.
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 cocktails. 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.
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 not easy to find an authentic 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.
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.
If you can make it through an hour of shopping at Westfield, or as we like to call it, visceral hell on Earth, without needing a glass of merlot, then we salute you. But, if you’re anything like us then you’ll be happy to know that across the road from Westfield is a small wine bar with lots of cheese. There’s an upstairs dining room that serves charcuterie and bigger dishes, but, really, you want to be downstairs tucked in one of their church pews with a bottle of wine. Just be warned, it’s a popular spot, so book ahead if you’re swinging by with more than two people.
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 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.