I can’t really work out how to separate my blog into “Home and Away”, so until I do you’ll have to put up with disorder…
Like I’ve said before, I was lucky enough to marry into a family that love food as much as mine do. Through this union I’ve gained a wine expert uncle, one that creates 7 course dinner parties at the drop of a hat, a mother in law that is basically an EPIC baker and a brother in law that got directly messaged on Twitter by Nigella about his chocolate cake. I know. This is why my “metabolism is slow”…
Kate deserves her own blog entry!
Bush Hall Dining Rooms is in Shepherd’s Bush. It’s where my domestic-goddess-connected brother in law James lives. Good old She-Bu (groan) has got A LOT of chain restaurants since the opening of Westfield and a few good independents though not quite enough. So Bush Hall is a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood. Eponymously named for the music venue next door, it takes its design inspirations from a traditional, though cosy, dining hall. It’s got a beautiful bar and the room lends itself to community. Four of us went – Kate, James and his housemate Paul.
We’d all had a pretty heavy night on the Saturday and I was a bit worried that the eating experience would pass me by so in the spirit of hair of the dog I had a Twinkle, a heady mix of Vodka, Elderflower and Champagne. Paul’s Twinkle accidentally got knocked over when our starters arrived – it was almost done but he got a brand new one and needless to say he continued to sparkle throughout the evening. It’s because of my previous night’s exploits and Twinkle-drinking that I forgot to take any pictures but the kind folks at BHDR let me use some of their shots.
The food is well executed upscale bistro dishes that we have all come to know and love – duck eggs with asparagus, , char-grilled ribeyes with bearnaise, cambridge burnt cream, summer pudding – you get the picture. Paul had the shrimp cocktail with Jack Daniels marie rose. The shrimps were sweet and were topped with huge king prawns like the ones in Beetle Juice, but less face grabby. Forget your 1970’s limp-lettuced, tomato sauce cocktails, it was really good.
A particular shout out also has to go to the ham and cheese croquettes. They were excellent. I prefer my croquetas to be made from a béchamel sauce and bread crumbed rather than a potato based filling. I’ve only ever eaten one of similar quality and that was at Bar 44 Penarth – but that’s for another time. The croquette crunched and then basically melted with oozy cheese, hammy saltiness. SO GOOD.
We moved on to stuffed courgette flowers with a sweet potato and spring onion cake, pork 3 Ways, fish stew and the rack of lamb. All of the dishes were cooked perfectly and well seasoned. The stew had the depth of flavour that only comes from a lovingly tended stock and used the types of sustainable fish that good old Hugh F_W has been trying to get us to eat for years, like mullet and pollock. It came with a big crispy crouton slathered with saffron aioli, reminiscent of the rouille you get with your bouillabaisse in Marseilles.
The courgette flowers were stuffed with ricotta, basil and pine nuts, really delicately flavoured and slightly perfumed. Whenever I thing of courgette flowers I always see them tempura’d in my minds eye and I think I kinda wish they had been stuffed and fried, but then I am from South Wales.
The pork three ways involved a thick juicy square of pork belly which was both fatty and crispy, it was delicious and went well with the crab apple sauce, the tanginess of which cut right through the richness. The crackling was good too, not chewy or so hard that the effort results in a visit to the emergency dentist.
By the time it came to dessert I was preparing to sleep on a chickens lip when along came a malted chocolate and pistachio tart and a flippin’ knickerbocker glory. The tart was RICH – dark and big and malty – like dark chocolate Horlicks in Ganache form. If you don’t like Horlicks think Ovaltine, and if you’re not partial to that, go with a Malteser.
Paul’s mum has brought him up with very specific ideas of what a knickerbocker glory is. Very specific. They must have spent a long time breaking it down into it’s constituent parts – “Vanilla and strawberry ice cream, no chocolate, fruit salad and a swirl of strawberry or raspberry sauce, cream and chopped nuts”. I don’t think there was any fruit cocktail, there was definitely ice-cream, some sort of jelly and certainly no chocolate – it passed the PM family test, so its a winner in my books.
All in all Bush Hall Dining Rooms is very much worth a visit, the food is good, the drinks are innovative, you can have a whole roast carved at your table on Sundays and share it all with friends and family. The service was attentive and personal without being overbearing.
What more do you need? A reservation.
(pic courtesy of James Conrad Williams)
304 Uxbridge Road, London W12 7LJ
T 020 8222 6933
M 07920 454478