Busy Shepherd's Bush is a veritable hub of eateries, ranging from the cheap and cheerful to more expensive and elegant fare. From Polish to Chinese, Malaysian to Spanish, Shepherd's Bush restaurants have got it covered.
Located above the homely Albertine wine bar, this cosy little restaurant is now owned by TV chef Allegra McEvedy (who co-founded Leon, FYI). Expect lots of ‘healthy’ Italian influences on the menu and plenty for vegetarians – from courgette ‘carpaccio’ to a winning plate of smoky aubergine topped with sharp caponata. Otherwise, go for something meaty such as an Ibérica presa pork steak with chips and chimichurri, washed down with a glass or two from the tasty wine list.
The first proper restaurant from The Athenian street-food chain is a big beast within White City Place, serving its signature souvlaki wraps (with salad and oregano fries) alongside a whole host of new ideas – from bespoke Gyros burgers to courgette fritters, tomato croquettes with Athenian sauce and desserts such as flourless brownies. They also do breakfast (try the wild boar sausage muffins) and now offer an extended selection of Greek craft beers and regional wines.
Big helpings, low prices and a rollickingly relaxed setting are the draws at this vast Syrian restaurant near Shepherd’s Bush Market – no wonder young families and couples head here for a quick, fuss-free meal. Sharing nibbles give way to mighty tagines, couscous, grills and dishes such as tomato and rice maklouba packed with chunks of lamb and aubergine. Otherwise, load up on freshly baked breads and meze at the all-you-can-eat Sunday breakfast buffet. Abu Zaad is unlicensed, but ayran (salted yoghurt) and mint tea do their job.
By day, this Shepherd’s Bush classic is a redoubtable greasy spoon with a fry-up menu to match; by night, it morphs into a cosy North African bistro with clothed tables, moody lighting and a line-up of exotic Moroccan and Tunisian specialities. Mix and match from a great-value menu that moves from crisp little briks, briwats, cigares and doigts de fatma (delicately spiced savoury filo pastries) to heart-warming tagines, couscous, stews and grills. Complimentary appetisers and the option of BYOB add to the feelgood vibe.
If you’re looking for something slicker and more corporate than the usual W12 vibe, this portal to White City House (formerly BBC Television Centre) should fit the bill. Dark, glossy, laidback and trendy, with ’70s detailing nodding to its previous tenant, The Allis deals in brasserie fare with strong US overtones – expect the likes of burgers, pies and Caesar salads alongside pumpkin ravioli, paprika-scented smoked-chicken croquettes and hugely moreish choc-chip cookies sprinkled with sea salt. Live jazz too.
Little sister to the Chelsea stalwart, this well-dressed all-day drinking and dining rendezvous spot is a useful addition to the local scene, with a lovely terrace for alfresco breakfasts, lunches and cocktails. Located within the revamped BBC Television Centre building, it’s a genuinely cheerful spot with a lovely ambience and some pretty confident contemporary cooking – the chicken milanese with crispy green beans and herby mayo is a must-order comfort-food classic.
Following the success of its branches in Brixton and Soho, Kricket has found yet another home – this time within the old BBC Television Centre in White City. The food is everything you would expect and more – a succession of killer Anglo-Indian small plates ranging from samphire pakoras and duck leg kathi roll with peanut chutney to tandoori monkfish with smoked aubergine and courgette pickle. Spicy cocktails are big sellers in the bar, and the Indian-themed Sunday roasts are worth knowing about.
A SheBu favourite, Esarn Kheaw has been serving north-eastern Thai food to appreciative locals for more than 25 years. The dark dining room may be starting to show its age, but the cooking is as good as ever. Witness marinated chargrilled beef with a minced catfish, anchovy and green chilli dip or a blisteringly hot vegetarian jungle curry. Also don’t miss the boiled and deep-fried ‘son-in-law eggs’ – a delicious mouth-cooling foil to the spicy food.
Penang! (which opened in late 2012) takes its name from the food-oriented island on the west coast of Malaysia, and is intended to be the first of a chain of outlets. Dining takes place over two floors, and on an outdoor terrace.
Once famed for its ramshackle quirkiness and working men’s café aesthetic, the Red Sea is now a relatively smart cookie complete with a chequered black-and-white tiled floor, chairs covered in white linen and yellow walls emblazoned with ethnic artefacts and tapestries. The look may have changed, but this Shepherd’s Bush joint still woos locals with a wilfully eccentric menu of Eritrean, Ethiopian, Somali and Yemeni cuisine – plus the odd plate of spag bol or chicken curry. Signature dishes include burem (literally ‘boiled meat’), steamed lamb mandi and grilled sea bass (blackened, splayed open and served with a pile of rice of salad), but also note the various ‘fata’ breads served with dates or banana, cream and honey. Sides include chips as well as floppy injera, while kids are offered chicken nuggets or fish fingers. Unlicensed, but you can BYO for a nominal £1 corkage.
Housed in the classy Dorsett Hotel on Shepherd’s Bush Green and named after the Shanghainese architectural style, Shikumen’s handsome interior doesn’t disappoint. Neither does its line-up of exquisitely crafted and reasonably priced dim sum, especially the signature xiao long bao and sophisticated scallop siu mai topped with tobiko. The kitchen also turns out to be a faultless rendition of stir-fried seafood ho fun in XO sauce, while its Peking duck is correctly served in two stages.
Recommending a Pakistani canteen for its builder’s tea might seem perverse, but the sweet, spicy doodh patti chai served at Shola is the real deal. Open weekday lunchtimes, this light, roomy place serves as a refuelling point for workers at the new White City Place creative hub – and the food is bang-on excellent. Trawl through the line-up of ‘bites’, ‘bowls’ and ‘coals’ to your heart’s content but don’t miss the crunchy chicken pakoras, the khatti daal with buttery parathas or the tender lamb shoulder wrap.
Taftoon flatbreads are baked in a clay oven by the front window of Sufi, a peach of a Persian restaurant on SheBu’s Askew Road. Glorious stews, spot-on kebabs and beautiful meze are the main attractions, such as the superb kashk-e bademjan (a smoky whey-based aubergine dip with walnuts, garlic and onion). Overall, Sufi is just about smart enough for a date, with rugs and musical instruments contributing to the exotic vibe.
Westfield shoppers are lucky to have this honest-to-goodness tapas bar as a stopgap and refuelling point after a heavy bout of retail therapy, especially as it delivers great value across the board. There are no surprises or molecular gastronomic fantasies here, just down-home jamón croquetas, punchy pan con tomate and delectable churros dipped in top-notch hot chocolate to finish. Tip: don’t miss the ‘happy hora’ jugs of sangria or the stonking daytime ‘menu rápido’.
There’s no shortage of budget chop suey joints in SheBu, but this is a proper Chinese restaurant serving more than the usual takeaway scoff. Huge portions of uncompromisingly fiery Sichuan cuisine are the big draw, backed by gentler items such as steamed scallops with glass noodles, Hunan-style red-braised pork belly or scrambled eggs with Chinese chives. Fans of tofu, luncheon meat and chicken gizzards are in for a treat here.