Some areas of London will never be gentrified no matter how hard they try. Back in the 80s when I was growing up the likes of Notting Hill, Clerkenwell and even much of Marylebone had a shabby louche quality. Then the 90s happened, property prices shot through the roof and all these once shabby areas got a pizza express and they were suddenly hip happening and smartened up. Some say they lost their soul but when you get down to it they are a lot nicer now than then. If you want to go back in time and see what we have missed then Shepherds Bush and it's two great arteries the Uxbridge and Goldhawk roads are a good start. Despite the country's largest posh new shopping centre on it's doorstep it resolutely refuses to smarten itself up. It's like London's grungy scruffy teenage son. It's not like it has a particular ethnic identity like say Green Lanes with it's great Turkish shops and restaurants. Walking up the Uxbridge Bush road to the Bush Hall Dining Rooms there is mish mash of places serving a variety of foods and nothing looks particularly enticing. This is an area of London people pass through hopefully on the road to a better future and postcode.
So anyway last Wednesday I found myself heading up the Uxbridge road to go and see a gig at the recently refurbished Bush Hall. Having spent the last paragraph trashing Shepherds Bush it is home to my favourite music venue the Empire, it is big enough to get decent bands but small enough to feel intimate and raucous. Bush Hall is a smaller space but with an attached restaurant and I was keen to give it a go. The band The Electric Soft Parade (they were actually eating at the next table pre-gig) were vaguely on my radar but Big Matt knew their stuff and said it should be a good night. Big Matt was waiting for me in the bar area of the dining rooms for our pre gig scoff. We were shown through to our table by our very engaging waiter who had a touch of the resting actor about him. The room is very much style over substance so lots of bare stained wood, reclaimed furniture and not enough room on the table. The beer is so trendy it is brewed in Hackney but they did a reasonable pre gig menu. It was pretty busy in there and the waiter seemed to know a lot of the other customers so plenty of repeat custom. Mind you there is nowhere else like this nearby so if you are in the social bracket where £20 on your haircut is the norm then it's a choice of coming here or Nando's. Matt and I started with the welsh rarebit which was fine but essentially posh cheese on toast. Matt inevitably had a burger and I had the special which was pan fried calves liver and veg. Matt found his burger so so, decent but nothing special. My liver was good a bit sinewy in parts but a good portion well cooked and tasty. The veg cake it came with was also nice giving a nice balance to the richness of the liver and its gravy. It was good autumn fayre.
We skipped desserts and then had a bit of nonsense with the bill. The gig deal was for 2 courses and a beer it turned out that our trendy beer wasn't included despite us checking with one of the waitresses that it was. The bill was amended but was still slightly wrong but we decided to leave it as life is too short. I do feel however if you are going to do these promos be clear what you are offering on the menu and make sure the staff know, it's not that difficult really. I’d love to say the gig lived up to the food next door but despite the venue of Bush Hall being lovely the band were very amateur. This was the first date of their tour and it showed. Underpowered vocals, hesitant stage presence, all a bit under-rehearsed. Anyway we enjoyed our night out and if you find yourself stranded around Shepherds Bush this is a good refuge.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7