Breathe in the scenic panorama of Shepherd's Bush Common. Go on, gulp it in. Marvel at the splendour of the West 12 consumer megaplex! Admire the piss-heads stumbling from the biggest single Walkabout you've ever seen! Wonder at the almost-constant gridlock!
Hard to imagine there is anywhere nice to eat around these parts as you scuttle to take refuge in the elephantine confines of the nearby Westfield and its chain restaurant comforts.
It would be harsh to dismiss the hodge-podge of well-respected local places along the Uxbridge and Goldhawk Roads selling an array of Thai, Indian, Polish, Greek and even Syrian fare. And there is a pretty decent boozer in the Defector's Weld, mind you it's been a minute since we last clomped a clog in there.
You can now add the polished, traditional facade of Bush Hall Dining rooms to the list, having pushed it's modern-British dining head through these two splayed streets, and nestling into the bosom to it's awesome ballroom-esque gig venue cousin next door.
The polish continues inside as smartly dressed, dark tabletops sit on checker board floors, next to distressed wood panelled walls, which conjures up something like a New York bistro meets Old West sensitivity. Kind of. The menu serves up familiar items you'd expect from a place like this, with flourishes of duck egg and gravadlax to add some colour. Very sophisticated pre-theatre.
You could have predicted the burger was going to arrive on a wooden board, presented open with a generous, well-melted layer of cheddar dripping off of an ample lump of beef accompanied by what may as well have been a full fucking garden salad on the lightly-toasted sesame-seeded top bun.
As is all-too-common with open-served options, condiments are left to the diner's discretion which poised the quandary: where were the sodding condiments?
The ketchup was easily enough located, and some house mayonnaise was available upon request, but there was no American mustard in sight. Colman's? A shelfload, but no American. That'll be the Britishness then.
Well, that is quite the pickle you say? It bloody was, a right thick slab of one. Along with a bunch of round lettuce leaves and multiple rings of red onion, a lot of the veggies didn't make the final cut purely due to balancing issues.
An open sandwich needs some quality meat, and cutting this open revealed an accomplished, picture-perfect medium patty, with the slightest ring of a charred edge surrounding an abundantly pink middle. The beef was compact but adequately juicy, leaking satisfyingly onto the bottom bun.
Everything did it's job: the beef was relatively tasty and well-seasoned, the tomato slices added moisture and onions added crunch, the chunky pickle spliced in some familiar sourness and the mayonnaise was modestly rich. The cheese had a pleasingly rubbery chew, but was quite mild, and the bun held everything together competently with a squishy other shell, yet was a touch too dense.
Ultimately this is a decent enough posh pub burger (yes, this is a restautant), a belly filler which functions as a perfectly fine meal. Spank some nice wine along with it, and crack on with an Eton Mess and it'd suffice as a good eat out.
But we can't help feeling it's a begrudging menu addition for the likes of us uncultured oiks. The place itself is pretty enough space to waste some time too, and currently a gentrified one-of-a-kind in an area the likes of the Bush, but would you go there unless you were taking in a show, or lived/worked there?
- Rob and Simon.