On Monday night I met up with my Twitter friends, Katy Riddle, Urvashi Roe and Felicity Spector for dinner at Bush Hall Dining Rooms on Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush. Bush Hall music rooms has recently had a massive makeover and they have managed to turn the greasy spoon next door into an elegant dining room which opened last month.
The walls have been stripped back and the obligatory exposed lightbulbs hang from the bare ceiling. The two-tone floor and leather banquette seating gives a diner feel to the place as you can see from this photo I nabbed from their website:
I had decided that I wasn’t going to drink alcohol as I am trying to cut back a bit and also trying not to spend too much money. So instead of ordering a glass of wine when I sat down, I ordered a small ‘strawberries and cream’ milkshake (£3) which came in a cute little milk bottle with a pink and white striped straw. It was small but perfect for a balmy evening. I think the bigger one would have been a bit too sweet before a meal.
We decided to go for just the two courses…main and pudding. As I’m trying to eat a bit lighter at the moment, I steered clear of the slightly heavier, albeit delicious sounding dishes on the menu, including pork 3 ways with crackling & crab apple; rack of lamb with pistachio crust; chargrilled ribeye with chips etc. I did see the pork going to the table next to us and it looked lovely, but I decided to opt for stuffed courgette flowers with a sweet potato and spring onion cake (£11)…
As you can see, this dish looks pretty spectacular and it did taste very good. I loved the courgette flowers which were stuffed with ricotta, basil and pine nuts. The ricotta was verging on being slightly too tart so the figs added a needed sweetness to the dish. Felicity, who had also ordered this dish, ordered a side of chutney which was lovely with it. It definitely needed some sweetness. I think it would have been a nice touch to toast the pine nuts before adding them to the stuffing as I think that brings their flavour out beautifully. But these were really only there for the texture rather than the flavour which was a shame. I didn’t taste the basil. But it was still very tasty all the same.
The sweet potato and spring onion cake was very nice but it actually tasted more of cumin. I wish they had mentioned this on the menu. I didn’t really taste the sweet potato which is odd. Maybe it needed a bit more seasoning? I would have almost preferred it to be a bit ‘crunchier’ on the outside to add a different texture to the overall dish. It was a lovely dish altogether but a couple of tweaks could have made it incredible.
We also ordered tenderstem broccoli and a portion of polenta chips for the table (£3.50 each). The polenta chips were a bit odd, very sweet, and you don’t get many of them. I think I’d go for regular chips next time. The broccoli was beautiful.
I felt really full by the end of my main so I wanted a light pudding. I was tempted by the malted chocolate and pistachio tart but knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it so I went for the buttermilk pannacotta with rhubarb.
Wow! This was one of the tastiest pannacotta’s I’ve ever had. It was sweet and silky and light. The texture was less like a traditional pannacotta and more like a Greek yoghurt, but I didn’t mind that at all, the flavour was just so lovely. I assume the rhubarb is there to combat the dish being overly sweet but I have quite a sweet tooth so I didn’t need all that rhubarb. I really only like it in small quantities anyway. I would probably have preferred it with strawberries or raspberries but that’s just a personal thing. In fact, it was so good that I’ve been searching online for buttermilk pannacotta recipes ever since to see if I can make it for myself at home.
Katy ordered the chocolate and pistachio tart which was delicious, really rich and dark and not too sweet. I also tasted Urvashi’s lemon posset which was also lovely. Very rich and not too tart.
I really liked Bush Hall Dining Room. Overall, the food was very good and the restaurant itself has a really calming, relaxing atmosphere to it. I loved the bar area and any restaurant that has a large vase of peonies on the bar always wins my vote. The staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, there when you needed them but not hassling you when you didn’t. And when the aircon got a bit too much, they would turn it off without hesitation.
Uxbridge Road isn’t very handy for me in terms of transport links, but there is a lot of the menu I would still like to try so I will definitely be back.