A couple of weeks ago when I told a certain someone we were headed to Shepherd’s Bush for dinner on Friday night, he casually replied ‘oh cool, somewhere you’ve never really been before…’ while humming the theme tune to Only Fools and Horses. To which I not so casually retorted, ‘um excuse me, I’ve been there several times now… remember how I whinged about the platform changes while lugging my shopping bags around?!’. And then as quickly as those words escaped my mouth, I was wishing they really hadn’t because I then had to admit that a certain someone was right. These admissions are not something I take pleasure in.
The handful of times I had been to Shepherd’s Bush involved me emerging from the tube station, walking to the Westfield, walking around the mall (several times), and then back down to the tube again… so fine, I’d admit defeat, I’ve never really been to Shepherd’s Bush. I’ve never seen a concert at the O2, or checked out the wares for sale at Shepherd’s Bush Market, and embarrassingly, didn’t even know the Bush Theatre existed!
This visit started much like all the others – I got off the tube and headed towards the mall, walked purposefully towards some shops, walked out with some additional items for my wardrobe… but instead of jumping straight back onto the tube, I met a certain someone outside the station and then took my first proper steps into Shepherd’s Bush. We were headed to Pictures in the Dorsett Hotel, a four star hotel housed in a Grade II listed building which was formerly The Pavilion, a cinema and bingo hall back in the day.
Walking into the slick lobby, it was nice to see some nods to the building’s history alongside the Chinese influences from the hotel group; I particularly liked the secluded corner with the picture of Audrey… very romantic. We made our way towards Jin Bar and relaxed into the comfiest of couches with a cocktail in hand and toasted to the return of our passports that very day! Definitely a fitting way to celebrate our good news.
My Shakespeare in Love cocktail was good enough for a sequel, but my stomach had other ideas so we swiftly moved into Pictures, the hotel’s modern bistro, to quell my hunger. Between the menu of simple, crowd pleasing dishes and the ever so helpful servers, it wasn’t at all difficult to make our selections.
Our starters may well be considered a little old fashioned; potted duck and a crayfish twist on the classic prawn cocktail, but mock as you may, they were tasty. It feels wrong admitting it but that combination of mayonnaise, tomato, and worchestershire sauce is one I will happily dowse over lots of things, crayfish very much included in that list. The potted duck was delicious combined with the chutney, liberally spread onto small pieces of toast.
A far different duck dish arrived next, the Barbary duck breast on red cabbage with plum sauce. I’m assured the classic combination of duck, cabbage and plum was not messed around with but a certain someone found the breast to be a little overdone for his liking. I must say that he’s been busy perfecting his own duck breast this year so I suppose I’ll take his word for it.
No such issues of doneness (because I’m less fussy?) with the poached teriyaki salmon with wasabi and scallion mash; the fillet just cooked and flaking away, the skin crispy. Wasabi in your mashed potatoes might sound like fusion gone wrong but that little hint of heat makes this mash the perfect accompaniment to the sweetness of the teriyaki sauce.
Of course we’re full by this stage, but as you all know, I never turn down dessert… especially when there’s something chocolatey on the menu but in a strange turn of events, I snubbed the brownie in favour of the pineapple upside down cake. Pineapples are one of my favourite fruit on their own, but in a cake, floating in custard was a bit of an improvement. A certain someone also got one of his 5+ a day with the apple tart… that counts right? And surely the ice cream will boost his calcium intake, well that’s what I tell myself anyway.
Fancy five-star hotels aside, most hotel restaurants don’t have the best reputation but we were pleasantly impressed with our meal at Pictures. The menu is a classic hits of tried and tested combinations, but in their line of business, there is absolutely nothing wrong with playing it a little safe, especially when they’re well executed.
I left my first proper trip to Shepherd’s Bush rather happy; it had nothing to do with the new shoes I bought earlier that evening and everything to do with having consumed three satisfying courses of food. Next time I’m in the neighbourhood, I’ll be stopping by for a cocktail and maybe take a moment to channel my inner Audrey in her corner of the lobby!
We were guests of Pictures, Dorsett Shepherd’s Bush but as always, all opinions are mine, mine and mine alone! Special thanks to Omar and Michal for taking such great care of us that evening!