Spicing up Shepherd’s Bush – Mustard:
I’ve been invited to review a brand new West London brasserie called Mustard. It sits on the site of an old Café Rouge on that bit of the Shepherd’s Bush Road that hasn’t quite decided if it’s posh yet and in the couple of months it’s been open the place has become something of a hit with local mums, young couples and groups of friends.The food offer is modern British and reads like a high street version of what you might expect at one of Jason Atherton’s Social joints. It’s been created by restaurateurs Lawrence Hartley and Tim Healy (Joe Allen) and executive chef Jason Wild (Daphne’s, Joe Allen) and has the feel of a place that could be built into a larger group. The interior is quite stylish with a blend of Farrow & Ball style painted woodwork and brasserie banquettes and tables – it’s a bit as if someone had taken a Café Rouge and stripped out the overly Gallic elements…but that is probably a smart move.We were drinking a Grillo Lance, Cantina Paolini, Sicily 2014 (£29.50) which was maybe too full-bodied for our starters. I had the Gin soaked organic cured salmon (£6.75) which was served with sour cream and pickles. This was a prettily plated version of a classic dish with the juniper flavour of the salmon blending well with the rye bread, cream and pickles.The crab element in the Devonshire crab salad (£7.95) was well-dressed- small spoonfuls of the crustacean were artfully placed in chicory leaves flavoured with wholegrain mustard and wild fennel. This was a well executed and decently priced example of the seasonality that is central to the restaurant’s offer.8oz 28 day aged sirloin (£17.50) with chips was served lukewarm and was well-done rather than medium as ordered.Roast hake was advertised as being served in a cockle vinaigrette (£12.95) but also came in a rather thick sauce. Whatever it did come in wasn’t unpleasant but again the dish was overdone.Raw shaved vegetable salad in a mustard dressing (£2.95) was fresh and well dressed- a bit like me on a good day… and chips (£2.95) were suitably crisp on the outside.Gooseberry and gin crumble, vanilla custard with hints of lavender (£5.95) was a classic comfort dish but still light enough for the summer. It did need at least some lavender flavour to come through since that was advertised.Flourless chocolate cake (£5.95) didn’t have the density that I associate with this dish being rather spongey!
Mustard feels a little like a work in progress at the moment but that is unsurprising at this stage in its development. Prices are very reasonable and some care has gone into thinking about flavour and presentation. With a little more work it could develop into a very competitive and distinct high street offer. I would love a place that served potted shrimps, smoked eel, a steak and kidney pudding and maybe even a Sussex Pond Pudding next to the Pizza Expresses and designer burger places.
98-100 Shepherd’s Bush Road, Brook Green, London W6 7PD