This restaurant might sell itself as Brook Green (Hammersmith’s leafy neighbour), but in reality, you have to leave the grassy open space, boutique butchers and the kind of London terraces you dream about owning behind. Instead, venture further up Shepherd’s Bush Road where, squeezed in among corner shops and budget hotels, you’ll eventually find Mustard.
Once inside though, surrounded by chequerboard tiles, mustard-yellow leather banquette seating, blue wooden panelling and a burnished copper bar, you’re transported. There’s something that feels distinctly French here, as if you’re in a Parisian bistro, but the menu focusses on classic British food using seasonal, responsibly-sourced ingredients from some of the UK’s best artisanal producers.
Kick off with a glass of toasty English fizz from Dorset with bright peach and lime flavours and order a basket of freshly-baked fennel and linseed bread with Cornish salt while you peruse the menu. Foccacia-like in style with a crisp crust, fluffy middle and a balance of fragrant fennel and moreish salt, this is some of the best bread we’ve had in a long time. You just can’t stop eating it and we didn’t. To start, lightly-fried Cornish squid was fresh and crisp, and a delicate salad of dandelion and rosehip was topped with a quenelle of soft, creamy goat’s cheese and a welcome crunch of toasted hazelnuts.
Roast sea bream for main was perfectly cooked and served with a sharp, herby tomato and cockle vinaigrette, which worked beautifully with the soft, flaky fish. This by itself would’ve been lovely, but it was unfortunately overpowered by creamy matchstick potatoes. More successful was Middle White pork rib with a sticky honey glaze, greens and lightly-spiced pease pudding (a northern comfort classic that we’re seeing on lots of menus right now) which played off the sweetness of the glaze to pull the dish together. A side of grilled spring onions with walnut butter was reminiscent of calçots and romesco, with the char from the grill working well against nutty sweetness of the butter.
Desserts weren’t worth saving space for. Lemon Eton mess looked good on paper, but what came was a grainy cream that needed a stronger whack of citrus and disappointing meringues. Gooseberry and gin crumble had a good balance between sweet and sharp, but we couldn’t taste the gin and the topping had too many big, floury lumps. The lavender custard, however, we could eat by the spoonful.
There’s some great cooking here, but there are also dishes the miss the mark. But, with it’s charming, relaxed vibe, once these teething problems are ironed out, we tip this neighbourhood bistro to be a new local favourite.
Written by Sarah Kingsbury
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