By Nick Gale
Shepherd’s Bush is now best known for its Westfield luxury shopping zone. But it, or rather very nearby White City, used to be the world headquarters of the BBC. Otherwise, it had little to recommend it.
Now, that’s all changed. After my first visit to this area, I saw an emerging community of shops, restaurants and upscale apartments when I ventured to Wellbourne Brasserie. And I was impressed.
The brasserie is informal and fun – and an import to the London scene from Bristol. I had signed up for one of the special guest chef nights but it gets great reviews for its normal menus.
It hit upon the idea of some special Friday nights when the head chef invites his pals (all with Michelin pedigree) from The Square Mayfair and La Trompette Chiswick to help create an exquisite tasting menu.
We were greeted with champagne and gourmet vol-au-vents (£6 for three on the normal menu). Coming from Birmingham, vol-au-vents were a traditional party staple that wouldn’t normally be found anywhere near a grand affair such as this, but these delicious morsels blew every preconception out of the window and we ended up having to stop ourselves after the third or fourth for fear of over-eating before the meal itself had even begun.
The real flair of this meal came from the ability of each chef to turn traditionally simple dishes into explosions of flavour where one could pinpoint each taste within every mouthful.
The highlight of the evening was Mark’s (La Trompette) Warm Salad of autumn roots, tarragon and charred onion cream. A former colleague when I worked in a restaurant always said the vegetarian option was the real test of cooking ability.
“Anyone can cook a delicious steak with a nice cut of meat,” he used to say!
Mark is the taste personification of this philosophy. His dish was a revelation. The flavour of the onion cream managed to be simultaneously subtle and powerful and went perfectly with the tender autumn roots nestled in tarragon and an assortment of spices and crumbs.
Despite this being the highlight, every dish was phenomenal and it was difficult to pick a favourite. In general it was clear that each chef had put a tremendous amount of effort into both the presentation and overall taste of each dish, as well as clearly having a great time in the kitchen itself which was a pleasure to witness.
Although this was the first such event at Wellbourne Brasserie, they will be doing the same again on November 1, with a totally new menu. If you go, (booking at https://wellbourne.restaurant/whitecity/exclusive-dinner/) I hope your evening is as splendid as ours was. The tasting menu alone was £65 per person. For the quality and quantity of food available, it’s worth every penny.
But most people will go on “ordinary days”. When the weather is good, there’s a south facing terrace (an idea whose currency is increasing in London). All days have the standard menu – it’s Modern British with a menu with a traditional all-day brasserie approach, focusing on dishes from the charcoal oven including a daily dish of the day for £12, and crumpets served with smoked mackerel. Including a drink and service, you should see change from £60 for two.
And they do brunch – that increasingly popular dish between breakfast and lunch until noon.
Nearest Station: White City
195 Wood Ln, White City, London W12 7FQ
Tel: 020 3417 4865