When it comes to dining, few shopping malls can boast much more than fast food chains and takeaway stalls but Shepherd’s Bush Westfield centre is an exception.
This sprawling mecca to consumerism counts some of London’s best-known franchises among its eateries, but it’s also home to a number of lesser-known establishments.
Located on its southern terrace, running adjacent to the main building, is the Bull – an inoffensive restaurant-bar first opened in 2008.
It shut in October to undergo a small refurbishment and since reopening less than a month later, has a new team and menu – but prices and style stay much the same.
The downstairs bar is a bustling watering hole, a pleasant meeting point after a busy day of shopping or stressful day at work.
Behind the striking wooden bar is a decent selection of spirits and beers, and if you’re partial to a cocktail you’ll be pleased with the reasonably priced drinks on offer.
There are classics – an espresso martini or negroni – but you’ll also find some lesser known concoctions. Cue the ‘Jammy Dodger’ (complete with Baileys, strawberry puree and a biscuit!).
Upstairs is the restaurant where vibrant prints and artwork adorn the walls and big, bright armchairs (which are really rather comfortable) are dotted around the room.
But while the refurb is less than four months old the carpet is tired and the toilets are tatty.
Now, onto the food. Several pub grub staples are on the menu; such as burgers and fries, fish and chips, and bubble and squeak.
And it’s all affordable. A typical main course costs around £14 while the sirloin steak comes in at less than £30. But the portions are big – too big – so you’re unlikely to manage three courses.
With little on the menu for vegetarians and vegans, hopes of letting Veganuary roll into February are dashed. Only one main course is herbivore friendly and while all the sides appear vegetarian on paper, a portion of mashed potato comes doused in a watery bed of gravy.
Based on taste alone the signature dish is the Young’s Bitter sourdough bread, served on a wooden board alongside oil and butter.
At the Bull, friendly and attentive staff, reasonable decor and a pleasant atmosphere doesn’t make up for food that lacks in flavour and a limited menu for those on restricted diets.
If you do want to make the most of it and unload those heaving shopping bags, then graze on a few sides and starters before washing it all down with a bottle of wine.
Just be sure to sit in one of the armchairs.