Last night Bird in the Bush was in The Bird in Hand. Confused? Don't be; it's a lovely little pub to be found in the W14 outskirts of Shepherd's Bush. I'd heard good things about this place from my sources in East Shepherd's Bush (i.e. West Kensington) and seeing as it wasn't a million miles away from my own home I wandered on down there yesterday evening, bravely accompanied by Darren who I owed a bottle of red to after that Training Run that I'm not sure he's recovered from yet.
|Source: Chris Amies who on Flickr appears to be a keen local (W6/W14/W12) photographer.|
I'm not sure if this is an official term, but it's a corner-pub which I like as it normally means a nice big bar and more than one door to fall out of. The Bird in Hand delivered on both counts. Not that there was any falling out of doors last night as we were very civilised in sharing the one bottle of Montelpulciano d'Abbruzo (déjà vu?) and then some lemonade and a healthy portion of unhealthy dry roasted nuts.
It's easy to see why people like and recommend this pub. The best way I could describe it is "simple, yet effective". It's a warm and comfortable pub to walk into despite it essentially being the one large open plan room. I suppose it helps that it ticks a lot of the now predictable London pub boxes: large refurbished antique tables and chairs, retro mirrors on the walls, patterned wallpaper on the others and candles and a clipboard menu on each table. Yet it's not doing this to keep up with the Jones' (or Defectors Welds) of London, there is a suggestion it is like this because it suits the character and the clientele. Apart from a man and his dog and a couple of old boys at the bar watching the football on a single drop down big screen in one corner, this is a pub for the young/middle-aged professionals who live nearby.
Yesterday many were there enjoying The Bird in Hand's Monday Curry Club (£10.00 for a curry (there were three options to choose from on the blackboard, oh - another London pub box tick!!), naan bread, rice and a pint or glass of wine) though other people were enjoying other dishes on offer. The Bird in Hand has no less than three food menus depending on what day or time you're there. All three looked pretty good to me and may possibly be now saved to my Favourites.
The wine list was concise (I think I was spoilt by the "fine wine folder" at Princess Victoria) but covered most bases and I have to say the Montepulciano I sank last night was delicious. They also feature a selection of independent and guest ales; this week the guest ale is Bear's Ass and last week it was Wee Shimmy. From this I think it's fair to say that this is a pub with a sense of humour, which is not necessarily something every London pub has.
Sunday night is pub quiz night at the Bird in Hand which they confidently call "The Quiz". I like the way it's free to enter and that the prize is a modest but of course very welcome bottle of Champagne. Sometimes pub quizes and their prizes can all get a little serious, but no fear, not at the Bird in Hand where you can play for free and on a pint of Bear's Ass for £3.20 (Shock horror a pint of ale in London for less than £4.00).
In brief, this is a pub worth venturing out to the W14 extremities of Shepherd's Bush for. The staff were friendly, the food sounded, looked (and smelt) good, the wine certainly tasted brilliant and though the furniture was completely wooden (a little uncomfortable) the atmosphere certainly wasn't. It's nice to know that there's another Bird in the Bush when it's this good.