Okay, it may not be Notting Hill, but a new brasserie in nearby Shepherd's Bush has much to commend it

There are localities that effortlessly add a dash of glamour to a restaurant's name, but I think it is fair to say that Shepherd's Bush is not one of them. Indeed, the only other restaurant close to the Bush Bar and Grill that attempts to trade on its geography is the Kebabush - in which the area and its principle contribution to metropolitan cuisine are greasily conflated. I have a feeling, though, that the Kebabush isn't going to offer a very fierce rivalry for the wannabe Notting Hillbillies who form the Bush Bar's target clientele, nor Harrie's CafeRest just down the road, nor the Perfect Fish and Kebab house just across the road.

There are localities that effortlessly add a dash of glamour to a restaurant's name, but I think it is fair to say that Shepherd's Bush is not one of them. Indeed, the only other restaurant close to the Bush Bar and Grill that attempts to trade on its geography is the Kebabush - in which the area and its principle contribution to metropolitan cuisine are greasily conflated. I have a feeling, though, that the Kebabush isn't going to offer a very fierce rivalry for the wannabe Notting Hillbillies who form the Bush Bar's target clientele, nor Harrie's CafeRest just down the road, nor the Perfect Fish and Kebab house just across the road.

The Bush Bar itself is a kind of outreach programme - an attempt to bring the social and culinary light to those benighted souls whose incomes (earned or unearned) won't quite stretch to a Notting Hill postcode and who might otherwise fall into the sin of despair - convinced that they will never mingle Marlboro smoke with the hip and well-connected. Designed by the architect Tchaik Chassay and with a managerial team that already has Woody's, 192 and the Groucho Club in its bloodline, the Bush Bar is clearly intended as a refuge of cracked black pepper and Maldon salt in the fast-food wilderness of the Goldhawk Road.

It may yet convert the neighbourhood, but for now it still has the feel of a missionary enterprise - its neon-lit white alleyway entrance squeezed between a computer shop and a mini-cab office. Behind the shop fronts, in a former dairy that had a brief incarnation as part of a pub chain, Chassay has created a relaxed and welcoming shed. The industrial saw-tooth ceiling is painted pale aqua, and there are tables at one end raised up a little to break up the factory-floor floor effect and a bold rectangle of red-painted bricks to take off the chill.

A line of potted lime trees separates the restaurant from the bar area and usefully soaks up some of the clatter and chatter. The kitchen runs the full length of the back wall, visible through a long, narrow slit that gives the feeling of a foodie machine-gun emplacement. The rate of fire, it has to be said, was not particularly impressive, with well over an hour elapsing between our arrival and that of our main courses. We went on a Monday evening - something of a quiet, dog-end day for restaurants - but until the service settles down a bit I would be wary of returning at any busier time.

Not that our wait was particularly unpleasant. The starters were all good - including a celeriac remoulade and golden beetroot salad that demonstrated the seasonal prejudice of the November menu. To my mind, the roasted beetroot was a little elderly - chewy and bland, rather than succulent and sweet - but the person actually eating it didn't agree and we settled our differences with an approving consensus over the dill-flavoured dressing. My celeriac, dressed in a traditional mustardy mayonnaise flecked with finely chopped parsley, was fine - not a hint of sandwich-bar slop - and while my wife's grilled squid was under-seasoned, the error was at least easily corrected.

After that we had considerably more time than we actually wanted to appreciate the virtues of a bottle of Montagny Premier Cru les Coÿres and run a swift audit on the recognisability of the other diners. A few weeks ago Nigella Lawson held her Domestic Goddess launch here, one of those symbiotic celebrity events in which it isn't entirely clear who's doing who a favour, but, unless you count a former editor of the Times Literary Supplement and a scattering of BBC executives, the face count had dropped considerably by last Monday. It looked pretty much like what it sets itself out to be: a local for those well-heeled enough not to have to rely on pubs for the sudden impulse to get out of the house.

Relaxed informality can go too far, of course. It was when my companions started picking through the salt bowl for the more substantial crystals and eyeing up the limes hungrily that I decided we were about to cross the line between mild impatience and looming bad temper. A request for food was met with a slightly startled expression, but when they eventually came the dishes exactly met their brief - well-executed and reasonably priced brasserie classics.

My calf's liver was excellent, cooked precisely as ordered and accompanied by a small jug of good jus and some roast shallots, and my wife's fishcakes were appropriately rough and chunky. Our guest's Salad Niçoise came as a salade decomposée, a tidy arrangement of separate ingredients, like a party at which the ice hadn't yet broken. I wasn't sure that the tuna's pebbledashing of cracked coriander seeds was a good idea, but the fish itself was still properly pink at heart and the egg yolk as soft and vivid as oil paint. The chips let themselves down a bit after they were served, being not quite crisp enough to last the course, but side dishes of lentils and Savoy cabbage were both good.

Since we were now close to the witching hour, when desserts convert themselves instantly into cellulite, both my companions passed on the pudding but my lemon tart was a perfectly creditable representative of that bistro standard, served up with a non-standard ball of orange sorbet.

This isn't a menu to inflame imaginations or provoke pilgrimages, with French onion soup and chicken liver mousse rubbing shoulders with simple grilled meats and a roster of familiar puddings (bread and butter pudding, pear and almond tart etc). But it is well cooked and reasonably priced. No dessert is more than £4, all the side orders are £2.50 and the most expensive entrée works out at £13.50 (a grilled rib of beef at £27.00 for two). The bill for three of us, with one bottle of wine and two big glasses of red to while away the time, came to £97.31 including tip, which I failed to scratch from the total in a fit of benign absentmindedness. It was significant that benignity had survived, though. Writing restaurant reviews is a powerful pain-killer when it comes to incompetent service: "Do your worst", you think serenely, "my time will come." But it would be unfair not to give due credit to Angus Scott's food and Chassay's smart but comfortable surroundings, for the fact that we left smiling, not fuming.

Bush Bar & Grill, 45 Goldhawk Road, London W12 (020-8746 2111) Daily 12-3pm, 7-11pm. Lunch £10 three courses, £8 two courses. Disabled access. Major cards except Amex and Diners accepted

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