THE HERO OF MAIDA, LONDON W1
The handsome Hero of Maida first opened as a hotel in 1878 but is best known for its most recent incarnation as a pub – The Truscott Arms. Its new owners have changed the name but maintained the neighbourhood vibe with a downstairs pub proper with zinctopped bar and comfy banquettes. The upstairs dining room is a little more lavish, with its ornate ceilings, leather seats, shiny mahogany tables and plush curtains.
Chef director Henry Harris (formerly of Racine) adds his signature French stamp to British ingredients. We started with silky rillettes on toast with cornichons and slow-cooked Piedmontese peppers filled with peeled tomatoes and slippery slivers of anchovies, topped with burrata and olive oil. Next came a bright and creamy purée of courgette, spinach and basil spooned over strands of courgette linguine, finished with pecorino, pine nuts and sweet tomatoes. Henry’s signature onglet is served perfectly pink, with caramelised brown edges and slathered in herby maître d’hôtel butter.
Boozy griottines cherries cut through rich and smooth chocolate mousse for dessert, and word on the street is the rum baba with blackberries, raspberries and rum-spiked chantilly cream is another epic way to finish dinner.