Hero of Maida, London W9 (Maida Vale)
Read our review of this gastropub in leafy Maida Vale for French-inspired dishes such as rillettes, onglet, chocolate mousse
Hero of Maida in a nutshell
A smart pub with an upstairs dining room, overseen by chef Henry Harris, in the Victorian building that previously housed the popular Truscott Arms in leafy Maida Vale.
What’s the vibe?
This handsome building has been a pub since 1878, and its new owners have managed to maintain a neighbourhood vibe. In the downstairs pub men in trilbies and cord jackets sit at the zinc-topped bar, families lounge on banquettes against an impressive wall of framed memorabilia, and business folk indulge in long lunches.
The upstairs dining room is a little more lavish, with its ornate ceilings, leather seats, shiny mahogany tables and plush curtains.
What’s the food like?
Chef director Henry Harris (of Racine and The Coach Clerkenwell, previously) takes care of the menu, adding his signature French stamp to British ingredients. As well as French offal dishes such as calf’s brains, there are more accessible options.
We started with silky rillettes on toast with punchy, little cornichons, and slow-cooked Piedmontese peppers filled with peeled tomatoes and slippery slivers of anchovies, topped with creamy burrata and a generous glug of olive oil. Next came bright and creamy purée of courgette, spinach and basil spooned over strands of courgette linguine and finished with pecorino, pine nuts and sweet tomatoes. If you’re a meat fan, go for Henry’s signature onglet, served perfectly pink with caramelised brown edges, slathered in herby ‘Maitre d’hôtel’ butter and piled with chips.
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 a pretty epic way to finish dinner.
And the drinks?
Linger over a London negroni at the bar, made extra herbaceous with English vermouth and Bimber gin, or sip on a pint of the house ale, Timothy Tailor. The wine list offers a carefully curated selection of French and Italian classics as well as New World names and bottles from lesser known regions including Crete, Hungary and Greece.
Whites by the glass range from fresh and aromatic Italian Fiano to rich and minerally Voila Assyrtiko from Greece, while the higher end reds include smooth Dolcetto d’Alba from Piemonte in Italy and fruity cherry Maranges Burgundy Pinot Noir.
olive tip: If you’re heading to Hero of Maida for Sunday roast, we suggest sticking to the laid-back atmosphere of the ground floor bar area. There are seats on the pavement out the front of the building too – ideal people-watching territory.
Written by Alex Crossley
Photographs by Milo Brown and Alex Crossley