Opening today, The Hero of Maida (formerly The Truscott Arms) brings to Maida Vale, an expansive neighbourhood pub with high-ceilinged first floor dining room and garden. It is the third opening from critically acclaimed chef Henry Harris and partner James McCulloch. Pairing British seasonality with provincial French cooking, menus are changing daily, in the manner of a French bistro.
Marking the coming together of three hospitality industry heavyweights, Chef Director Henry Harris (Racine) is overseeing the kitchen with Steve Collins (Les Deux Salons, Bellanger) as Head Chef, and Thomas Blythe as General Manager (St. John, St. John Bread and Wine).
The Hero of Maida is part of the newly created Harcourt Inns collection of pubs, whose intention is to rescue noteworthy sites and conserve them as destinations serving quality food in laidback surrounds. The Hero of Maida follows The Coach in Clerkenwell (early 2018) and The Three Cranes in The City (Winter 2017).
Harris's expert knowledge of regional French cooking complements Collins’s 30 years in hospitality. Starters run from signature Calves brains, black butter and capers, to Asparagus and crab vinaigrette and mains feature elegantly executed classics of Cuttlefish ratatouille; Pan roast chicken, braised lettuce, morels and peas and Cheltenham beetroot & shallot tart, rocket & horseradish cream. Desserts include the popular Crème caramel alongside springtime specials such as Lemon posset & blueberry trifle.
Written on a chalkboard above the fireplace, the bar is serving an array of daily specials. Freshly baked Cheese, onion and bacon tart; homemade Sausage rolls and Charcuterie plates, sit alongside more substantial dishes of Fish soup, rouille, gruyere and croutons; crisp Salade bon santé and Chicken paillarde served with salad. The site’s renowned Sunday roast menu has also been reinstated and the likes of seven-hour slow-roasted Shoulder of lamb and rosemary is served across both floors.
Independent beers from family-run breweries, are served from behind a zinc-topped bar, alongside wines that Henry and the team enjoy drinking; balancing familiar Old World names with up-and-coming vineyards. Grower Champagnes from independent vineyards are also available.
In the dining room, the drinks list continues to focus on Old World wines, from Beaujolais to Rioja and Chianti, as well as sophisticated cocktails (London Negronis, Old Fashioneds, Bloody Marys included), aperitifs and digestifs such as Calvados and Armagnac.
On the ground floor, guests are invited to perch at the spacious bar or settle into leather banquettes lining the walls. Showered with natural light, antique mirrors and artworks eponymous to the area and Sir John Stuart, there is a laidback elegance to the space, which has been designed by Liana Braune (Museum of Everything).
The first floor upstairs dining room sees original details, such as the ceiling roses, invoke an old school glamour, counterbalanced by splashes of colour, eclectic art and an art deco inspired chandelier.
Completing the picture are doors opening wide onto the terrace, drawing guests into the courtyard garden, during summer months.
The Hero of Maida takes its name from the now vanished pub, Hero of Maida, in which the hero in question was General Sir John Stuart, whose triumph at the Battle of Maida did much to restore British morale. This pub not only inspired the owners but is in fact the reason why the area Maida Vale was coined such, as well.