If you were to flip through my emails, instagram messages and personal DMs on Twitter, you would see that the number one question I get asked has absolutely nothing to do with fashion. The number one question is, rather, all about where to eat, specifically in London. I have found myself in a position where it seems I am the personal tour guide to every tourist coming to the Big Smoke that also happens to follow me on Instagram. Ok, I guess that’s no coincidence. They’re following me for this information specifically, and I’m always trying to keep on top of the latest and greatest in what’s happening in and around town. For anyone that knows anything about London, you’ll know this is no easy task. Even if you were to take into consideration all the existing restaurants, it’s overwhelming. However, there is literally a new opening every single day in this city. Naturally this complicates things. But, that’s where having a good network comes in handy. You need to be able to ask about honest opinions on restaurants trialled here and there along everyone’s journey in London. It makes it easier to narrow down the places worth visiting, and then ultimately featuring here on FFG. This is of course all leading up to today’s feature, The Hero of Maida.
I had heard of The Hero of Maida, and what the chef, Henry Harris, was doing with this pub, long before I saw any pictures of the plates hitting the tables. The ever changing menu, featuring a mix of French and British dishes, was exercising the palettes of some of London’s top food critics and influencers. So, when I was invited to come along and sample the menu, you bet your last chip I accepted the invitation. Now, it must be said that when you walk through the front door, you will be instantly taken aback by the beautiful decor. This always makes me nervous as all too often these days fine decor means more emphasis was placed on the look of the place rather than the tastes brought to the table. Not the case at all with The Hero of Maida. The pub’s fineries are simply foreshadowing a sophisticated menu to come.
We pretty much ordered the menu between four of us and sampled it all. There wasn’t one bite, nor calorie, that I regret. But, there were a few dishes that stood out above the rest. The crispy pig’s head is a thing of absolute beauty and genius and I felt quite sad to have had to share it with three other women and was tempted to order another just for myself (but then decided I can always come back on my own). This dish is a triumph of taste and if you don’t order it, should it be on the menu, you are a fool. Ok, that might be a bit harsh, but seriously it was taste changing!
Other highlights included the steak tartare, which was seasoned to perfection, the cote de boeuf, and the potato gnocchi. In all honesty, I don’t think you can put a foot wrong here in ordering. The only injustice is not having a stomach big enough to devour the whole menu.
55 Shirland Road
London W9 2JD
Ps. This pub is dog friendly!