The Dining Room at The Hero of Maida
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The dining room of a West London gastropub, with a menu from chef Henry Harris.
On the surface of things, The Hero of Maida looks like your average west London gastropub – replete with suited patrons, largely dark blue decor, and a garden you’re not actually allowed to smoke in because there’s a child living in the house next door. But, before you underestimate it: this gastropub serves a starter so luscious I will be thinking about it until I die. Calf’s brain. A signature dish of chef-patron Henry Harris (previously at Racine) – this was so soft, and so reassuringly savoury, any residual squeamishness at the thought you were eating an actual brain melted away with the first mouthful. Intense without being the least bit overpowering, it came soaked in dark, rich jus and studded with lovely sharp capers.
The menu here is ambitious, but no other dish really lived up to the brains. Then again, maybe nothing could. Grilled onglet was solid: served dark pink, with thick chips and bone marrow butter. There was also a tender bit of rabbit wrapped in bacon and smothered in mustard-rich sauce spliced with tiny little onions. A few dishes were bungled: a bar snack of emerald cornichons served with pork rillettes was too greasy; a starter of smoked trout, wildly oversalted.
The biggest disappointment, though, was the service. It was abysmal. Everyone was very nice but either forgot what you had asked for, or neglected to come over and take your order at all. To be fair, the place was packed (on a Wednesday!). The Hero of Maida is popular, and when you taste that calf’s brain you’ll understand why.
55 Shirland Rd
|Transport:||Tube: Warwick Avenue|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £100.|
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