The pub formerly known as the Truscott Arms in Maida Vale, north west London will re-open as the Hero of Maida — part of the Harcourt Inns group —under the direction of chef Henry Harris on Thursday 1 March next year.
The pub/restaurant will be inspired by both French and British cuisines; the sort of food that Harris — “a self-proclaimed classicist” — is famous for. The Sunday roasts at the Truscott Arms in west was a big draw and the chef will introduce a seven-hour slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with rosemary, alongside traditional British roast rib of Angus beef with all the trimmings, with Bearnaise and horseradish sauces.
The name is said to derive from Count of Maida Sir John Stuart who led a battalion of British troops to a victory in a battle against Napoleon in the Italian town of Maida, Calabria in 1806. James McCulloch, the founder of Harcourt Inns, is said to be a student of history with a keen interest in etymology of his venues’ names.
In a sector that is not only increasingly competitive, but also with no shortage of gastropubs, McCulloch told Eater London what he and the group were trying to do differently:
“By enlisting an industry figurehead like Henry Harris, we’re using the skills and expertise of a renowned chef to bring guests restaurant quality food casually, in a neighbourhood pub environment,” he said. “We really want to emphasise the dining rooms at each site, and with the help of Henry, we plan to use each site’s unique heritage will to inform and influence not only the menus, but the ethos.”
The Truscott Arms closed after the then tenant complained that the reported 333% rent increase rendered the business unsustainable. They did however have the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value.
A local Labour councillor however pre-emptively condemned the suspected intentions of the property developer to override the listing and put in place plans for a conversion to luxury flats. Harcourt Inns bought the site outright, in a move to “preserve this community hub and reinstate a spot for locals to come by and enjoy good food.”
McCulloch explained how he hopes the group can make the site work again in neighbourhood location: “We own the freehold and bought each site with the intention of maintaining and preserving the character of these noteworthy pubs, preventing them from being converted into real estate or nondescript chains.”
The Hero of Maida is one of three new openings by the Harcourt Inns group, which will launch before the end of this year and in the first quarter of next: The Three Cranes — “a city boozer and grill” — will open in December; The Coach in Clerkenwell will open in early 2018, “with much more expansive and varied food offerings.” The company’s portfolio also includes The Harcourt in Marylebone, which opened last year on Harcourt Street.