Restaurant review: A hero’s welcome at the Inn

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Restaurant review: A hero’s welcome at the Inn

Alex Galbinski finds much to enjoy at Victorian pub, The Hero of Maida

Alex Galbinski is a Jewish News journalist

The Hero of Maida's stylish dining room
The Hero of Maida's stylish dining room

The rain was heavy, lashing at us as we drove towards Maida Vale, an area we used to know well but now rarely find ourselves visiting.

We pulled up outside The Hero of Maida, a traditional Victorian pub on Shirland Road, not far from Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale Tube stations, which is part of Harcourt Inns, a small group of pubs with dining rooms and guest bedrooms in this picture-perfect area of London.

The inside was warm and welcoming, with twinkly lights perfectly capturing the pre-Christmas mood.

We admired the stunning geometric floor tiles in the downstairs bar area, where, among the more usual drinks and cocktails, the menu also offers independent beers from family-run breweries as well as grower Champagnes from private vineyards.

The downstairs bar area of The Hero of Maida

The staircase leading up to the first floor dining room is lined with portraits of the pub’s eponymous hero, Sir John Stuart.

As the pub’s website reveals, this “rakish” lieutenant-general quashed Napoleon’s seemingly indestructible forces at the Battle of Maida in southern Italy in 1806. Four years later, an inn named after him opened on Edgware Road, near the new Regent’s Canal. This part of London quickly became known as Maida Vale.

The décor is stylish, with a regal air, but without being pretentious – and credit must be given to Liana Braune, creative director of, for the design.

The exterior of The Hero of Maida pub

The walls are a soft putty colour, with the woodwork in a deeper grey-blue also used on the pub’s exterior. The windows are tall, and green and blue leather banquette seating abounds, and there are ornate ceilings, blue velvet curtains and floral wallpaper that is tasteful rather than overbearing. While
the dining room seats around 50,
it maintains a cosy feel.

To start, my husband chose the cured mackerel and butter brioche terrine with crème fraiche and chives, while I selected the burrata, escarole
(a leafy green type of chicory), salsify and pickled walnuts. For mains, we ordered the sharing platter of wild sea bass and looked forward to doing battle with the food.

The burrata could have been a touch less cold, but was still tasty, and the pickled walnuts were lush – and incredibly unusual (I was convinced they were olives).

The burrata starter with escarole, salsify and pickled walnuts

The sea bass was delicious. Served with warm orange, fennel, anchovy and oregano salad, it was full of fresh flavours that tingled in the mouth, and made us feel virtuous enough to order pudding – warm apple crumble with crème anglaise and the Mont Blanc.

The crumble was just right – the sweet-sour of the apples contrasted beautifully with the custard (which we don’t normally enjoy, but did here).

The Mont Blanc is perfect for those with a sweet tooth: pureed chestnuts infused with Armagnac atop a crisp and chewy meringue but, ultimately, we were stuffed and had to wave the white flag.

Apple crumble with crème anglaise

Alongside the dining room on the first floor of the building – opened in 1878 as the Shirland Hotel by a widow and her three children before being converted into a pub – are two private rooms catering to up to 40 guests.

The service was extremely attentive and friendly (but not intrusive), which made an evening at The Hero of Maida a pleasure. On Sundays, the pub offers a traditional roast, including beef, chicken, and a seven-hour, slow-roasted shoulder of lamb. We’d be keen for a return visit, next time in hopefully better weather so we can sit in its courtyard garden.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: