Test Driving The Hero - style and substance at this gorgeous Maida Vale pub

The main pub downstairs

Is this another hot pub we need to know about?

It is, and it's nipping at the heels of London's other must-try boozer, The Devonshire. The Hero has only been open a few weeks and it's already had a slew of great reviews in the Times, Standard and the Mail on Sunday. If you don't already know about it, you should. 

What's so special about it?

When we tell you that this is the latest opening behind the team who are also responsible for Notting Hill's The Pelican (and the gorgeous The Bull out in Charlbury in the Cotswolds) the buzz should start to make sense. Both of those pubs immediately found a loyal (and A-list) fanbase and the expectation is that The Hero will do the same.

Where is it?

You'll find it in leafy Maida Vale, about a five-minute walk from Warwick Road tube station.

Where should we sit?

That depends on what you're after (and which section is open). The ground floor is proper pub, serving up what they're calling pub classics 'through rose-tinted glasses'. A floor up is the yet-to-open Grill Room - a gorgeously designed dining room that'll be much more of a restaurant scene. One floor above that is The Library, a place to hang out and enjoy cocktails. And the top floor is a private events space. It is massive.

Much has been made about the look and feel of this pub, but you don't really get much of a sense of that on the ground floor (particularly when it's packed with punters). It's only when you wander upstairs that you really see just how beautifully they've done this space up.

the hero of maida pub review londonThe yet-to-open Grill Room upstairs. It's gorgeous!

So what's on the menu?

Down on the ground floor, the pub menu is loosely divided into snacks, raw, soups and salads and mains. Here's what we had to give you a flavour of what to expect:

First off, the snacks...

the hero of maida pub review londonCocktail sausages (£6) and lamb ribs with mint sauce (£11) - two meaty snacks to kick things off. We loved the punchy mustard sauce with those sausages.

the hero of maida pub review londonCod cheeks with curry sauce (£9) - a genius pub snack made top tier by that homemade mayonnaise mixed with their own garam masala.

the hero of maida pub review londonScotch egg (£6) - we do love a Scotch egg, but the sausage meat could have done with a less heavy hand on the salt.

Next, we moved on to the mains section. Other options we could have gone for included steak and chips, an impressive-looking fish cake with tartare sauce and sausage and mash.

the hero of maida pub review londonHam, egg and chips (£14) - one of those dishes that you know is going to be done well in a pub like this, and it was.

the hero of maida pub review londonCheese and onion pie (£16) -  a joyous pie made with a winning mix of Cheddar, Stilton and Red Leicester.

the hero of maida pub review londonMash (£5) - sure, the chips here were good, but this mash - potato loosely held together with butter - was next level and a must-order.

What's on the menu for vegetarians and vegans?

In addition to that great cheese and onion pie, there's plenty from the very Instagrammable vegetable crudites with garden dressing to the stuffed tomato we saw being delivered to a neighbouring table which looked the business.

Room for dessert?

You'll need to save space for a dessert or two because these were both fabulous.

the hero of maida pub review londonSticky toffee pudding - a great (and light) version of the classic pudding. 

the hero of maida pub review londonAn exemplary lemon tart. Just look at how fine that pastry is.

What about the drinks list?

Obviously, there are cask ales and Guinness to go for. But if it's wine you're after then the list in the pub is brief and actually pretty good value for London nowadays with six bottles in the sub-£40 range. We kicked off with glasses of the house Champagne at £16.50 and, because it was a scorcher of a day, we enjoyed a chilled bottle of red by Catherine et Pierre Breton (£59).

Overall thoughts:

There's no doubt that The Hero is another smash hit for The Pelican team. And it's really only just getting started, with The Grill section still to open. We're just pea green with envy at the lucky Maida Vale folk who now have such a gorgeous-looking pub on their doorsteps.


More about The Hero

Where is it? 55 Shirland Rd, London W9 2JD

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @thehero_w9.

Hot Dinners dined as guests of The Hero. Prices correct at time of publication. 


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