The Truscott Arms, Maida Vale
Owners Andrew and Mary Jane Fishwick have beautifully restored this three story former hotel in Maida Vale to offer W9’s most outstanding, award winning culinary experience. From the outside you might be fooled into thinking that this is just another gastro pub, however upon entering the venue, you soon realise that the opulent cornices, ceiling roses and solid wood floors means this is not your standard West London joint. On a casual date you might want to start with a drink from the impressive range of ales and curated cocktail menu, with a nibble from the bar menu which offers, amongst other things, some of the crispiest yet pillowy-est thick cut chips we’ve ever seen. However, like all great dates, there’s so much more to be had, and all things going well you’ll most definitely want to ‘take things upstairs’ to the sophisticated setting of the 5* restaurant.
Head Chef Aidan McGee, whose impressive resume includes The Mandarin Oriental and Launceston Place, has created a menu that truly celebrates British and Irish dishes with only the best locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. Well deserved mentions in both the Harden’s Guide and Michelin Guide elevates The Truscott Arms into the realm of 5* food, and the menu confidently lists each dish’s ingredient to let the food do the talking.
My date and I opted for the Lobster and Cornish Crab dishes to start; both excellently fresh seafood dishes- a case often rare for a restaurant nowhere near the coast. The Stone Bass continued this theme with succulent white meat, offset by refreshing fennel, a tasty seafood and mussel sauce, on a bed of ‘samphire’ (which I would describe as ‘if spinach and kale had a lovechild’). A perfectly pink-on-the-inside pork chop was coupled with an all star line up of vegetables including baby leeks, heirloom tomatoes and potatoes; it’s dishes like this where organic vegetables truly make the difference. Veal and Turbot are also included in this stripped back menu, while the vegetarian option comes in the form of Ireland’s iconic dish, Colcannon. If you have room for dessert, go ‘light’ with English raspberries and white chocolate and ‘dark’ with the dark chocolate pave and mint chocolate sorbet.
If you need any more convincing that this is THE place for a hot date (especially for you gourmands), look no further than the ingenious decision to pair each dish with a specially chosen wine, taking that awkwardly polite “I’ll have a glass of the *insert second cheapest wine* please!” phenomenon completely out of the equation…
As you may have gathered, this is a very special place that should probably be reserved for a very special person. If you’re after cocktails in jars, pulled pork bao, and an air of ‘happy go lucky’, head to W1. For more grown up sophistication, the long lost art of pre-booking a table, quality table service and the chance of some decent cutlery, head to W9.
Again, if you’re playing it cool, maybe stay downstairs in the pub area and order the thick cut chips to share.
A very classy and meaningful 5.