Letters from Home

Where to Eat in Maida Vale whilst waiting for Gordon Ramsay and Holdings to get the Warrington Sorted

Idlewild, formerly the Truscott Arms, Shirland Road, Maida ValeOr… Hello, lovely Idlewild, so long dodgy Truscott Arms…

Somewhere between the time Gordon Ramsay circled the Warrington last autumn in his 4×4 and this week’s first big test match at Lord’s, the Ruby Group of London has SOMEHOW managed to buy, close, gut, decorate, and re-open the council-housing hangout Truscott Arms on Shirland Road as the gorgeous Idlewild.

It isn’t a miracle. It is just planning.

The Idlewild menu is British , with a range from Neal’s Yard cheeses to Nettle Soup. It’s available at socialable hours (usual lunch and dinner hours, and on Sundays you can eat from noon to nine), and the look of the place is elegant, (unlike the newest shade added to Dulux’s “Colours that Don’t Go”: Skiddaw Purple).

In fact, Idlewild breathes sociability, with the doors cast open wide and the staff helpful and charming when you stop in.

Meanwhile, back at the Roundabout…. there’s a new dartboard. And look! We’ve found all the old Truscott Arms kids, too! Ah, it’s good to see the youth of today emulating the ways of their elders: smoking, sucking back Sambuca and whinging about everything around the beer-soaked bar. Now, the Warrington! That’s what a boozer should be!

Yeah, it’s true… the day of the traditional boozer is passing. And whilst I enjoy the good old British tradition of the empty-stomach swill-up on a warm evening, what I am really glad for, most nights, is a proper meal. Serve it with a truly great beer (looking forward to the selection of bitters and Belgians the Warrington will have on offer after this week) and you are close to achieving Nirvana. If only that idiot in the corner would stop smoking.

So whilst you are patiently waiting for a taste of Ramsay’s pig cheeks — due to Grade II listed building delays, the Olympics might be sooner — then keep it in the neighbourhood and see what Idlewild, on Shirland Road, has going for it.

Psst… I’ll let you in on a secret the French have been keeping from you: you can drink more and longer, if you would only eat! Eat isn’t cheating.

The idiot who said that? The half-dead, single guy, smoking in the corner.