The Truscott Cellar is the second venture from Andrew Fishwick, owner of the award-winning Truscott Arms in Maida Vale.
Situated in the restaurant abyss that is Haverstock Hill, the TC is a 65-cover contemporary wine bar boasting a sexy interior set over two floors with dark marble, sustainable (yawn) wood, leather corner booths and intimate conspiratorial tables for two.
Wine racks line the wall – with more than 400 bottles available they have to put them somewhere. More than are 80 possible by the glass, priced from £4 to £19.
Interesting selections include Croatian Riesling, Canadian chardonnay and several offers from old Eastern Block countries. We plumped for a quite robust Romanian Calusari Pinot Noir.
Head chef Aidan McGee, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Launceston Place, has devised a menu of small British sharing plates. Dishes range from £4 to £10 and are generous in size and cost.
Some of his signature dishes have made the journey from Maida Vale (and to our table). The Crispy Pig Board: belly scratchings, chewy pig’s ear and pig’s head croquettes is a meal in itself for £8. The Beef Chips – pulled crumbed beef and homemade brown sauce – taste as good in North London as they do West.
From porcine to bovine. Melt-in-the-mouth beef cheeks were first class, served with smoked mash finished and crispy shallots.
We pigged out on potato cakes made from heritage spuds with bacon, cheese and truffle oil. Delicious. But I don’t recommend eating these if you have any work to do in the afternoon.
Less heavy plates include delicate Cornish cod served with salsify, mussels, greens and a buttery cider sauce. There’s also charcuterie, cheese and tapas.
The owner wanted somewhere for his celiac children to eat locally, so two-thirds of dishes are gluten free.
Desert include rice pudding or maple cheesecake served with a pecan crumb and blueberries, again gluten free.
Open 12pm-12.30am seven days a week, this is no-reservations neighbourhood bar is the antidote to the proliferation of chain eateries in Belsize Park. Hopefully more restaurants will follow suit.
Truscott Cellar – 240 Haverstock Hill, NW3 2AE
Words Paul Dunn. Paul is a lifestyle and sports writer, you can catch him tweeting @twunnsy