Hereford Road, 3 Hereford Road, London W2

Hereford Road treads in the footsteps of Fergus Henderson. But can it fill his shoes?

I saw Fergus Henderson walking in my direction in Farringdon the other day. The champion of British nose-to-tail eating, dressed in trademark navy pin-stripe, was ambling in his usual wonderful way, true to Orwell's description of "that bobbing gait of the Indian who never straightens his knee". He doesn't know me from Adam, of course, but what with so many of my heroes having died in the festive period (Vaclav Havel, Christopher Hitchens, Kim Jong Il) I wanted to introduce myself, thank him for his remarkable service to our cuisine and stoicism in facing Parkinson's disease, and pay him as high a compliment as I could muster. Of course, being an idiot, I did none of these things, and bobbed my own bent knees into the horizon.

In something like an homage to the man, ruefulness at this missed opportunity, and bold defiance of New Year's resolutions to generally make a greater enemy of all calories, I have come with a group of friends to Hereford Road in west London.

Imitation probably is the sincerest form of flattery, and this place is nothing if not a compliment to Henderson's influence. It was set up four years ago by Tom Pemberton, who had been head chef at Henderson's St John Bread and Wine, and still boasts a menu that, from nose to tail, carries the stamp of Hendersonism. Or, as I like to think of it, an offal lot of offal.

The entrance is a passage adjacent to an open kitchen, opposite which are a series of high-stool tables for two. These lead on to a few short steps, which take us into a lower-ground floor with a series of booths that can comfortably seat seven (three on each side and one on the end sticking out). Against shimmering white tile walls, the booths have red leather seats, and were it not for the very refined cutlery, you might feel you're in an American diner.

Naturally the food transports you closer to home. Tonight, a cold winter Thursday, there are 10 starters, eight single mains, three sharing mains, three sides, seven sweet desserts and a cheese selection – all told, a manageably short menu.

The duck livers with green beans and tarragon are succulent and sweet, as well as good value at £6.20. The deep-fried calf's brain with tartare sauce is – extremely annoyingly – unavailable, even though it's only 9pm, so I can't tell you whether it's worth the £6.80 asking price. But the braised cuttlefish with red onion and rocket (£7.20) is magnificent: inky and peppery and piquant.

The mains range from £10 for spinach with mushrooms and chestnuts – an unadventurous sole vegetarian option if you ask me, but, then, this is not exactly a veggie paradise – to £34 for a roast guinea fowl that can be shared between two or three. The calf's liver with mash, sage and onion (£14) has no surprises and is competently done. The pot-roast duck leg comes with a brilliant combination of carrots and a pickled walnut in red wine (£13.80), but the Hampshire pork belly with swede and red cabbage (£14), which three of our table have, is too dry. The sides – greens (£3.50), Pink Fir Apple potatoes (£3.50), and green salad (£4) – are all rather routine.

The desserts we order are all very rich and flavourful and cost £5.50 each – whether a chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream, a sticky date pudding, apple crumble with custard, or honeycomb and walnut ice-cream. They complete an overall sense of comfort dining in a neighbourly enclave which is not just non-pompous, but anti-pomposity.

I like the fact that we are eating with young families, young romantics, elderly couples and an endless procession of thesps. It suggests a universal appeal, which the best food always has.

That is just as Henderson, whose spirit breathes through the walls here, would have wanted it, and if the skill and finish of these dishes doesn't quite attain the levels in either of his St John outfits, they at least show how deep his influence on our eating habits has been.

Properly British, proudly simple, and professionally delivered –through Hereford Road, gastronomic Hendersonism is thriving in west London too. I really will say hello next time I have the chance.

7/10

Scores: 1-3 stay home and cook, 4 needs help, 5 does the job, 6 flashes of promise, 7 good, 8 special, can't wait to go back, 9-10 as good as it gets

Hereford road 3 Hereford Road, London W2, tel: 020 7727 1144 Lunch and dinner daily. About £90 for two, including wine and service

Nose-to-tail nosh

St John Bread & Wine

94-96 Commercial Street, London E1, tel: 020 3301 8069

St John's younger and buzzier Spitalfields canteen spin-off is now even more reliable than its parent – and the British fare so adventurous in its simplicity as to be really exciting

Magdalen

152 Tooley Street, London SE1, tel: 020 7403 1342

Inspired British cooking with an abundance of offal is served at this unassuming, relaxed establishment, hidden away near City Hall

Great Queen Street

32 Great Queen Street, London WC2, tel: 020 7242 0622

Showcasing the best of British food, this self-consciously basic Covent Garden pub conversion comes complete with lively interior

Reviews extracted from 'Harden's London and UK Restaurant Guides 2012' www.hardens.com

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Midsummer swimwear season is well and truly upon us – but diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice