Harcourt Inns is to open its new Chiswick site in January as the Crown, having reconsidered naming it the Harlot.
Chef-director Henry Harris told The Caterer that the original name of the pub, which was announced in September, had been chosen due to the story behind it (it is a reference to the Harlot’s Progress series of paintings by Hogarth, who was a Chiswick resident) but that after some feedback from locals the group had a change of heart.
“There were a couple of people who said Harlot didn’t sit well with them,” he said. “It was actually the male response rather than the female response.
“Our first choice always was looking at something that was specific to the building. We tried lots of witty names and abbreviations, until someone suggested the police link (the building used to be a police station) and that we could call it the Crown.”
Harris has recruited his former Racine sous chef Daniele Zaffora to run the kitchen, who will devise a Mediterranean leaning menu, while Ruth Leigh will oversee front of house.
The menu is a departure from that on offer at other Harcourt Inns London sites – the Hero of Maida in Maida Vale, Three Cranes in the City and the Coach in Clerkenwell – where the focus is more French cuisine, though Harris said that those searching out his trademark calves brains wouldn’t be disappointed.
He added: “There will be the core of what we do – I always say that France is the heart of European cookery and the arteries spread throughout the continent. Catherine de’ Medici brought chefs from France which changed the way Italians cooked in the renaissance period.
“Daniele is from Sicily so it would be crazy not to take advantage of that. It means that at each pub we don’t have an identical menu too.
“There will be some very Italian dishes. Though one of the bar snacks is a saffron arancini stuffed with snails and garlic butter – we bit into that and said ‘you’ve got the job’.”
For a full interview with Henry Harris see this week’s The Caterer.