Flatbreads with Salmon roe creamMore pictures
Trinity is a restaurant a little off the beaten fine dining path of Mayfair and Central London just off my current home of Clapham High Street based in a quiet corner of the common. The chef, Adam Byatt has roots in the area after also working in Thyme – a restaurant I’ve never actually heard of (I was living in Swindon at the time) but can see earned big praise; a quick google found in 2002 Jay Rayner stating “Sweet Jesus but it’s good…” . I’ve been to Trinity once before, last year in fact and it seems the newspaper critics were last in around 2007, where the restaurant earned numerous awards.
On my return, a year on from a great Sunday lunch with my parents (the last meal we all went to together) I was massively impressed by the subtle progress that has been made and I hope they are back again soon.
Speaking about the restaurant in a post last year I mentioned that I hope in their pursuit of greatness they manage to keep the feel of a top quality local restaurant; the friendly service, good value and peaceful atmosphere and I was very happy to note that all three are still very much true. I was greeted with a friendly smile and warm welcome but even before then the customer service was amazing. From what I could tell this is what happened:
- I booked with my email,
- they twigged I may have had a blog,
- they had a read it and found my twitter ID,
- I was sent me a DM asking if I would be interested in trying squirrel (a meat that chef had received that day),
- I replied a extremely excited “YES PLEASE!”.
I was massively impressed and I had yet to even eat any food.
The menu is full of dishes that gave me a hard time choosing. They noted that I would normally go for a tasting menu but today I was going a la carte. I went for the pigs trotter starter but was equally tempted by the smoked venison tartar. It turned out that I ended up having both thanks to a show of generosity from chef Byatt. The trotter was served on a crisp sliver of sourdough toast and came with a HUGE slice of cracking, 3 quails eggs, a sauce gribiche and a mustard cream. The venison served with a half raw quails egg, rich celeriac cream and a couple of gaufrette crisps on the side. For a starter both courses were big. For many possibly too big but for me a great size! The trotter, when eaten with a bit of egg, mustard and sharp vinegary sauce reminding me in many ways of a NY pastrami sandwich. Was the crackling needed? Probably not. BUT IT WAS A HUGE SLAB OF CRACKLING. It was a great thing to have on the side. The tartar, mixed with raw onion, egg stirred through and then topped with a dip of cream had a big flavour. I’m not a huge fan of raw onion as I always find it overpowers the taste of all other ingredients but I think the strength of the venison made it work.
Then it was squirrel time and I was interested in seeing how it would be served. I’ve seen it a few times at market; the back legs split out to make it look like a mini pair of meaty trousers but thankfully the presentation here was a little bit more refined with the back legs and fillets jointed and served with Jerusalem artichokes and chestnuts on top of a brown butter ravioli (which you probably could have got rid of) with bitter endive/chicory. The little front legs were served on the side. I’ve been trying for a while now to try and explain the taste of squirrel and this is made even harder by the fact that each part had a rather different taste. I think the best I’ve come up with is that it’s like a duck with a bit of added gamey taste thrown in. All the cuts were juicy and moist, even the little fore-legs. Tastiest were the back legs – the largest amount of meat and along with the artichokes, nuts and rich butter sauce a great combination. The fillets had a much stronger taste, bordering on the acrid taste of game when it reacts with the gun-shot (maybe I just got unlucky and got a bad one). The front legs were fiddly – too many small bones getting in the way of the meat; very much like a chicken wing when compared with a leg. Would I recommend squirrel? Yes I certainly would do. It might not be to everyone’s taste but you don’t know if you don’t try.
For dessert I was interested by a dish simply named “honey and lemon”. After asking I found out that it was the first night it has been served in the restaurant and was explained to me by the front of house struggling out to my table holding a huge slate of fresh honey-comb and proudly exclaiming that it was “this with a number of lemon dishes”. These were lemon curd sponge topped with milk curds, lemon milk ice cream, lemon curd sauce and the aforementioned comb being scooped directly onto the plate. This really was my kind of pudding. Lemon curd is a childhood memory for me (I remember making it with my mum) and all the different elements worked well both on their own and together on the spoon. I hope it does well and becomes a mainstay of the menu as I would happily eat it again (and again, and again).
As mentioned in my very first paragraph the service at Trinity was impeccable and chef Adam is clearly very proud of what he has here. He even popped out to say hello to me before I left. I can see this place getting a star next year and it would be greatly deserved. I’ll be moving away from Clapham very soon but I hope to be back to sample their cookery again.Tweet