Recently refurbished and newly accoladed Michelin starred (as at 2017) neighbourhood restaurant in Clapham
I finally got to the place I’ve been meaning to get to for quite a while now with the poetic justice from all accounts of it now (as at 2017) being granted its Michelin star. The short version is that I thought this was a lovely, neighbourhood restaurant, the sort that is the flagship of the area in look, feel and taste. The new design allows plenty of light and a nice touch of having the open kitchen to observe as well as a plesant bar area overlooking this if you want to have a pre-drink at the bar. The set lunch on this visit showed a strong 1 Michelin stared lunch menu all the way and it was an absolute pleasure speaking with Adam Byatt at the end, learning from his approach. The restaurant is also unique in that there is a more causal option upstairs with high rise tables and stools complete with a good-looking bar and separate kitchen serving bar snacks in the aptly named Upstairs at Trinity. I had a quick look before lunch and I can imagine this would be a buzzing option for a quick, drop in evening bite and drink. In summary, a lovely place and a credit to Clapham and South London in general.
The meal started off with some lovely squid ink crisps with roe and small gruyere cheese puffs which were the simple choices that were never going to fail in terms of making you instantly happy to be there. Although the amount of cheese inside the latter was not tiny, I would have liked a touch more of the gruyere in the puffs as is the best bit in my opinion, but this is probably influenced by my visit to House of Tides just before Christmas. Breads were glazed with olive oil and again reminded me of why going to very good restaurants is so enjoyable, because things are simply so well considered. Good bread done well that is freshly baked for the table is an immediate signal of the care and attention a restaurant practises and the fluffyness of this bread with butter that had perfect spreadability and temperature and this was the case here.
I thought the pig’s trotter was outstanding. Inside were wonderfully diced, cube-sized meat all in a sumptuous sauce, held together by a cripsy coating that held itself together perfectly. The emulsion was very nicely balanced and the pork skin stick was a joy – altogther, this was gorgous to have. The makerel interlude was light and welcome and although I didn’t get any crescendos from the overall flavour it was well handled, balancing its fat, oil and sharpness (with its fresh apple matchsticks) with parity.
I was surrounded by wine enthusiast company all round on this visit, not least in the wonderfully safe hands of WineChap, so was, as always, comforting to hand over the wine list to my guest at wine selection time and the Vieilles Vignes, Benoit Mulin, Arbois at £48 for the bottle was great value for having a different type of Chardonnay which I found had a slightly less floral taste, was crispier in general and allowed a pleasant background filler taste to all of the, mainly light flesh had throughout the meal. Job naturally, a good’n.
My mashed potatoes in the main was perfectly smooth with a very satisfying, creamed sauce to go with my tender brill which the kitchen had also de-boned for the plate, having cooked it on the bone, as a significant bonus! I tried the chicken dish and this was spot on and was difficult telling who had more food envy on this course. Dessert of cheesecake was simple and elegant and did not need to boast any clever presentation tactics as the perfect texture and soft yet lovely flavours of the almond and quince did this admirably on their own.
Service was slick, attentive and professional. I’m taking these venues on a fresh page each time and based on the food this was comfortably in the upper quadrant of 1 star venues for the set lunch. Set lunches are very useful for reconnaissances and this has made me already look forward to coming back to try the main event one evening whenever I can. The price of this set menu lunch has seemingly risen since my visit but with the advent of a passing year and the promotion of its star and rising popularity, this can be understood. I would frankly be happy to pay a little extra if it gives the kitchen more leeway to pump out food of this and hopefully even greater quality for next visit.
A final word on the experience. Within this passion of mine, gallivanting around wonderful eateries, I sometimes get the opportunity to have a quick hello with the chefs afterwards. It’s evident on these that some chefs are understandably wary of food writers or bloggers, probably steming from those that are purely free-loading their way through life using social media as their threat-based leverage to enjoying a position of power or to gain simple freebies. I’ve got no interest in this and it makes me understand, with so many wanky bloggers out there, why some chefs are prickly to writers in general. I say all this as talking with Adam Byatt after the meal was actually a rare privilege in that he was genuinely interested in discussing food thoughts afterwards and on differing places and more of a treat for me gleaning his thoughts on contrasting and complimenting flavours, structures and energy sources etc. A genuine food pleasure exchange (I say exchange but I was the one learning from him a great deal!) and I could not be more pleased for the local area having one of its prized venues now accoladed with a Michelin star.
So basically everything clicked here and it would appear to be perfect for catch up lunches, business discussions or to celebrate a more special occasion on a Fri or Sat night alike.
Food grade: 82%
Location (Click google logo for directions)