Trinity in Clapham: A perfect neighbourhood restaurant
Consistency, coherence and eagerness to evolve pay off. Adam Byatt opened Trinity in 2006 and ten years later he received the most sought-after prize in the restaurant world: a Michelin star. Proud of his working-class background, the Essex-born chef climbed his way to the top of the fine-dining scene becoming sous chef at the acclaimed The Square in Mayfair before opening his own venture.
As we enjoy the delicious appetisers with a glass of bellini, the diligent and friendly waitress guides us through the à la carte menu. It’s a Thursday evening and the restaurant is full; the stylish dining room is of two (or three?) minds: there are green leather booth sofas, modern chairs, linen tablecloths – except for one bare table that is next to three contemporary white tondos and the only dark grey wall – and a classic drinks trolley.
Ravioli of Scallop and Lobster, Lobster Soup, Fried Oyster is our first starter. The fresh pasta is the correct balance between thin and thick, with a mouthwatering scallop filling; underneath the lobster foam, seaweed and sesame seeds enrich the soup. The Norfolk Quail comes with finely diced celeriac, little shavings of black summer truffle and mushrooms à la grecque. The bird is flawlessly cooked, crispy on the skin, juicy in the flesh; the complementing ingredients are a bit too oily but it’s a dish that shows the haute-cuisine skills of the brigade.
Byatt’s Michelin pride doesn’t go unnoticed: whoever walks to the restroom sees the chef’s jacket with the red star sewed on it. In between starters and mains we have the recommended mid-course, the Tartare of Angus Beef, Pickled Mushrooms, Smoked Bone Marrow, Daurenki Caviar. On paper, it should be your reviewer’s highlight, but the shallot is so overpowering it’s hard to appreciate the meat and the bone marrow. The texture of the beef, however, is impressive, and the dish simply has a wow factor in its look.
Pigeon from Bresse is the perfect fine-dining main. It shows knowledge of produce, understanding of classic techniques, but also an eye for plating up food in a more contemporary fashion. The roasted foie gras it’s served with is simply exquisite. For those who prefer fish, the John Dory, Provençal Vegetables, Bouillabaisse Sauce and Rouille satisfactorily fits the bill.
There are six desserts to choose from on the menu; I can smell a beautiful scent of tarte tatin but we are told it’s a serving for two thus we decide to try the Chocolate and Hazelnut Delice and the signature Salt Caramel Custard Tart. They are both very Trinity: flavourful, impeccable and refined. The team is so passionate and experienced it would be difficult to expect anything to go wrong (although I would polish the copper pans once all the guests have left, the kitchen isn’t airtight). We need to catch the last tube and we are given the petit fours in a little plastic bag: a nice touch.
It’s clear from tonight’s meal that Adam Byatt is still very involved with his restaurant and also hungry to expand his horizons – he opened Bistro Union in 2012 and Trinity Upstairs in 2015, an informal foodie-friendly dining room on the upper floor. If he received his highest accolade after ten years of work it’s not a surprise, it’s very well deserved.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina