Where: Trinity Restaurant, Clapham, London
When: Thursday 31st July (aka My Birthday!)
Cuisine: Seasonal, English
Ambience: A very relaxed setting aided by the lovely summer evening that we were treated to. The big windows were open allowing a nice breeze throughout the restaurant. Simple, classic interior with little fuss or faff cluttering the tables or confusing the eyes, the art on the walls was both minimal and tasteful.
Service: Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of our waiter, so I can’t thank him personally, but his service was impeccable. We were embarking on the tasting menu with matched wines (getting fancy in my older years) and he was informative without it feeling like we were being lectured to – I don’t need to know the life story of the meat and vegetables used in each of the dishes. He also wasn’t patronising, which is always the fear when ‘matched wines’ are involved, instead he detailed what attributes the wines had that complimented the dishes and then disappeared to let us enjoy them.
Before the Tasting Menu even began we were treated to some extremely light and delicate tapenade twists, coupled with seasonal radishes with a tarasmlata dip – a far cry from the lurid pink options that you find in the supermarket.
After which, we were served a fresh home-made bread roll straight from the oven with fresh butter so it melted instantly. Absolutely delicious, although we created a few butter drip stains on the starched white table cloth.
First course: Chilled English Pea and Mint Soup with Fresh Curd
A bowl, with the fresh curd, fresh pea shoots, mint already nestled in the bottom, was placed in front of us into which a milk bottle full of slightly chilled bright green pea soup was presented and poured over the top. Now, it should be noted, I have long been vocal about my lack of understanding and interest in chilled soup, to my mind eat a salad it’s basically the same. After tasting this concoction, I hang my head in shame and declare how very wrong I was. Silky smooth and only slightly chilled, the flavours were fresh and balanced – call me converted.
Wine: Levin Sauvignon Blanc, Loire, 2010, France – crisp, sharp and a descent glass full to boot!
Seconds: Poached Rock Oysters, Champagne Sauce, Pickled Cucumber, Ink
I’ve never had an oyster poached, only ever had them fresh with tabasco knocking them back quickly and with a salty after taste. Poaching, I discovered, rids you off the slimy texture they can often have and also enables you to cut into them, a bit like a mussel, and savour the textures and taste. The pickled cucumber produced a great balance to the richness of the sauce. The only downside was the ink pearls, like caviar, and I really can’t stand that texture.
Wine: Chablis, Domaine Gilbert Picq, 2011, Chichee – finally a version of Chardonnay I can jump on board with!
Thirds: Roast Cornish Plaice, Steamed Sea Vegetables, Lemon and Clams
This was my favourite course. A nice thick and firm piece of tasty plaice that flaked easily and was cooked to perfection was sat ceremoniously on top of some brightly coloured and extremely tasty cubes of sea vegetables. The lemon was almost like a thick mousse or sauce and provided a fresh, tart flavour which brought the whole dish together beautifully.
Wine: Vermentino di Gallura, Cantina di Gallura, 2012, Sardinia, Italy – a shift to Italy, bone dry slightly acidic and very drinkable.
Fourths: Pot Roast Quail, Celeriac, Lovage and Morello Cherries
AGH! Cherries, cannot stand anything to do with cherries so these were shepherded to my partners plate. Panic over, I sliced into the buttery soft quail, failing to be embarrassed by picking up the bone and having a gnaw so that every last morsel was eaten. Small, uniform and colourful cubes of vegetables were scattered around the bowl including, lovage (?!) which offered a flavour akin to celery. The whole dish was moist and succulent complimented by a light jus.
Wine: Arbois Trousseau, Singulier, Domaine Tissot, 2012, France – our one and only red wine of the evening was robust and rather dangerously strong but complimented the dish with aplomb.
This can only be described in layman’s terms as a dark chocolate Aero bar sat on top of chocolate mousse. The salty richness of the chocolate was sliced through by the bitterness of the delicate sliver of the grapefruit and was in a word yum. My enjoyment was only interrupted by a tiny cupcake and lit candle being served to me on a piece of slate in honour of my day of birth – a lovely touch.
Wine: Chateau Villefranche, Sauternes, 2011, France – I’m not a massive fan of dessert wines but this was wasn’t ridiculously cloying and sweet.
My dining partner had coffee, and I am assured it was a decent cup served with sugar crystals. I couldn’t face anything, as by this point I was rolling on my chair from all the food and wine – although I did manage one last morsel when a ‘surprise’ mint chic-chip macaroon came out of the kitchen.
Rating: 9 out of 10 – I wasn’t allowed to see the bill, but Tasting Menu with paired wines & service will come to approx £100 per head, which after the experience we had at Trinity was well worth every penny, just don’t put any cherries on my plate next time!