by Qin Xie - Tuesday September 21, 2010 6:38 am
4 The Polygon, Clapham, London, SW4 0JG www.trinityrestaurant.co.uk
Trinity is the second Clapham restaurant of chef patron Adam Byatt, with the first being the now defunct Thyme, and it works very hard to amalgamate fine dining with its friendly neighbourhood restaurant ethos. From the outset, there's the unassuming entrance. Soft lighting gently framed the windows with only a small discreet plaque revealing the restaurant within, Trinity. Facing a disused building, it manages to be in the centre of Clapham Common and yet at the same time sneakily tucked away, giving diners accessibility and an incredible sense of privacy.
Mondays are traditionally very quiet for restaurants. For Trinity, this meant a merry-go-round of taxis stopping to set down groups of eager diners. Their a la carte, tasting and prix fixe menus offer extensive choice without pricing out the average visitor.
Pigs trotters made an interesting starter for me and my companion had the poached Loch Duart salmon. Trotters may be unusual but getting the entire dish served on a block of wood was definitely unexpected. Finely diced meat from the trotters were served on a slice of toasted sourdough with a single stick of crackling balanced delicately on top. Sauce Gribiche decorated the base and three perfectly fried quail's eggs, centre still runny, framed the block. It seemed like a lot for a starter but somehow managed to remain light enough to make a pleasing appetiser. Suffice to say that it tasted as good as it was scrupulously presented.
A fillet of slow cooked Dexter beef served with artichokes, triple cooked chips and steak tartar made a deliciously filling main, the kind that makes it hard not to quip about a match made in meat heaven. Aside from being a demonstration of the skill and effort required to produce the dish, the taste and texture also perfectly reflected the quality of the ingredients used. For my companion, there was a slight quibble about the bones in his lemon sole and seeds in his Muscat grapes. It seems that having to work hard for the pleasure of tasting something wonderful was just a bit too vexing.
There was a good selection of desserts to round off the meal as well as the option for a cheese course. All the courses were accompanied by beautifully matched wines, a highly recommended and thoroughly pleasurable addition to the meal. My companion raved so much about his dessert wine I'm not even sure he finished his dessert, although I'm quite certain it tasted divine if my raspberry ripple souffle was anything to go by.
Overall the food was excellent, as expected, and meticulously prepared. The restaurant was run with military efficiency and impeccable attention to detail in every step from taking of the coats to seating at the table to a refreshing Bellini and welcoming flat bread. The staff were friendly, helpful and unobtrusive; effortlessly creating the relaxed atmosphere. And let's not forget the fragrant loose tea and freshly brewed coffee at the end of the meal, served with a cookie jar.
And as an endearing extra, we were each furnished with a bag of hand-made mini meringues before we left. There has never been a local eatery so hospitable.