This modest restaurant at Clapham Common is the cheapest fine dining you’ll ever find. A three course lunch will only set you back £20. Each dish is generously portioned with exceptional quality that is no less than Michelin starred restaurants. Seasonality and local produce has a strong focus which head chef Adam Byatt masters into multi-textured dishes that challenges your tastebud. I left this restaurant feeling extremely satisfied knowing extraordinary food can be available without a choking price tag. It’s a real bargain compared to the overpriced River Cafe that has starters from £18 and mains from £36.
Trinity celebrated its fifth anniversary last month and what a fantastic achievement it’s been. Places like this seriously challenges the meaning of Michelin star, if this is not worthy what is? Brilliant ambience, clever and delicious food plus professional service. Clapham Common can be a trek but the area offers fantastic food, including the Michelin starred Chez Bruce.
The deco and exterior are both very simple, I would’ve missed it without google map. Compared to my recent visit to the noisy Chez Bruce, there is a relaxing atmosphere at Trinity. Maybe from the less noisy crowd and the more spaciously arranged tables.
There is a six course tasting menu (£45) available for both lunch and dinner, but it’s not attractive when the £20 lunch menu is at sight. I ordered from the a la carte while my lunch partner went with the set menu and we shared a dessert, bargain!
Radish with cod roe
This came when we studied the menu, which looked much healthier than classic canapés. The radish was unbelievably refreshing yet tasty with the cod roe dip. Not as strong or creamy as taramasalata, just enough to leave a light fishy aftertaste.
Bread & Butter
This divine bread and butter tops my favourite bread of the year with those from Chez Bruce and Harwood Arms. The browned crust hinted a deep fried samosa like texture, which turned out completely different. It was a simple bread with a firmer texture, not at all crispy. The emphasis was on the homemade butter, which was the creamiest I’ve ever tried. It’s texture and flavour resembled everything of heavy cream with a buttery touch. Jersey cream must be the richest kind to make this kind of butter.
Trotters, sourdough, gribiche and crackling
What an impeccable dish! Each element was executed spectacularly, the runny yet crisp edged quail eggs, the crunchy yet light crackling and that divine trotter roughly minced on the sourdough bread. I’ve not had trotters like this, normally the whole foot is at view with some sort of stuffing. In this case, the trotter’s greasiness was cleverly replaced by a chutney like sweetness that challenged my tastebud. Great support from the crunchy sourdough too!
Duck offal, Burford brown, toasted sourdough
My lunch partner loved this duck dish. Based on my spoonful of everything together, it resembled my trotter’s sweet chutney flavour with an extra smokiness from the toasted sourdough.
Pumpkin soup with cow’s milk curd
This came before our mains as a complement from the chef to celebrate the festive season. The petite pumpkin came to our table as early as ordering drinks, which we were informed that a secret dish will come later. Inside placed a cow’s milk curd to have with the pumpkin soup, a healthier cream replacement. Together, it was the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever tasted, light yet rich in flavour, toasted pumpkin seeds and only creamy if you scoop in some milk curd, which really added unique flavours.
Butter poached halibut, crab tortellini, crab and ginger broth
Needless to say I was stuffed when the mains came, which was another round of wow. The crab tortellini was sweeter than usual but the crab flavour shined through as a refreshing aftertaste. The main halibut was the best fish I’ve had all year (it’s definitely going on my most memorable dish of 2011 which will be posted next week). It retained all the moisture if not more, which the chef confirmed that it was cooked in a water bath. Unbelievably tender and moist, out of this world good.
Tagliatelle, wild mushrooms, roasted shallot and parmesan
Before this dish came, my lunch partner mentioned if the pasta is excellent too, Trinity would become her favourite restaurant in London. Then it came and she finished the entire plate without talking..She said the pasta wasn’t as good as the Four Seasons in Milan because it was a little dry. However, the flavoursome mushrooms were intensely rich in earthy flavours and parmesan that made the drier pasta unnoticeable. Each bite was tastier than the last!
None of us could eat anymore food so we ordered this light cranberry fool. I will come back for the apple crumble soufflé next time! This was a great dessert, lightly creamy and refreshingly fruity, the perfect finish to our amazing lunch.
I had to put this picture up, have you ever seen coffee served with mandarins??
Verdict - 5/5
Food (unbelievably good) - Everything at Trinity was impeccable, I wouldn’t change anything. The strong focus on seasonality and local produce meant everything was plated at its peak with multi-layered textures and great depth. It’s easily one of the best restaurants in London, which seriously challenges the very meaning of Michelin status.
Service (friendly) - Service was very friendly and we didn’t wait for any dishes. However, we were asked three times whether we’d like more bread, which we replied yes each time, but more bread never came. Thank god! I honestly didn’t have any space for them.
Cost (bargain) - The £20 three course lunch was a real bargain. Our bill came to £89 with drinks, a set lunch and a la carte. It would’ve been cheaper had I gone for the set lunch as well.