Fergus Stewart reviews Trinity restaurant, Clapham Old Town
Author: Guest Blogger
One of my personal favourites, and also a favourite restaurant of the wine trade, is the excellent Trinity in Clapham Old Town. Billing itself as a neighbourhood restaurant, but in reality far finer than your everyday local, Trinity champion seasonal eating in a fine dining, yet relaxed manner. The wine list in varied and well-priced (for London) and the Chef’s Cellar is a very welcome addition – fine wines sourced from around the globe with a £20 corkage and VAT added to the cost price. I wish more restaurants would follow suit, as after all, fine wine can only add to the experience of a good dinner and transparency on costs will result in more people ordering the wines. A debate for another day though!
With provenance becoming a buzzword in the kitchen, as well as the wine world, Trinity have gone to a new level, offering a Beef fortnight, where they butchered their own Longhorn heifer and offered various cuts with suitable accompaniments. The original idea came from a Pig week they ran in the summer, which led to too much success, and I’m told the Beef fortnight sold out in a little over a day. Luckily we got in in time and had pre-ordered the Bavette, an under-rated cut that is often overlooked.
Our personalised menu offered a choice of three starters, including the restaurant’s signature dish – Pig’s Trotter on sourdough toast, with crackling, fried Quail’s eggs and sauce Gribiche. This dish alone is worth the trip to Clapham and was an easy choice for most of the table. The components all marry together perfectly and were complemented by a bottle of the excellent 1996 Cuvee L’Exceptionelle, St. Vincent from artisan Champagne house, R&L Legras. The Champagne had the perfect balance of vibrant acidity and mineral tension and helped cut through the richness of the dish.
The Bavette, a cut from the flank of the cow which benefits from slow cooking, was given the full cheffy treatment to bring out the wonderful flavour, having been slow cooked in a water bath then flash finished in a pan. The result was a sublime texture of caramelised exterior with a melting pink interior with the flavour that only a harder working part of the beast can bring. Roasted marrow bone, triple cooked chips and an intense gravy completed one of the finest plates of food I have eaten for a long time!
Continuing the theme of 1996, we had a bottle of the ever reliable 1996 Ch. Leoville-Barton. Classic is used to often sometimes to describe Claret but this had all the hallmarks you would expect from Anthony Barton’s excellent estate – crème de cassis, tobacco and the aromatic cedar scent you so often find in a top St. Julien. I feel there is plenty more to come from this wine and wish I had more than the solitary bottle.
Finally we chose a selection of farmhouse British cheeses, including Stichilton, a declassified Stilton, that paired beautifully with the half bottle of 1996 Ch. Climens. A great year for Sauternes and Barsac, this has certainly hit its stride with plenty of spiciness to go alongside the botrytis nose and bright acidity. A fitting finish to what was an excellent meal.
Many thanks to Trinity for a(nother) great evening. I certainly look forward to returning soon.
By Fergus Stewart