One of the joys of writing this column is the excuse it gives to revisit a few places. London’s great for new openings but it’s also dotted with neighbourhood treasures and long-running stalwart performers that get overlooked while so many chase the newest / latest / shiniest / most Instagrammable restaurants.
Clapham has a few such places. On my walk down to Trinity from Clapham Common station, I passed The Dairy (superb but two, three years since I went), Counter Culture (also superb and yeah, same kind of time scale). And then there’s Trinity itself. It was, after working it out with my dining companion, about 12 years since my last lunch there.
While the room is substantially different – where it was dark brown and kind of moody before – a refurb a couple of years ago has more than doubled the size of the kitchen, brought in lots of natural light and even allowed a second dining space upstairs, now used for events and a rolling programme of supperclubs and the like.
Elsewhere though, it’s business as usual, with Adam Byatt’s cooking as on point as ever, a menu of all the things you want to eat, a terrific wine list, plus great knowledge and service from the lovely staff.
While it’s a little pricier than some places we’ve featured here, £50 for four courses is a bargain for this level of cooking, even before you’ve factored in all those little extra flourishes you get with a Michelin-starred lunch, from amuse-bouches to petit fours.
The pre-lunch snacks are exemplary – after one bite of the goujere, I consider changing my order to a small bowl of them, followed by a larger bowl and then a slightly larger one for main. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t because I’d have missed out on the joys of aged beef tartare, with pickled mushrooms, smoked bone marrow and oscietra caviar, the day’s hand cut pasta – cacio e pepe, plus truffle and butter – and Dover Sole baked in truffle butter “Bonne Femme”.
Funnily enough, it was that interim pasta course that I’ve found myself thinking about most, a dish of utter simplicity but the sort of execution that has you wiping your fingers semi-ruefully through the saucy remains, sad that it’s over but utterly delighted that it happened. The other side of the table also chose wisely, particularly a crispy pork jowl that echoed every good, porky, bacon-y thing that comes off a pig.
And then we moved to dessert. Salted caramel custard tart reminded us why salted caramel became a thing in the first place. While warm blood orange canelé with Speculoos ice cream may be the finest combination of eight words I’ve ever written in the name of pudding. Portions too are spot on – we walked away happy and revived rather than in need of a nap. I’ll be back. And way before the 2031 date that my current average would suggest.
4 The Polygon, London SW4 0JG
020 7622 1199