|Last Orders||9.45 pm|
"Brilliant food. The restaurant is just as good as before the revamp."
"Attention to detail is what makes this place so special. The crispy pig's trotter that looks like a toasted cardboard box yet tastes perfectly of beautifully poached and crisped pork; duck breast very prettily presented and boiled potatoes then crisply roasted and sliced into a mille feuille effect. Great."
"Trinity is always superb. The food is heavenly and the wine list is surprising and creative. Byatt's dishes always bring a smile to our faces, making it our go-to choice for mini celebrations. The staff are always knowledgeable and friendly. It is our favourite little gem in Clapham and it is impossible not to feel happy when dining there."
"Some good cooking here, though a few pretentious touches that don't add much. Good service and a nice brisk atmosphere."
Adam Byatt is a foodie-world favourite. He first hit the headlines - in a modest way - back in 2002, when his Clapham restaurant Thyme was at the cutting edge of the 'tasting plate' revolution. Then - flushed with success - he moved Thyme to Covent Garden. It failed, however, and he subsequently re-launched on the same site as 'Origin'. Hidden-away on the first floor of a multimedia centre, Origin has still always had difficulty attracting the following its interesting cuisine deserves.
This new outlet takes Mr Byatt back to his 'roots', near Clapham Common (just a couple of hundred yards from the original Thyme). The obvious problem is that Clapham has never proved itself a 'natural' fine-dining destination, and you have to have real innovation or quality on your side to succeed.
Well, on our visit, there was no particular innovation, and nothing about this place was quite good enough. For a start, the setting is below the aspiration level: at £50 a head, you do not want to hear, as we could, a deep-fat fryer bubbling away during your lunch. (Nor to smell it, but that was probably just a ventilation teething problem.) But, in the last analysis, it was the food which let the place down. If customers go to the trouble of seeking out a place like this, they need to be rewarded with intense flavours. We weren't, with none of the half-dozen dishes we sampled really impressed. Even bread, hot from the oven, was a non-event.
Perhaps it was just early days. But we can't help thinking that a visit to Origin, with its handier West End location, would still be a better bet.
As well as a new casual dining space on the first floor, Upstairs, there will be an al-fresco eating area on Clapham's recently created Old Town urban piazza. The interior will, apparently, be art deco-inspired with de rigueur banquette seating and open plan kitchen, and overall styling will be 'less masculine' than it once was – see above our stock photo of the old-look Trinity (new images are yet to be released).
Upstairs will introduce quite a change to the venture in terms of menu and atmosphere. Its casual menu offers 12 daily changing small plates which cost between £3 and £12. On the menu: Roast chestnut salad; bbq squid and gremolata; crab thermidor; and quince and cardamom granita. A feasting menu will also available for large groups.
The original ground floor dining room and piazza will be a pulpit from which Byatt can preach about his love of the classics. A two or three course menu will be available, £28 and £35 respectively. Dishes include: Trinity’s signature pig’s trotter with gribiche; lemon sole baked in seaweed butter; pot au feu of duck; roast grouse with white polenta and blackberries; and apple pie and custard.
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