One of the joys of living in London is that it’s so multi-faceted – it’s like a bundle of mini-cities wrapped into one. While West London (where I live, and which I’m particularly fond of) boasts many of the iconic sights that tourists seek, like Portobello Market and Hyde Park, East Londoners insist that you haven’t seen the real London if you’ve not trawled Brick Lane for vintage gear or cocktailed it up at a trendy Shoreditch watering hole. I’m a true creature of habit, only occasionally straying from the W-postcodes and when I do, it’s usually to eat – be it at a cosy supper club or hip molecular restaurant.
Even with the lure of food, I need much prodding, which is why it has taken me literally years to set foot in Trinity. I’ve heard a great deal about Adam Byatt’s cooking and it has long featured in my lengthy ‘to do’ list. So when our friends suggested it for Sunday lunch, we jumped at the chance. And once there I kicked myself for not having made it sooner – the car journey there was a breeze, clocking in at 35 minutes flat.
The concise Sunday lunch menu at the airy neighbourhood eatery reads well, with plenty that appealed. I’m a sucker for eggs and animal bits, so the choice of Fried Duck Egg with Aylesbury Duck Offal for my starter was a no-brainer. It was beyond awesome. The over-easy egg had beautiful crispy golden edges and a molten yolk. Delicious solo, but even better smeared with pungent wild garlic mayonnaise and eaten with bites of juicy offal (heart, liver, kidney). I’d lose the brioche (not pictured) though – the buttery wedge, well made as it was, just served as a distraction.
I paid little attention to the others at the table as I busily devoured my plate, not that it was an issue as everyone was contently doing the same. S and P tucked into Pouting and Tarragon Fishcakes with Soft Poached Egg and Sauce Choron, presented on slate tiles – a refined version of a British classic. The simpler Vichyssoise of English Asparagus and Jersey Royals with Potato Crisps and Fresh Curd was another good choice by A, and impressed with its clean delicate flavours .
I have a massive soft spot for retro fare, so the Vol au Vent of Haughley Farm Chicken, Mousserons, Broad Beans and Gem Lettuce was another easy choice for me. What arrived was infinitely better than the throwback dish of yesteryear. The magnificent pastry case was the size of a bread plate and filled not with boring old shredded chicken, but pieces of crisp-skinned roasted chicken on the bone, a heady wild mushroom sauce and lightly charred assorted vegetable garnish. A real stunner.
B also thought his pick of Hay Baked Leg of Lamb, BBQ’d Kofta, Toasted Cous Cous and Minted Yoghurt Dressing excellent – tender pink meat, smoky grilled kofta, sweet caramelised onion, nutty cous cous and cooling raita. Everything was executed to perfection and seasoned impeccably.
The Aberdeen Angus Sirloin with Yorkshire Pudding, Pot Roast Vegetables and English Horseradish, ordered by two steak-loving friends, was as lovely a Sunday roast as I’ve seen – rare fat-rimmed beef, fluffy yorkshire pud, sprightly veg and a bonus hunk of bone marrow to boot.
Set menus usually fall at the last hurdle, but my dessert was every bit as good as the other courses. The pair of sugared doughnuts served alongside a glass bowl of Green Tea Yoghurt were light, crusty and still warm – I could have polished off a bagful.
The mild cold matcha-dusted yoghurt was great for dunking the fried orbs, but also a lovely refreshing treat on its own.
B was equally delighted by his tropical concoction of Passionfruit, Pineapple and Mango Millefeuille, and the lovely A approved of her selection of English cheese from Neal’s Yard served on a plank, complete with bread, honey, dried fruits and chutney.
An utterly enjoyable and very civilised lunch that impressed from beginning to end. Professional yet friendly staff, well-lit relaxed environs and some very precise and unfussy cooking with a focus on seasonality. At £30 for 3 courses, my only regret is that we don’t live closer.
4 The Polygon
Clapham Old Town
London SW4 0JG
t. 020 7622 1199