Trullo, Islington

  • DATE #56
  • Written by Kitty Wakeful (Guest Author)
  • 7 years ago
An Italian treat

The Vibe

Low-key, high-class heaven, occupying discreet little premises off Highbury Corner. The restaurant is light with pretty, unfussy décor – an upmarket trattoria with all of the romance and none of the checked table cloths. Trullo is North London’s younger, cheaper heir to West London’s River Café: more urban, less urbane. There’s a basement bar beneath for the more covert rendezvous, serving complex cocktails that mostly contain both a spirit (vodka/gin) and a liqueur (campari/vermouth/limoncello). These can be soaked up by dishes from a pared down version of the menu upstairs.

The Order

Anything on the menu, which changes day to day. For the primi piatti, pappardelle with beef shin ragu was as glorious as the Italians who institutionalised pasta as a starter. Lemon sole with samphire, brown crab and pangrattato (crunchy breadcrumbs) followed. The roast pigeon was accompanied, dauntingly, by a finger bowl signifying that if you wanted to make real headway with the bird, it would be a sticky business. Flecks did fly from my companion’s plate which romantic purists might consider a buzz-kill. New potatoes as a ‘side’ have seldom been so alluring, with rough, thick skins basted in butter and herbs. Tiramisu dissolved on the tongue within seconds but the memory still lingers. The wine list is exclusively Italian with the recent exception of a ‘Diamond Jubilee’ sparkling wine from Kent which the sommelier couldn’t resist stockpiling. Bottles of wine start at £18 and approach £80. Blurbs about origin and characteristics accompany the list, and the waiters are informed and friendly in navigating it.

The Game

Book in advance to mitigate the risk of ending up in one of Upper St’s many banal backwaters epitomised by the Wetherspoon’s-esque Junction next door. On a hot summer’s evening Trullo gets pretty stuffy so avoid silk (if you’re a man perhaps do this anyway or risk Italianate-overload). You can take a turn around Highbury Fields afterwards to walk off the inevitable food coma. Or make a virtue of your companion’s post-prandial sluggishness and whisk them home to lie prone…

The Faults

The jeopardy when you approach the menu of betraying too soon that you’re a monoglot Philistine. You might well lust after the summer berries zabaglione (spiked custard) or the Sbagliato cocktail of campari, quince liqueur, orange bitters and prosecco but can you spit out the words? Amidst an otherwise reasonably priced menu, the side salad of a few dressed leaves, at £4, is clearly where Trullo works its profit margin.

Sex Factor

5. If you’re taken to Trullo, they’re really into you. Or their food. Which is aphrodisiacally delicious.

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