Having not eaten here for some time (maybe 18 months) and the last time being notably expensive, we decided to come back on Saturday night and see how it compared in today's crowded restaurant scene.
The good news is that the food is still of a very high standard, with real skill and precision being shown by the kitchen, Adam Byatt has certainly not been resting on his laurels. We were offered an amuse bouche of cheese filled pastry puffs and two radishes in a smoked (fish if I recall correctly) dip. The dip was amazing but needed some more bread or similar to make the most of it and the puffs were somewhat forgettable
The meal proper then started. I had chosen the pigs trotter which had been re-worked from our previous visit and is now even better than it originally was, full of unctuous piggy flavour with a very intense sauce all wrapped up in a deep fried croquet with a fried quails egg and a shard of super crisp cracking, delicious! My wife's seared tuna was also superb, with two generous slices of top grade fish seared and coated in coriander and a lime relish to accompany, which cut through the richness of the fish perfectly. A great way to start the meal.
Our mains were not what we would wish to have ordered, we had both been impressed by the sound of the Dexter Sirloin, but were told that it had sold out. This is somewhat disappointing for a restaurant at this level, particularly as there was not much else to choose from if you didn't want to eat fish. The roast chicken, was originally stated to be for two people only was offered as an individual potion if we wanted, or there was pot roasted veal. I am never a fan of roasted chicken in a restaurant, I prefer to eat something that I would struggle to achieve at home and roast chicken, whilst a great dish when cooked properly, is something we have at home. This left the pot roasted veal. Thankfully I asked our helpful waiter if the venison from the tasting menu could be ordered. He duly asked the kitchen and confirmed that it could and a potion of each was ordered.
The venison itself was beautifully cooked and full of flavour, really top notch cooking and accompanied by a wonderful madeira sauce. There was a smear of chervil root (why we have to endure smears I really do not know, if you want to include it give me a proper portion of it or not at all!) which was good but the plate lacked any real carbs, some pomme pure would have been perfect with this. I also felt that three small, if perfectly cooked, slices of venison and a couple of dates was a little on the small side for a full main course. I know it was part of the tasting menu and I think an extra slice was put on, but even still I would have liked a little more, especially as it was so good.
My wife's veal was also very good, but significantly larger in size with many slices of thin veal, perfectly cooked. This was accompanied by truffled macaroni cheese, which was superb, the addition of the truffle really elevating the pasta but not overpowering it. This was much more like the portion size that the venison should have been.
We then contemplated the dessert menu but were told that the Pear Tart Tatin had also sold out, which again was somewhat disappointing given that it was the stand out dessert and something we would have chosen. It was not even as if our table was particularly late, we sat down at just before 9.00pm, with a number of diners arriving well after us. Whilst I understand it is never easy to predict how popular a dish will be this does strike me as poor planning by the kitchen, which should be used to gauging how popular such dishes will be.
Not really taking a fancy to any of the other desserts we decided to share a plate of cheese. What arrived were three small slices of cheese, two of which were not really to my taste, even my wife who normally hoovers up all types of cheese with gusto, was not impressed with the blue one, which she described as having a musty taste. For £12 I thought this was a little on the expensive side for what we got, particularly given that the restaurant is not a prime West End location with a Star where perhaps such a price would be more in keeping with expectations. I would really like to see Trinity offer a proper cheese board and give this often overlooked course some real emphasis, but I fear this would be difficult given the size constraints of the dinning room, but if possible would really make a difference.
Overall we had a very enjoyable meal and the standard of cooking is in no doubt, it also felt more reasonably priced than the last time we went, which is welcome to see. If I am going to be charged full on West End Michelin prices, then I am more likely to go to the West End and get the real thing, rather than to what is essentially a local restaurant, albeit a very good one. That was the feeling we had last time we visited, but this time I think the pricing was pitched at more or less the right sort of level, cheese and a few starters notwithstanding. If the couple of minor issues had not occurred I think this would have been a solid 4 1/2 to 5 star review but we will certainly be back and sooner than 18 months!