Having worked together at The Fat Duck for many years and holding on to three Michelin stars throughout their tenure, chef Johnny Lake and sommelier Isa Bal’s first restaurant comes with high expectations. Named after a cooking utensil that, the pair say, implies warmth and balance, Trivet is an understated affair in contrast with the duo’s big-hitting background.
Discretely tucked away opposite the Guinness Trust Buildings between Bermondsey and Borough Market, the location feels refreshingly low-key, while the interior is sparse and clean, dominated by Scandi-style woods, all-glass frontage and an open kitchen that adds necessary atmosphere.
Bal makes a big impact with a unique wine list that immediately stands toe-to-toe with London’s best. Rather than big, familiar vintages, he’s turned wine-list protocol on its head, listing regions by date of cultivation to explore the historically significant likes of Georgia, Slovenia, Greece, Turkey and Armenia. This is a list crammed with quirky styles and comparative bargains accompanied by confident, informed advice that helps you spot them.
Lake, meanwhile, cooks a modest menu that favours subtle invention, simplicity and precision over the multi-sensory magic that diners might anticipate.
Veal sweetbread came slathered in a rich, cumin-spiked sauce with grilled and raw oyster mushrooms as a foil for richness, while a neatly turned little artichoke was crammed full of truffle slithers and sat in a delicate ‘sourdough’ broth.
If that flavour was hard to discern, the bread and butter proper offered no such issue: thick, golden cultured butter and crusty, chewy sourdough were an absolute treat, and helped offset pricing which is certainly punchy. We, for one, would certainly welcome a set-lunch option.
Our pigeon came as four slices of gutsy, ruby-pink breast accompanied by roasted parsley root and slices of persimmon that all felt a little meagre for £38, while dish of the day was a treat for veggies: thick folds of blackened celeriac perched on creamed freekeh with a super-savoury, Marmite-like sauce.
One dessert – the Hokkaido potato millefeuille – is already so close to Insta superstardom that staff warned us it frequently runs out. We requested it early and tucked into an essentially perfect pudding of crisp pastry shards holding precisely piped saké and white chocolate mousse alongside a dreamy saké gelato. Unfortunately, the thinly sliced, soft-roasted potato on top didn’t add much beyond Insta-appeal.
Far more worthy of influencer attention was a generous slab of chocolate fondant filled with hot, creamy hazelnut gianduja tempered by a white coffee gelato that might well be the best ice cream in London. Further sweet treats appear as chewy, honey-topped canelés to accompany coffee.
Trivet is already one of the best London restaurants in which to enjoy wine; given time to settle in, we suspect the food will soon match the pedigree.