I have been meaning to try Trullo for a while now ever since Dos Hermanos posted their raving review about a month ago. So my heart literally sank when I saw Jay Rayner’s review pop up a week or so ago, declaring the restaurant a hidden gem. Unfortunately after a Rayner review, no restaurant remains ‘hidden’ as we found out when we attempted to book a table.
Saturday night, 7pm, out by 9pm.
There aren’t many newly opened restaurants that can dictate an out-by, but perhaps this is a taste of the after effect of Rayner?
The dining room is small, and tables occupy every possible space available. We noticed immediately that a number of the two-top tables were round little bistro tables and the patrons sitting in them looked rather uncomfortable, so we quickly asked to be sat window-side where the tables were slightly larger & square, and where we didn’t feel like we were sitting in a main traffic thoroughfare. Being a Saturday night, the restaurant had clearly attracted some well-heeled customers from outside the borough.
Tap water was delivered in a carafe without issues and a basket of bread was delivered with a small pot of olive oil. The bread was really delicious. I forgot to ask whether they made the bread in-house or was bought, though if it is the latter, I will buy my bread from there from now on. My only gripe is that the bread seemed more hacked than cut into pieces. Wine list seemed very reasonable (even Prosecco at £20/bottle) with a note that no bottle was marked up more than £10 (a BYO charge at some places!).
The menu is short and as our server explained, changes daily based on what is available. Whilst she appeared helpful in her offer to explain the menu, the straightforward explanations of the dishes meant that she couldn’t explain much more than to reiterate what was already written on the menu.
We started off with an antipasti of grilled ox heart with a horseradish creme fraiche (£5). Prior to eating at Trullo, I had read Cheese & Biscuits review of a similar dish, but served with chorizo and padron peppers rather than horseradish cream. The grilled ox heart was really delicious and was tender, had great offal texture without too much of the offal zest. A thumbs up achievement as I can imagine the heart isn’t the most easy protein to prepare.
Tagiliarini with brown shrimp (£5.5) came out as an almost angel hair fresh pasta tossed with zucchini, squash and brown shrimp. The dish was simple, with a clean chilli lemon kick through the pasta. As the pasta was so fine, it would have been a bit nicer if it was a little more al dente as the pasta was a little slimy towards the end.
Mains came out very quickly after our starters were cleared which made us feel like we were being rushed through our meal. We eat pretty quickly so to get the mains out that quick our waitress would have literally needed to call our mains right as starters were served. Regardless the calves liver with hispi cabbage (£13.5) was light pink seared (not sure why it was classified in the oven category), sweet with good texture. The rather unattractive quarter cabbage on the plate ended up being deliciously sweet and cooked perfectly with a slight crunch. A real surprise.
The roasted duck leg with summer carrots and salsa verde was tender, carrots deliciously sweet but salsa verde was a bit cold which brought down an otherwise perfectly good dish.
Overall, starters were slightly on the small side, but the quality made up for it. However I can’t help but compare Trullo to the brilliant Zucca where for similar prices the overall food quality (not to mention the size of that veal steak) represent excellent value for money. Both restaurants are a welcome addition to London’s small home-cooked italian category offering simple, smart, fresh food at low prices. Whilst I feel that Zucca has the slight edge, Trullo is a great local and once the hype dies down, will be a great place for a mid-week meal.
Good value at £60 for 2, 2 courses plus wines and service.
300 – 302 St Paul’s Road,
London N1 2LH