I haven't been this blown away by a restaurant since..well, since Trinity chef-patron Adam Byatt's sadly defunct Origin at The Hospital. I'd been meaning to try out Trinity in Clapham Old Town for ages but not got round to it, then on the spur of the moment dropped in for lunch one sunny Monday and had I been wearing socks, they would have been knocked clean off.
Apart from a slightly dodgy ramp up from the front door - I wasn't the only one to trip up it on entering - the decor is beautiful; the space of the late and to be honest, unlamented Polygon has been sensitively transformed into a clean, organic, and comfortable room in warm shades of biscuit and brown with a scattering of modish modern art adorning the walls and for busier times, there's a small bar at the back for diners waiting for tables. Service, from both front-of-house and waiting staff, gets an A++ for being attentive, friendly, knowledgeable and unobtrusive.
As for the food - oh my good Lord, the food is superb and the lunchtime prix fixe at £20 for 3 courses is an absolute steal, with five choices for each course. For starters I went for the meat assiette and Alyn, my partner in life and in lunch, for terrine of confit chicken, smoked ham hock and foie gras. Both were superb, the highlight of mine being the light-as-air, melting veal head carpaccio and Alyn's, the generous nuggets of foie gras which punctuated his terrine. Our main courses were equally impressive; my slow cooked pork belly with creamed potatoes and honey glazed parsnips showed real kitchen expertise by being at once substantial and light, while Alyn's Huntsman's Pie, a generous dish of casseroled rabbit, chicken and bacon topped with a pastry lid the size and fluffiness of a cloud, was also adeptly prepared and disappeared with a speed the poor rabbit within would have envied.
The baked Alaska for two was the stand-out pudding from a mouth watering selection and came served in its own cast-iron dish, its wispy peaks perfectly singed from its recent spell in the oven. It wasn't flambed at the table as they do so impressively at The Ivy, but Trinity is much more about provenance and technique than table-side theatre. There's a fairly concise but very interesting, accessible wine list with prices starting at a recession-friendly £16.50; our 2006 Verdicchio at £25 felt like very good value. A very fair £1.50 cover charge entitles one to delicious home baked bread and Petit Lucques olives as well as - and here's my only, tiny, gripe about Trinity - filtered water, which surely should be completely gratis rather than coming under the cover charge.
I really could not find anything to fault about Trinity, and unusually nor could the very fussy Alyn, who filled in the comment card with glowing praise and with great pleasure. It might have taken me an age to actually get round to trying out Trinity, but having now done so it's guaranteed that I'll be back for more very soon indeed.
Trinity, 4 The Polygon, Clapham, London SW4 0JG Tel: 020 7622 1199 www.trinityrestaurant.co.uk