This Bermondsey restaurant is borne of a partnership between two of the most respected names in food and wine – chef Jonny Lake (formerly head chef at The Fat Duck and executive head chef of The Fat Duck Group) and master sommelier Isa Bal (one of the world’s leading sommeliers and former Fat Duck head sommelier). The name evokes the balance and solid foundation that the two bring to the restaurant. The pair were at The Fat Duck when it was placed first on the list of The World’s Best 50 Restaurants, so the foundations certainly aren’t wobbling at Trivet: their long relationship brings a level of trust and maturity that is evidenced in this young restaurant’s every pore.
Trivet’s home is a spacious and beautiful Scandinavian-style interior complete with huge windows to the quiet Bermondsey street outside, intricate wooden parquet tiles on the floor, mid-century modern furniture, soft brass accents and natural fibres. The best seats in the house are near the open kitchen where you can see Jonny Lake and his team preparing some of the most ambitious and creative food in London.
The food menu at Trivet is reassuringly succinct – Jonny Lake and the team have clearly poured hours of sweat and tears into making each dish unique, beautiful and delicious. To start, the ‘Drunk Lobster’, a tender lobster tail served with Trivet noodles cooked in lobster and sake stock, is a miso-and-sake-inflected delight. Elsewhere, the braised spiky artichoke comes almost too beautiful to eat, but the dish’s rich umami sourdough broth with warm allspice notes makes it an unforgettable delight when you do tuck in. Other starters include delicate cured sea bass and red gurnard with toasted barley and cornsilk, and winter sweetbreads with smoked maitake mushrooms, pickled lingonberries and wild cumin. The menu naturally changes with the season, but the delicate, elevated flavour and texture combinations remain at any time of year, as does the ambitious and impressive cooking.
Moving on to mains, chicken with a vinegar sauce is a deceptively simple description for an extraordinary dish of tender meat, the sweetness of which is perfectly balanced with the tang of vinegar. Citrus butter poached turbot with confit delica pumpkin, black radish and a Chardonnay butter sauce offers a depth of sweet and tart flavours that makes the dish at once complex and utterly moreish. Other irresistible looking dishes include pigeon and persimmon with spiced heritage carrots and kale, and a grilled loin of venison with beetroot, king oyster mushroom and watercress. Sides of homemade French fries with onion ketchup and purple sprouting broccoli with isot pepper (a dried, smoky chili pepper from Turkey) dressing also come highly recommended.
To finish, the restaurant’s signature dessert is the ‘Hokkaido Potato’, a baked potato mille-feuille with a sake and white chocolate mousse, and butter and sake gelato. It’s an extraordinary and unusual dish, really unlike anything else, but is happily mouthwateringly delicious. The ‘Turkish Breakfast’ is equally exciting and tasty – a beautifully presented combination of yoghurt and sesame cake with sour cherry and black olive caramel ripple. The relatively straightforward butter tart is a nod to chef Jonny Lake’s native Canada but is equally enticing in its wicked combination of brown sugar, flaky pastry and, of course, butter.
To drink, Isa Bal’s wine list comes as thick as a phone book and is arranged chronologically, with a large selection of Georgian, Armenian and Turkish wines at the front and stretching to a section for Martian wines at the back (sadly this section is so far empty, but watch this space). Many of the wines on offer are unique to Trivet in the UK and absolutely worth exploring with the knowledgeable and capable help of the restaurant’s experts. All the wines on the menu are available to takeaway, too.
As evident from the food menu, Lake and Bal are extremely involved and interested in Japanese flavours and ingredients, especially sake. The two have travelled to Japan together to learn more about sake and so the wine list includes an extensive selection of sakes available by the bottle or glass and are chosen to pair well with Trivet’s food.
A meal for two with wine, around £220
Trivet is one of the most exciting and original restaurants to have opened in London in the past few years. The cooking, wine and service are nothing short of extraordinary. It’s a true culinary experience to eat at Trivet, one no gastronome or curious diner should miss.