This little piggy loves eating out, and doing all sorts of things relating to food, you may have noticed. I especially love new places and trying new things, learning new skills, watching someone and learning from them. So, as often as I can, I’ll get out there and try something or somewhere new.
London is a big city with lots of options and it won’t surprise you that I’ve not been everywhere yet Far from it. So, when I received an invite from a restaurant on my hit list, Trinity, to attend a pig master class, where the head chef would do a butchery demonstration at the kitchen table, followed by a dinner matched with Trimbach wines from Alsace, I was thrilled. I love Alsatian wines, I first discovered my love for them at a Hugel tasting a couple of years ago. Trimbach were particularly interesting as they are a small house, family run for many generations. Just my cup of tea, or should I say glass of Gewurz.
Trinity is a highly regarded restaurant in Clapham, South London. Food critic Giles Coren is a fan, having called it “The perfect restaurant” and it was awarded AA London Restaurant of the Year 2007/2008 and Time Out Best Local Restaurant 2007/2008. It’s a blogger’s favourite also, and frankly, the only reason that I haven’t visited is it is so bloody far away from where I live.
Rushing, as always, I was greeted with a glass of wine and some pretty impressive looking pig carcass that the head chef, Adam Byatt was presiding over, cleaver in hand and smile on his face. I felt welcome, and slightly overwhelmed but I was desperate to catch up. It was really interesting, he made deft work of the butchering, and presented several joints at the end, some stuffed with sausage meat.
I found it quite inspiring really and wanted to get stuck in myself and discover how to do it hands on, should they run a hands on course, I will be down there in a flash. It makes so much sense when it comes to quality and price, if you have the space and the inclination. I’ve been considering getting a half pig this year and giving this a try, if my new home has enough space for a big freezer.
Class adjourned, we ate some spoils from the butchery, some prune pork sausages with rosemary, seductively moist and succulent and some delicious smoky taramasalata, made with cod roe from a small smokehouse in the UK, I intend to source some, it was utterly divine, smooth and rich.
The meal commenced with a creamy and milky white onion and thyme velouté. Delicately scented and light, it soothed the tastebuds and set us up nicely for the smoked eel, steamed oyster and sole goujons. My dining companions were enthralled by the leek, but frankly, no contest, the eel was the star of the show. Gentle starts for the two robust courses that were to follow.
Pigs trotters served on sourdough with fried quail egg, sauce gribiche and crackling over shadowed this. It is one of Trinity’s signature dishes, and it really impressed. With a shard of crackling protecting it, it didn’t stand a chance for I had it devoured in record time. A perfect example of producing something very fine and delicate with bold flavours using the cheapest of meat cuts, the simple crubeen (Irish for trotter).
One of my favourite cuts followed, pork belly, which was served with black olive oil mash, braised celery hearts and cockle and saffron vinaigrette. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this as much. It had been cooked sous vide for 16 hours, and I felt it didn’t do the meat any favors. Instead of the tender fragments of meat rendered by slow roasting, the meat was dense and compacted and while full of flavour, I didn’t enjoy the texture, which seemed a great shame considering how much work had gone into it. I did enjoy the fragrant cockle and saffron vinaigrette though. One slight shadow on an otherwise lovely meal.
We finished with an intensely sweet and delicious quince tarte tatin and honey ice cream, which was everything a tarte tatin should be: fruity, intense, caramelised and golden. Nothing complex, a simple dessert that was well executed, exactly how I like my desserts to be.
The wines were a real treat, the rieslings were particularly good. Two shone out particularly, the 2001 375th anniversary cuvee, beautifully dry with lots of mineral and a real pleasure to drink. The final wine was a very fine Gewurztraminer, the Gewurztraminer Selection des Grains Nobiles 1989.
Overall impressions were extremely positive, Trinity is a lovely local restaurant offering very fine food, lovely service and a warm and cosy atmosphere. The Trimbach wines were really excellent, and it was a real pleasure to be taken through the tasting by Jean Trimbach himself. I was pleased to see a Trimbach wine in my local Waitrose recently, the Trimbach Riesling Réserve 2007,very well priced at £13.29, I will be trying it soon.
Should you fancy going to the Trinity Pig Masterclass costs £70 per person, and includes the butchery demonstration and lunch, matched with ciders and perrys. It runs from 10am-1pm and is well worth a visit.