With a lunch offering of a main course primi plus either a starter or dessert priced at £12 the only wonder is why it took me so long to get to Trullo. Everyone I know who really likes their food, as opposed to just liking to eat out, had told me to go and now I know why.
At that price we had to try the bargain lunch and with five starters, three pasta courses and four desserts to choose from we didn't feel we were missing out. We ate Braised cuttlefish with chickpeas and escarole. The cephalopod was as tender as could be and came with whole chickpeas in a lovely seafood broth. Norfolk asparagus with Gorgonzola fonduta was passable though the aspargus lacked the strength to stand up to the sauce. Normally I wouldn't expect to see English asparagus on 3 July but I know from my own allotment experience that it's a weird year for crops so I went with it. Pappardelle with beef shin ragu was a plate of perfectly cooked ribbon pasta with good, sticky long-cooked shin beef and Fettucine came with broad beans and a pecorino sauce lifted beautifully by Amalfi lemon.
We did break away from the bargain lunch for a couple of desserts. A Caramel pannacotta was the best example of this classic Italian dessert I have tasted. The vanilla seed-spotted pudding just on the point of set covered in plenty of dark caramel. A request for an Affogato instead of the listed Vanilla ice cream with apricot sauce was readily met and appreciated.
Head Chef Tim Siadatan was an early graduate of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen and, after spells at St John and Moro, presides over a perfect neighbourhood restaurant serving simple, seasonal Italian influenced food. The room is pretty non-descript, probably an ex-pub, plainly furnished in brown and white with a kitchen off to the side. It's just off Highbury Corner and cheek-by-jowl with pizza and kebab shops. Don't go expecting fancy or atmospheric, though when it's busy I'm sure you won't notice the room. It's very welcoming, whether your a twosome, a group, or eating alone. The food is the thing and these guys are doing a lovely job of it. The rest of the menu has headings of 'Oven' and 'Charcoal Grill' which I intend exploring next time. It's open for dinner every day and also for lunch except Sundays. Wines start at below £4 a glass. Three courses, home-baked bread and two glasses of wine each brought the bill to £25 per person plus service. Extraordinary value in my book.
300-302 St Paul's Road
Tel: 020 7226 2733
Evie's blog: Saffron Strands - for a more detailed version of this article