Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Trullo, Islington

Penne with pork, tomato and chilli ragu

In Puglia, in southern Italy, you can drive though fields of little white smurf-like huts with conical roofs, called trulli (singular: trullo). These traditional stone huts are specific to the Valle D'Itria in Puglia, and they're an amazing sight, in a fantastic part of the world. Even if you are constantly on the look out for Papa Smurf.

Pappardelle with beef shin ragu

I used to think of them every time I heard rave reports about a new(ish) neighborhood Italian restaurant in Islington, called Trullo. Now, however, whenever I hear about Puglia's trulli, I am more likely to think about the dense and delicately sweet pork penne at Trullo. Or the rich, silky beef ragout with ravishing ribbons of toothsomely al dente pappardelle. Or the big, flavour packed lamb chop straight from the charcoal grill with cannellini beans and Turkish pepper. Or even the good o'l juicy pork chop with a mustardy potato salad. The creamy caramel pannacotta was the best I've eaten anywhere (and I think TPG's in love).

Pork chop with ratte potato salad and Dijon mustard dressing

Barnsley lamb chop with cannellini beans and Turkish pepper

Trullo has instantly become a challenger for my favourite restaurant in London. It's everything a good restaurant should be - stylish but simple, uncluttered decor that makes you unafraid to spill a bit of ragout, good, efficient, knowledgable service, fun atmosphere and absolutely terrific, flavourful, simple Italian food.

Caramel pannacotta

You should not have to re-mortgage your house to get all this, and at Trullo you don't. The prices are some of the most reasonable I've seen lately, certainly for this quality (about £7.50 for an entree of pasta, £17.50 for the lamb chop). The pasta dishes are divine - I would consider having one for entree and one for my main course next time (the man at the next table had 2 bowls at once, and I like his thinking).

The Italian wine list is also excellent, and very fairly priced - you can even buy by the carafe.

The menu offers about 5 options per course and changes daily. If I lived in Islington, I'd be trying it every day. Book ahead.

Trullo, 300-302 St Paul's Road, Islington, London, N1 2LH (Tel:  020 7226 2733)

Trullo on Urbanspoon


  1. I really ought to know better by now than to read your blog when I'm hungry! Looks great!

  2. GOD roll on June! (When I visit Puglia...)

    It looks gorgeous, but I can't help but be lazy and default to Zucca for my Italian fix.

  3. This sounds like the ideal local to me. I've tried to get in a couple of times, but alas, they have always been booked way ahead of time. Looking at those dishes, I can see why. They look fabulous.

    It's deceptively difficult to make straight forward dishes like a pork chop stand out, and even more to make simple pasta taste divine. Even more reason to go. And I am starting to really crave great pasta so it sounds like I need to get myself organised. And pronto.

  4. Ooooh that caramel pannacotta looks great! And, exactly like creme caramel, I'm intrigued, how was it different?

  5. Loving the Papa Smurf analogy and now you are making me really want to go to Puglia

  6. Kavey - If only you could smell that pasta...

    Lizzie - Oh, you will LOVE Puglia. Fantastic place. Zucca is still on my list.

    Grubworm - book ahead, it's really worth it.

    Hanna - The pannacotta was less eggy, more creamy I would say.

    Gourmet Chick - You would love all the Italian food in Puglia.

  7. I'm with Grubworm - despite living in the neighborhood, and despite really enjoying Trullo when it first opened, it has since become difficult to get a table there. So that's what holds us locals back from eating there more frequently!

  8. Was charmed by Zucca- think that this one will have to be next up. Thanks for giving me a kick along....

  9. SO glad to hear you loved Trullo! My friend helped with the wine list and I've heard so many good things about the place, it's top on my list of London restaurants to get to as soon as I can!


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