|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.
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)