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Review

Trap Kitchen

££££

You can tell a lot about a person from their accessories. The shiny signet ring, the decrepit festival bands, or the free tote bag that says my life is a bit of a mess and I have lost eight debit cards in the past 12-months. We’re fans of all of the above, and yet, in our humble opinion there is one accessory that rises far above all the bling, bags, and bandanas this great nation has to offer. And that is, a pair of transparent disposable gloves gifted to you exclusively to eat a meal so messy and so gloriously satisfying that a bunch of TikTok cleaning influencers would have the Dettol-fuelled holiday of a lifetime mopping up your table in your wake. Lobster gloves, it’s called fashion baby, look it up.

You’ll find these indisputably chic and arguably, deeply sensual, gloves at Trap Kitchen on Balham’s Bedford Hill. A seafood-led spot that started life as a takeaway operation from a block of flats, this is the kind of place where a knife and fork is about as necessary as that Friends boxset you refuse to throw away, despite having Netflix. Yes, at Trap Kitchen you’re going to want to be using your hands. Pick up their heavily buttered corn and show it the respect it deserves, tear the tangy BBQ chicken thighs to pieces with your mitts, and refer to your dominant hand as ‘the crab claw’. After all, who needs a cutlery middle man when you’re getting down and dirty with the best affordable XXL lobster tails this city has to offer?

Giulia Verdinelli

In the face of all this delicious messy fun, you might be concerned that picking what to eat here will be stressful, but Trap Kitchen is one step ahead with their straightforward menu that comes down to four different platters, ranging from the casual £15 chicken thigh and friends ½-slab deal to the get-gloved-up £40 bucket feast. The food arrives at your table Happy Meal style, loaded onto a glistening tinfoil-covered tray that has convinced us once and for all that there are many readings of Rihanna’s ‘shine bright like a diamond’. Outside of kitchen essentials that make us want to forego precious stones, Trap Kitchen’s front dining area is also a prime example of less is more. Red banquette seating, wipe-clean tiled floors, disposable menus, a round cocktail bar that specialises in super sweet rum slushies, and a narrow corridor that leads through to their broody, moody back dining room. It’s dimly-lit, it’s full of dark green velvet, and it’s home to perfect two-person booths that provide the privacy you deserve when you’re about to release your inner Cujo on an unsuspecting pile of fat juicy prawns.

Thanks to its casual group-hang area up front and dark pit of date night corn-gnawing sin out back, Trap Kitchen is a restaurant that will enter your weekly rotation of Places You Can’t Live Without. The best part? It’s affordable enough to warrant those regular visits when you find yourself sitting at home on a Wednesday night contemplating smearing lobster juice all over your table for ‘ambiance’. FYI that’s a tell-tale sign that a Trap Kitchen craving is brewing, as is Googling ‘RnB playlist for eating chunky prawns?’. Save yourself the bother, just book your table, and get back to Balham for exceptional seafood that’s dressed down in it’s casual best, disposable gloves included.

Food Rundown

Giulia Verdinelli
Lobster Tails

As the kind of charming brats that grew up with hotmail addresses like ‘x0x_Princess_Of_Planet_Eart_x0x’ we’re always going to opt for lobster over crab. What can we say, it makes us feel special. But no matter how much your self-esteem hinges on boujie crustaceans, know that this is the headline dish at Trap Kitchen. Seriously meaty and seriously fantastic.

Giulia Verdinelli
Mac N Cheese

Okay, fine, we’ll admit it. You might need a fork to conquer this absolute cheese fest. Anticipate the cheese-pull of dreams.

Giulia Verdinelli
Rum Slushy

Brainfreeze, imminent. A teenage dream meets a 30-something adults’ worst weekday hangover nightmare. Their hard slushies are strong, biblically sweet, and somewhat irresistible to the part of you that will forever be nostalgic for summer evenings spent chatting shit over Slush Puppies about the guy at Esso who didn’t accept your fake ID. One for the sugar heads.

Bang Bang Prawns

Yes yes to the bang bang. In case you’re wondering, we are strongly considering making a line of Trap Kitchen fan merch with incredibly clever sayings like the above. These juicy prawns will make you once again question what kind of protein shakes and gym routines the seafood here is participating in due to their hefty size. Get involved.

Giulia Verdinelli
BBQ Chicken Wings

The chicken wings are one of Trap Kitchen extra side dishes. Like your mate’s boyfriend who is a bit of a snooze fest but can tell you how to fill in a tax return form, this is the plus-one you can live with but also live without. Save that all important stomach space for the seafood.

Giulia Verdinelli
Waffle With Topping

A near-offensive portion of Oreos on a soft, spongy bed of carbohydrates. The world is a beautiful place.

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