The idea of having the time to do whatever you want, whenever you want, is something that should diminish as you get older. At least that’s what we’re told. Adults should have lots of responsibilities. Adults are meant to have jobs, appointments, meetings, kids, tax returns, plants to water, pets to feed, books to pretend to read, walls to stare blankly at. Adults aren’t meant to have all the time in the world. Unless they’re at Trullo.
Trullo is the older, adult, sibling to Padella. There are no queues here. No counters either. No no no. This is a grown-up Italian restaurant. If you’re going to eat a meal you’re going to have to book, and then you’re going to get to sit on something with a back. But Trullo isn’t stuffy. No no no. This is a playground for grownups. This is a restaurant you sit down in at midday on a Tuesday and follow the lead of the couple to your left. “Two spritzes, please!”. It’s a restaurant with white table cloths, but the cloths are paper, because you will be getting a little bit down and dirty eating the grilled quail with aioli. It’s a restaurant where seemingly busy people have all the time in the world. From the lone gentleman in the linen suit methodically eating his pappardelle and beef shin ragu, to the waiting staff dealing with a busy restaurant at all times of day and night. At Trullo, everyone goes about their business in the most contented way possible.
This feeling of adult contentedness is almost overwhelming. It’s that look your parent would give you on holiday, a glass of wine in hand, a sunset in front of them. Bottle up that half-cut look and pour it straight back out into a glass for you to swig on, and that’s how you’ll feel at Trullo. The food here is very good. Rustic, Italian stuff that will make you feel like you’re on holiday. You start with something like bruschetta or broad bean and ricotta salad - fresh and simple is the order of the day here. And then you’ll move onto pasta - if you know sister restaurant Padella, then you know the score - before a choice of charcoal grilled meats, fish and vegetables. It’s simple and satisfying cooking, done very well. There’s nothing on this menu, or in this room, to challenge you. That is not what Trullo’s about. In fact, the only concern you’ll have here is the prospect of leaving. The prospect of giving up your inexplicably comfortable seat, your wonderfully tasty and wholesome lamb rump, your vanilla panna cotta - unnecessarily paired with grappa, that is also, somehow, completely and utterly necessary.
Trullo is that odd and rare thing in London: it’s a restaurant that gives you time. It will give you time to have lunch with an old friend, a birthday dinner with your family, a slice of tart before you need to get the train home. At Trullo you should never, ever, look at your watch. Because here, it’s grown-up’s time.
The kind of thing you should be eating on a Tuscan hillside rather than Highbury and Islington, but, beggars can’t be choosers. It’s lovely.
If you’re in the area and feel even vaguely peckish, this is what you order. These people know their pasta.
This bird is smokey, meaty and crusty. Plus you get to smear it in garlic mayonnaise. What’s not to like?
A fine vegetarian option, even if the component parts are a little underwhelming when eaten alone.
This is delicious, hefty, and also very refined.
The panna cotta is delicious but the grappa can be a little overwhelming. A classic cook’s pour.
A real lip-smacker, which is exactly what a lemon tart should be.