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Trawler Trash

Restaurants, Seafood Islington
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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An Islington seafood restaurant specialising in using unloved catches.

It’s a genius idea. A seafood restaurant dedicated to using unpopular fish, the so-called ‘trash’ of the oceans. When I walk in, I see they’ve taken this approach to sustainability one step further: the site used to be home to a chippie, and they’ve counter-intuitively put the open kitchen in the narrow corridor at the front, on the footprint of the original counter and fryers. Venture further back, where the space opens up, and it’s actually quite glam: white marble tables, moody exposed brickwork and bold blue-hued art on the walls. Lightning is low, the music Mumford & Sons-esque.

So far, so good. And, as I sit down, I’m given a huge carafe of tap water, stuffed with folds of thinly sliced cucumber, followed by a dinky bowl of ‘on the house’ tempura seaweed. These are nice touches. The next two dishes – a zingy salad of charred and impossibly tender cuttlefish with pickled tomatoes; ahead of bijoux parcels of sweet cured herring – were magnificent. But then, abruptly, the sails come off. A ‘trash pie’, made with smoked trout, had only two notes: smoke and salt. Likewise the kipper carbonara had potential, if only it had come with the promised chilli (none detected) and rocket (they substituted kale) described on the menu. Desserts were forgettable. Service was slow.

It’s a pity, because there are moments of greatness at Trawler Trash, and you can’t fault the concept. In the loo, you can hear the faint sound of seagulls cawing, faintly, as if far, far away. If they can match the execution to their idea, this place could just about rule the waves.


Address: 205 Upper St
N1 1RQ
Transport: Tube: Highbury & Islington
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90
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