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.
The Trawler Trash menu is devised around the “trash” of the trawler men, the kitchen uses the best quality ingredients to create a globally inspired seafood menu, using the lesser known treasures of the sea that often get disregarded in favour of the traditional catch. The dining style offers a wide selection of small plates for sharing and main dishes to promote a relaxed social dining experience. All washed down with Trawler cocktails, wines and London beers.
|Venue name:||Trawler Trash||Contact:|
205 Upper St
|Transport:||Tube: Highbury & Islington|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £90|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
1.8 / 5
- 5 star:0
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:2
I would struggle to review how the food was because I didn't make it that far before deciding to leave due to terrible service.
Upon arrival I had to show my confirmation email for my reservation as it couldn't be found. After taking a seat we were told that we may have to move later as someone had the table reserved for an hour later. We were a bit confused because we had a reservation too and the restaurant was empty.
We then ordered a bottle of wine and some water. This happened to be towards the lower price range of the wines but would supposedly go with everything, something we wanted as we planned on sampling quite a bit of the food. We were told that they didn't have this wine in stock as they had only just got their license. We then asked for another crisp white wine only to be told that this too was out of stock. While the waiter went away to find out what wines were actually available we were given a bowl of something green and crispy which was pleasant enough but I'm not sure what it was (battered seaweed?) and we still hadn't been given any water. The waiter returned to let us know which wines were available and chose one slightly more expensive bottle. Upon returning with the bottle he told us that they only had one bottle. We were told that this had been opened but none of the wine had been poured and it had been sealed with an wine saver stopper. We asked whether we would be getting a discount for accepting an open bottle of wine to which we were given a firm no and told that we could choose one of the other bottles (which coincidentally cost about £10 more) if we wanted. It was at this point we decided to call it and left as it felt like an uphill battle to get a bottle of wine, never mind the prospect of having to move mid meal or ask the somewhat confused staff any questions about the menu.
All in all this was a pretty disastrous visit which is a real shame as all of us worked in environmental sustainability and were really interested in what the menu could offer with such an interesting concept. However, the attitude and quality of service ranging from non-existent to confusingly bad really put me off giving this place another go until I see something to change my mind.
We were so disappointed in this restaurant, we totally bought in to the idea of sustainability and interesting different fish that we may not have tried before. However, there was no mention of this once we arrived, the service was haphazard, the person at the front seemed ok but then proceeded to ball out another member of staff swearing at him directly behind our table. They only had white or red wine, or IPA so we had the dubious white wine.
My meal of gurnard was not chargrilled as it said on the menu, it was also badly over cooked and the broccoli was just mush. Added to this they forgot to add the anchovies, the main reason I ordered this dish, and only produced three in a side dish when I asked about this, poor.
My wife's meal turned up so late that I had already finished attempting to eat my meal and whilst the mussels were ok, I believe, there is nothing interesting about farmed mussels. When our waiter asked us to be honest about the food I explained my issues with the fish and vegetables, he apologised and said he would speak to the chef, I watched him until we left and he never said a word. So let down by a place I thought I'd love, ten minutes walk from my house, but do not believe the hype, it is a poor fish restaurant and they are not eco warriors.