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  • Restaurants
  • Highbury
  • price 2 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Trullo
    Ming Tang-Evans
  2. Trullo
  3. Trullo

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Highbury's star Italian – a contemporary trattoria with a serious reputation for pasta

Good restaurants are easy to describe. The food is served at the right temperature. Staff don’t roll their eyes when you ask what a ‘boquerone’ is. Ordering wine by the bottle doesn’t necessitate a remortgage. All of these things suggest a place is decent, and can be articulated plainly with words and pictures.

Great restaurants, however, are harder to describe. With greatness ‘quality’ is a given. There has to be some other ineffable presence that remains constant day in, day out. We love great restaurants for reasons that are illogical, personal and elusive. Trullo is a great restaurant. There are days when I think it might be the greatest.

Trullo’s reputation is built on consistently excellent food and its expertly calibrated atmosphere

The Highbury trattoria hasn’t got any flashy gimmicks or TikTok-friendly marketing ploys. Its upstairs and downstairs dining rooms have no obvious ‘features’ (although by this point its net half-curtains are at risk of becoming iconic), and the well-trained staff aren’t heavy-handed or dressed in corduroy workwear. Instead, Trullo’s reputation is built on consistently excellent food and its expertly calibrated atmosphere, neither of which have slipped an iota in the restaurant’s 13 year history. Bravissimo, lads. 

Trullo isn’t all about the pasta, but at the same time it is all about the pasta. The primi section of the menu is a stockpile of reasonably priced, culinary WMDs. On our most recent visit we forewent their legendary beef shin ragu pappardelle (at this point ‘reviewing’ it would be like auditioning Prince to be in your band) and went instead for fettuccine with pork, which had a deep, dark and offal-y flavour. It's the kind of rustic dish, produced with exacting standards, that made Trullo famous in the first place. Meanwhile, both the zing-tacular tagliarini, in which Amalfi lemons do battle with Dorset crab, and the buttery ravioli with chicory both did more than enough to protect this restaurant’s hard-won reputation as London’s number one pasta place.

But wait, there’s more! Lightly fried quail and orange slices hit the jackpot of being simultaneously crispy and juicy. Who knew quail could be juicy! The night’s revelation was the mixed offal, skewered on rosemary spears and served in a glistening sherry sauce. Gout on a stick, basically. But so good. The oven and grill section meanwhile offered up  crispy-skinned trout, with capers and grapefruit cutting through the fish’s meatiness like a lightning bolt. A boxing glove-sized lamb shank meanwhile, was saved from the threat of blandness by a bed of tangy, cheesy polenta.

Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite restaurant is, I always have to try really hard not to say ‘Trullo’. Because I’ve been saying it for so long. But I’m starting to think that maybe I never will stop saying it. And that’s quite something.

The vibe Low lights, good chat and great wines are what Trullo is all about

The food An ever-changing, never slipping menu of rustic Italian dishes.

The drink Trullo’s wine list is notoriously reasonable and remarkable. A cornucopia of good value.

Time Out tip There are worse places to wait for a table to become available than in the Trullo wine bar next door.

Joe Mackertich
Written by
Joe Mackertich


300-302 St Paul's Road
N1 2LH
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