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14 August 2012


I was hoping not to like Trullo.  I'd railed against the inhospitable booking policy and managed to get into an argument with one of London's better chefs about it.  

Hospitality discussion

Storified by Anthony Silverbrow · Thu, Aug 09 2012 16:19:16

"We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at 8, please remember we need your table back by 10" ≠ hospitality. Restaurants should = hospitalityAnthony Silverbrow
@Silverbrow Sorry, you can't have a table all night in every restaurant out there. and sometimes we have to make that clear on the phone....isaac mchale
@itsisaac why not just work it in to the speed of service & menu construction and make sure diners are out in the necessary timeframeAnthony Silverbrow
@Silverbrow .....i don't like doing it but we have to. judge us on r hospitality when you get here, not that we have to use a table twiceisaac mchale
@itsisaac but that's not how it works, I start looking forward to my meal from before I arrive, including booking...Anthony Silverbrow
@itsisaac ...and the restaurant goes out of its way to tell me they really want me to leave at a certain time...Anthony Silverbrow
@itsisaac ...Surely restaurants can achieve the same ends without the need to be so passive aggressive to guests?Anthony Silverbrow
@Silverbrow Don't take it as aggression, just the need to reuse yr table that night at a preordained time. people get indignant at 'out by'isaac mchale
@Silverbrow ....times but you have to do something. or else charge more, or have a 'no bookings' policy.isaac mchale
@HRWright @Silverbrow s'times it does,s'times doesn't but you have to plan yr business n while i dont like, i understand necessity of themisaac mchale

I still think that if you tell a customer that you are looking forward to seeing them, but you want to make clear what time you want them out, is not a particularly welcoming thing to do.

Anyway, despite that I really can't hate Trullo.  I loved it.  Yes, I was apprehensive going in, but once it, it was an almost (see the dessert) flawless meal.

There is something cossetting about the blue tongue-and-groove room.  The service was faultless.  Just the right side of familiar, but totally focused on ensuring we had a great meal.  They were at pains to ensure that our slightly offbeat prosecco was to our liking and once the food was delivered, pretty much left us to enjoy ourselves.

We started by sharing a delicious, sloppy burrata with sticky, honeyed figs.  I then had a ricotta and butter ravioli that was silky, slippery and with a decent bite.  Silverbrowess had an almond soup.  I tried making one of these many years ago.  Mine turned out to be a gritty, garlicky mush.  Trullo's was a smooth, sexy mouthful.

For main course I had a perfectly grilled mackerel (they could teach Brasserie Zedel a thing or two about grilling fish).  The skin was charred, adding a smoky note to the moist meat within.  Silverbrowess had a crespelle.  It is basically a veggie crepe covered in cheese.  She loved it, which is what counts.  I thought it tasted fine, but was more than happy with my mackerel.

The one off note was dessert.  We ordered the white-peach and almond tart and asked for a taster of the burned caramel ice-cream.  They kindly gave us a full scoop of the ice-cream, swapping it for what I think was supposed to be creme-fraiche that accompanied the tart.  I don't think the tart did justice to what I imagine was probably some delicious fruit.  It felt a bit of a waste.  The ice-cream was far too burned and I found it bordering on the unpleasant. 

One last word on that silly reservation policy of telling us we needed to be out after two hours.  We were comfortably out of our seats by 10. Not because we rushed, or felt rushed, but because the restaurant paced the meal and made sure that we were out in time.  Which is exactly why surely, they don't need to forewarn you.  They are good at turning tables, just do it, don't bother telling the customer you are doing it.

However, despite the dessert and the booking policy, I love the place and will be back there in a shot.  Most of the food was very good, great ingredients and spot-on cooking.  I'll ignore their entreaties to bugger off when I book and I'll simply order another antipasti and just ignore the desserts. 

Google Maps

Trullo, 300-302 Saint Paul's Road, London, N1 2LH, UK
+44 (0)20 7226 2733

What others think

Jay Rayner - Great food, expertly cooked and served by friendly waiting staff… There's no secret to Trullo's success.


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Hi Sliverbrow: A nice read, I have encountered the very same issue with one of the well-known Chinese restaurant in London(please don't ask me which one).

So put it short, we waited a hour for a table, just when it's our turn to take the table, the waiter said to us "gents, you will have only two hours for the table", my head was like went blank for sec, then immediately I was on the brick of erupting with anger, and I walked away and left the restaurant, despite the fact that we had waited a hour, despite the fact that we so desperately wanted to try out.

It wasn't like we were ever going to stay longer than 2 hours, but it did and still does make me feel like I am not welcomed, it doesn't matter how good you are, I don't have to spend my hard earned money in your shop if I am not made feeling respected and wanted.

Thanks Gobstopper, just to be clear though the time limit was made clear to me when I booked, not when we arrived. What happened to you doesn't sound great. 

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