Adam Byatt

Before lunch service at Michelin-starred Trinity, chef Adam Byatt talks to Daniel Neilson about his favourite Clapham haunts, a new restaurant at Browns and what will be on the Christmas table

Adam Byatt Photo

Why did you first move to Clapham?

Trinity is 13 years old now and I opened my first restaurant, Thyme, here in 2001. It was a very different Clapham at that time. There were very few restaurants, but it was incredibly bohemian and there was always a sense that people really valued their food. I went to the butcher’s M Moen & Sons and they had all this amazing produce: veal brains, veal tongue, ox cheeks, foie gras. I felt enamoured with it. I enjoy the neighbourhood community: it suits my style of food, my hospitality, and the way that my team works.

Where do you like to eat locally?

There’s a little deli called Tierra Verde on Webbs Road. It’s a tiny Spanish place and they have a fruit market and a shop. I buy things like pastries and tomatoes there. My wife and I often pop in for soup and coffee, too. I also love a place called Tart, which is on The Pavement in Clapham. Their tarts are really lovely and their coffee is great.

Where have you eaten recently that’s impressed you?

I went to Sabor recently and I loved it. I thought the food was accessible, delicious and reasonably priced. The cooking was really high quality. I also went to Anthony Dimitri’s place, Wild Honey, at St James and I had a wonderful meal – he’s a fantastic cook.

Have you found any culinary treasures lately?

I eat at Tooting Market a lot. It’s one of those places that I wish I’d got into a lot earlier. It’s a bit like Brixton market: it was a run-down market and then, all of a sudden, they’ve got tons of small food traders in there who are producing excellent food. There’s an amazing vibe.

What trip abroad have you enjoyed recently?

Last year I spent two-and-a-half weeks in Japan. We went to Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo – and it blew my mind. It’s the only place I’ve been where I’ve had a desperate yearning to go back to. It is a very hospitable and beautiful country with lovely people. I couldn’t find food that wasn’t nice. I ate ramen every day. It was a superb trip.

What can we expect from Charlie’s at Brown’s Hotel?

It is totally about classic British food, with a twist. I’m able to unleash my fascination with North African spices and Indian spices – all these exotic elements. For example, some of The Jungle Book was written by Rudyard Kipling in the hotel – they still have the typewriter there – and so I made this Kipling cake for afternoon tea, with lots of spice. It’s very eclectic and British through and through, like the hotel.

Finally, what’s on your Christmas table?

I’m very traditional. We start with a side of smoked salmon from Moxon’s Fishmongers, and then we have prawn cocktail. We have turkey, with all the trimmings. And then we have these amazing mince pies that we make at Trinity, which have Barkham Blue or Bleu des Basques inside. The pastry is made from goose fat, and we serve them with a Christmas pudding butter. I didn’t care for mince pies when I was growing up, so I made a mince pie that I would like.

Adam Byatt Photo

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