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»Trullo is one of those places I’d been meaning to go for ages – it always looks nice inside and I’d heard great things about the food.

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And I’m clearly not the only one; the place was packed to the rafters and full of pleasant hustle and bustle on our visit early one Saturday night.

So it’s a good job they’ve just expanded and opened a second dining room downstairs, which is in lovely contrast to the upstairs; instead of huge windows its all dark and cosy, with snug little alcoves. You miss out on the open kitchen, but there was a table available, so definitely a worthy trade off.

Head chef and former Jamie Oliver protege Tim Siadatan’s Italian inspired menu came printed on flimsy paper, which makes me think it gets changed pretty regularly. On our visit there were three or four options in each of the antipasti, primi, oven and grill sections.

Meat, fish and veggie options were all represented, including some adventurous numbers like ravioli of calves’ brain. We opted for a more reserved fare: braised cuttlefish, which was a touch on the slimy side but full of flavour with a lovely hit of garlic from the aioli.

The ox tongue was tender and strong tasting, and elegantly simple with a side of baked green beans.

Another example of effective simplicity was the excellent sea bream. Grilled whole and delicately seasoned – the fish was allowed to speak for itself in the best dish of the night. Our lamb shoulder was slow-cooked but came out nice and pink and wonderfully succulent, with just the right amount of minty salsa verde.

We also shared some wickedly buttery soft new potatoes – a naughty treat that we didn’t manage to finish.

Italian classics populated the desert menu, but we went for the cheese selection; a full-on gorgonzola, a hard, nutty Taleggio la Baita and a creamy Ubracio made a great combination.

Restaurant info:

Trullo, 300 - 302 St Paul’s Road, N1 2lH

Tube: Highbury and Islington

Tel: 020 7226 2733

Web: www.trullorestaurant.com

Mains: from £15

Wine: from £18

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: No

Trullo is all I’d hoped it would be – the food is great, there’s a lovely selection of wine (the staff were very helpful when negotiating the long list) and it all comes at a price that encourages repeat visits.

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