Wednesday 5 December 2018 10:44 am

Weekly Grill: Michelin-starred Adam Byatt, the chef patron of Trinity in Clapham, on his most accidentally successful restaurant

Follow Melissa

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Adam Byatt, chef patron of Trinity restaurant, Upstairs and Bistro Union, all situated in leafy Clapham Common. I’ve been a chef for some 28 years now. Most of my waking hours are spent cooking, being around, writing about, talking about or eating incredible food. I feel very lucky.

I manage the day-to-day running of the three sites, alongside my incredible team who are like family to me. We share the many highs and lows of this multifaceted industry.

What’s new at Trinity, Upstairs and Bistro Union?

For Trinity, after being awarded a Michelin Star, things have been about progression and development of what I feel is a brilliant and individual restaurant experience. Our energy and drive to be the best we can be has never been stronger. At Bistro Union we recently overhauled the restaurant after six years of trading. I guess I just ran out of love for it and felt it needed to sit closer to the offering at Trinity. Josh, our new head chef at Bistro Union, came over from Trinity and a new look, new menu and new approach was conceived. We’re all deeply back in love with Bistro Union and it is going from strength to strength. It’s a cracking local restaurant that I often wish I lived nearer to.

The dining room at Trinity 

What’s your earliest food memory?

I went on a French exchange with my secondary school, my first trip abroad, to a farm deep in the Loire valley. The welcome lunch with the host family was whole artichokes vinaigrette, the rarest bavette steak and homemade goats’ milk yoghurt. I thought I’d been dropped onto another planet. My love affair with France and its devotion to celebrating food has never left me.

Tell us about the best meal you ever had

I’ve dined in a lot of illustrious restaurants and eaten some of the finest foods a man could wish for. But a truly outstanding meal is as much about location, company and occasion as it is food. The best meals I have had have been with family and friends abroad with me cooking; sunsets, great wines and nights that never end.

What’s your favourite dish?

Cacio e Pepe or roast chicken broth.

A salmon dish dreamed up by the Trinity team

What’s the best thing about the London food scene?

There is simply no other capital city that offers the level of cookery we have in so many different cuisines. It’s remarkable and also self-propelling. Chefs and food tourists alike are all drawn to our city for the variety it offers. We’re very lucky.

And the worst thing?

Here comes the contradiction – there are too many restaurants, and by that I mean because of the volume, we will always have a certain amount of poor and lazy restaurants that are just bottom feeding from the places that have created this incredible food culture.

What’s your favourite food-related anecdote?

Upstairs, my casual dining restaurant above Trinity, is the most accidentally successful restaurant I’ve ever opened. We had no expectations of it really doing much other than being a great space for large parties and groups. I cooked the first three months of its opening and, with Matthew the restaurant manager, we’ve created a unique restaurant for our stable that’s pretty much full every day without me doing very much. It’s the happiest restaurant I know because the guests, team and food are all completely at one.