As a self-confessed food addict, I am always on the look out for restaurants that stand out from the norm in London’s bustling food scene. I love the fact that London offers so many good restaurants but it is hard to know where to start. That said, it is all changing quickly and by the time I get half way down my ‘Top 100’ list of restaurants I want to visit, there might be something new in its place. For now thankfully, I need not worry because I’ve come across a hidden little gem in Trafalgar Square, which is not only serving some utterly fabulous dishes, but inside it is cosy yet chic and the staff are friendly and engaging.
Sitting smack bang in the centre of London with views of Trafalgar Square, The Trafalgar Dining Rooms serves up all-day dining with Mediterranean-inspired dishes. On a rainy miserable evening, I was looking forward to some chill-out time with the husband.
With a chic American vibe, we could have easily forgotten that we were in Central London. The restaurant is sleek and has a contemporary feel to it.
I was here to try out the London Restaurant Festival menu and I couldn’t wait. Having had a sneak peak at the menu beforehand I knew I was in for a real treat and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
As part of the 3-course set menu, we were given one of my favourite drinks of all time – the Espresso Martini. This Espresso Martini was the best one I have tasted yet. Made from the exquisite 150 – a smooth and sweet cold brew coffee liqueur, East London vodka and a shot of rich and earthy espresso, I was in heaven. The creamy drink hit all the right spots and the coffee gave me a buzzing feeling.
As a massive fan of anything aubergine, for my starter, I went straight in for the grilled aubergine, which was rolled around a delicious, flavour-packed romesco. The romesco was deep in flavour and aubergine, being a very meaty vegetable, took in all the flavours making the dish extremely moreish. It was topped up with thin slices of apples which gave a nice tangy texture, toasted flake almonds and sprigs of coriander.
Ever since our trip to Portugal in the summer, my husband has been hooked on sardines and he couldn’t wait to tuck into his grilled sardines. Topped with green chilli, parsley and garlic, the sardines went down a treat. They were nicely cooked and the flavours packed a punch.
With the starters all polished off, we got a glass of wine each to pair with our mains. I went for a fruity white wine as it paired nicely with my main – a chilli and garlic-glazed chicken topped with spring onion and sesame. The chicken was beautifully cooked – moist and still juicy. The skin was crispy and the glaze really lifted the dish to the next level. Absolutely delicious! And a fairly big portion at that!
My husband went for a mellow red wine to go with his Dedham Vale rib-eye steak. The steak was cooked to his preference – medium rare and was silky and melted in the mouth. Nori gave the dish a rich taste of umami and the confit garlic mayo was a great accompaniment for the chips.
We were spoiled for choice with the sides. Wesley, the restaurant manager, brought us some sides to try. First up was my go-to side – crispy sweet potato chips. My husband also got some crispy fries to go with his steak.
Our second side was a delicious and fresh salad that consisted of spiced chickpeas, flavoursome broad beans with crumbled feta cheese and fresh mint on top. This went amazingly well with my chicken.
Next up, were the heirloom tomatoes, which were colourful, rich and sweet, sprinkled with crushed pine nuts giving the dish that lovely crunchy texture.
Our final side was a moreish raw fennel which was thinly sliced to give a crispy texture. The salad contained green leaves and had a pleasant vinaigrette, giving additional sweetness to the fennel.
Our mains were extremely tasty. We were stuffed to the brim but had enough space to try out the desserts. There is always room for dessert. Always.
I went for the fig tart. Oh my, I wasn’t disappointed. On a flaky, crispy tart, sat some juicy figs that were topped off with some vanilla ice cream. Every mouthful was a joy and the almond flakes brought a nice crunch to the dish.
Being a lover of steamed puds, my husband went straight in for the warm date and walnut cake, which was sweet, creamy and rich. It came with some stem ginger ice cream which took away some of the sweetness of the cake. A must for all steamed pud fans!
To top off the night, we had a small glass of Tokaji – a Hungarian dessert wine, which was so good, I even drank my husband’s one.
I’m so glad I found The Trafalgar Dining Rooms. If you are after a relaxed atmosphere, looking for refined and delicious food and a place serving good cocktails, then get The Trafalgar Dining Rooms on your list!
The Trafalgar Dining Rooms
2 Spring Gardens, Trafalgar Square, London, SW1A 2TS