Opening a new restaurant in London is no easy feat, but it’s definitely easier when you’ve got an innovative angle, and Trawler Trash does just that. The Angel-based fish restaurant uses only ‘unpopular’ produce – the so called trash of the ocean. The result? Some of the best dishes we’ve ever tasted. The Idle Man went down to Upper Street to see what they’re about.
Being in the middle of such a fast paced city, it can feel like you’re a million miles away from the sea, and the thought of frozen, transported, 3-day-old fish can be less than appealing. But at Trawler Trash, it’s a completely different story. The restaurant on Upper Street in Angel has absolutely no freezers, and only uses produce that comes in fresh on the day – that means that the restaurant is even closed on Mondays, as that is the day of rest for trawler men.
But that isn’t the only unusual factor at Trawler Trash. The front of the restaurant is actually very unassuming, with an open kitchen counter visible through the bay window. As you walk in, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled across one of those overpriced, posh chippies that seem to be taking over the area. But the intuitively placed kitchen all makes sense when we’re told that the restaurant was actually indeed the former fish and chip shop, Seafish. While we waited to be seated, we watched the chefs working away, but there’s definitely no sign of chips being shovelled into a paper cone here.
But look past the kitchen and you’re met with one of the most aesthetically pleasing restaurants we’ve ever been in. The lighting is low, with sky lights mid way through the 50 seater restaurant glinting off the marble tables. Moody exposed brick work are contrasted by the industrial metal features, very much reminiscent of the fish markets and trawlers that Trawler Trash aims to celebrate.
We’re seated by a more than accommodating waiter, who really knows his stuff about the menu, explaining that the fish on the menu is all produce that is usually rejected by mainstream restaurants, making them super sustainable in the industry and allowing for tweaks to the menu dependant on the latest catch. We’re recommended a very grown up pickle martini and deliciously refreshing rhubarb and custard cocktail which we sip with a bowl of complimentary crispy tempura seaweed.
Then things got really impressive. First came an Asian-style sea trout and whreck fish (don’t worry, we’re not sure either) ceviche alongside the most tender charred octopus and pancetta cray fish salad. We also treated ourselves to the reasonably priced selection of fresh Jersey oysters, drizzled with Trawler Trash’s house dressing – it would be rude not to, right?
After we had polished the small plates off, we moved onto the main attractions. The ‘trash pie’ was anything but what the name suggests, and is as far removed from as possible from something that your mum might whip up on a week night. We also sampled one of the prettiest plates of food we’ve ever seen – the pan roasted ling (again, we’re still not sure) came scattered with purple cauliflower and oyster mushrooms, drizzled with a bacon and lentil vinaigrette.
It might all sound a little pretentious, but the laid back vibes and chilled out staff at Trawler Trash make the restaurant totally accessible to firm fans of fish and those wanting to try something a bit different. And for such high quality dishes cooked to perfection, the prices on the menu are surprisingly reasonable. Small plates are around £6 to £10, with mains slightly more expensive, but justified with more than generous portions.
What To Wear
There isn’t a dress code at all in Trawler Trash, and the chilled vibes of the restaurant mean you can roll in off Upper Street in practically anything. But while Trawler Trash is in no way pretentious, the restaurant is pretty swanky, so you might feel a bit under dressed in a simple T-shirt and jeans combo. Smarten up slightly and go for a fresh shirt, but keep it laid-back and cool by wearing it with a pair of workwear trousers and Dr Martens.