You know when you leave a restaurant and feel genuinely pleased by the service? And you have that sense of well-being after a night of fine food and company? Well that’s how I felt when I recently visited Tratra in Shoreditch, a French restaurant in Shoreditch. Tratra has just been opened by chef and best-selling food writer Stéphane Reynaud. The restaurant is his first outside of Paris and is located in the basement of the Boundary Hotel in Shoreditch.
The atmosphere is classy – with high ceilings, brick walls, red velvet upholstery and a demure vibe. There is a cosy feeling to the place but it feels chic at the same time. The food at Tratra is to be shared and this is the fun of the whole experience. There is something about sharing a meal with someone and both of you really enjoying it. It’s fun to share, after all!
The kitchen is open and you can see inside which I like – it’s kind of like another element of entertainment to watch the chefs study the orders when they come in. I also like the transparency of an open kitchen which says – we have nothing to hide – you are welcome to watch!
But first, drinks. I was very impressed with the knowledge of the menu by the staff, especially the somellier. He not only knew the wine list by heart but also could recommend with flair a number of dishes, citing the reasons he loved them with passion. We chose off of his recommendations and he was indeed not wrong – we were happy that we went with his choices. For wine I chose a bio-dynamic and organic wine – the Domaine du Grand Arc from France. It was quite delicious – medium in richness with a tarte aftertaste. I like to go for organic wines where possible as I find they don’t give me as much of a headache. I was happy to see several choices for organic or bio-dynamic wine on Tratra’s wine list.
So what’s on the menu you say? Well, charcuterie reigns supreme here – after all, Reynaud grew up in a family of pig farmers in the Ardèche region of France. Meat features heavily on the menu here but this also includes seafood so pescatarians welcome!
For a starter we had the charcuterie with a twist, the twist being rabbit chorizo. This was more than enough to share between 2-3 people and it comes with pickled mushrooms, pear and shallot chutney, cornichons and toasted sourdough. I must say that there is something about meat and pickles that just goes together so well – they are honestly a match made in heaven. The rabbit chorizo was much like a pate paste that you could spread onto the bread and pile high with pickles. Delicous.
To counteract the meat with something fresh and springy we went with the sommelier’s starter suggestion of a delicious salad – the Rouleaux de Printemps which were the most deliciously prepared salad spring rolls containing fresh spring vegetables with tomato, sweet chili, apple and pistachio sauce.
After the delicious starters we moved onto the mains with sharing in mind. On the recommendations of the staff we went for the Lotte – monkfish, celeriac puree and squid ink sauce and followed with the Poulet Noir – black-leg chicken, broad beans, peas and morel sauce.
The Poulet Noir was described as having a sauce that is just out of this world and it was indeed fabulous – creamy and rich. The monkfish had real heartiness to it as well and both dishes were so different from each other so it was nice to try them both for two totally different taste experiences. Everything at Tratra is artfully prepared and well-thought out in terms of tastes, textures and freshness. The combinations are also inventive – think squid ink with celeriac puree and you will see what I mean!
I can never leave a fabulous meal without a fabulous dessert and the dessert at Tratra also does not disappoint – especially if you order the Cœur Coulant au Caramel which is the baked salted caramel pudding with custard. This is all those things that you want in a dessert – soft, warm, delicious and comforting. It’s FANTASTIC! Gooey and with that perfect sweet/salty taste that sparks your tastebuds.
You can’t go wrong with chocolate either so we ordered Mikado – brik filo chocolate sticks with milk chocolate sauce. These were also warm with chocolate melting out from the inside. If you are a chocolate lover, these are a must!
For more information about Tratra see HERE.
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