Trivet head sommelier wins Michelin Guide Sommelier Award 2022

Isa Bal, head sommelier of Bermondsey restaurant Trivet, has been revealed as the recipient of the Michelin Guide Great Britain & Ireland’s prestigious Sommelier Award 2022.

Co-owned by Bal and fellow Fat Duck alumnus Jonny Lake, Trivet opened in November 2019. It is the first solo restaurant from the duo, with the relationship between food and wine forming the core of its ethos.

Michelin said that the award was given to Bal for his “fascinating wine list and his passionate approach, particularly to lesser-known regions”.

“I am so enormously grateful to receive this award, and hugely proud of the entire team too,” said Bal. “Wine is at the heart of everything we do here at Trivet, from dish development to guest experience, so to have that recognised and celebrated by Michelin is truly wonderful.”

At the restaurant, Jonny and Isa bring a relaxed approach to quality dining, firmly based on knowledge and experience, where guests are encouraged to have fun and explore expertly created food and drink combinations.

Bal’s wine list is set out chronologically and follows the historic beginnings of wine to the present day, with over 450 wines ranging from classic producing countries such as Italy and France to the root of viti-viniculture with wines from Georgia, Armenia and Turkey.

All the wines have been selected by Master Sommelier Isa, and include bottles produced using both natural and conventional methods. The wine list sits alongside an extensive saké selection for creative food pairing, as well as a concise list of cocktails ready to be enjoyed as apéritifs at Trivet’s standalone bar.

Bal began his career in the hospitality industry more than twenty years ago as a commis sommelier at The Vineyard at Stockcross near Newbury. He is now recognised as one of the world’s leading sommeliers, having previously won the highly regarded title of Best Sommelier of Europe in 2008.

As Head Sommelier for The Fat Duck Group for more than twelve years, Isa liked to work closely with the kitchen team to help create inventive and exciting food and drink combinations. Isa passed his Master Sommelier exams in 2009 and is a respected member of the international sommelier community.

From the very beginning of the creative process, Jonny and Isa think about how food and drink work together. They take a simple idea and then explore countless flavour and texture combinations with the team at Trivet until it evolves into something new.

The menu features their explorations of ingredients, dishes and drinks from regions around the world, inspired by the extraordinary culinary history and international diversity around us. Signature dishes include ‘Drunk Lobster’ with Trivet noodles and the ‘Hokkaido Potato’ with baked potato mille-feuille, saké and white chocolate mousse, butter and saké gelato.

The restaurant’s name, Trivet, derives from the age-old cooking utensil, an iron tripod placed over fire for a cooking pot or kettle to stand on which is used across almost every cooking culture around the world.

It was chosen as its three legs reflect the relationship between kitchen, cellar and bar. The trivet also represents the warmth and balance which forms part of Jonny Lake and Isa Bal’s values for the restaurant and their working relationship.