Trishna – Restaurant Review
Whenever my father comes to London, we always embark on a culinary journey that is definitely calorie packed, belt burstlingly filling, and always delicious. His passion for food (if possible) even exceeds my own. One of his all-time favourites is Indian, so it was no surprise that for his birthday meal he gave me three Indian restaurant options to choose from – from these three I simply narrowed it down by the menus. The winning selection for the variety and good old favourites on offer was Trishna (it was seeing a delicious looking paneer starter that sold me).
Situated on a gorgeous street in the lovely area of Marylebone, I wasn’t surprised to discover this up-class eatery had been awarded a Michelin-Star. I usually shy away from very fancy Indian food due to the fact I either find: 1) the servings too small for my liking and/or very seafood biased or
2) the food is delicious but very homely… similar to dishes I make myself at home, so what’s the real point of forking out for it? So, I awaited the usual comments from me of ‘It’s nice, but I can make this at home’ and was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case for the majority of the food.
The restaurant itself was very unusual for an Indian restaurant. No bright colours or pictures. I would define the decor more as a fine-dining Italian, definitely not an Indian. Very original and I actually think it worked very well. It was busy, so definitely book ahead, and I was pleased to see children (well-behaved ones albeit) sitting across the room eating and enjoying this type of cuisine. It is very refreshing to see and obviously a credit to the chefs that even the pickiest of eaters (ie kids!) were enjoying their meals.
With five of us dining, it was an excellent opportunity to sample a vast majority of the dishes on the menu as we all tried to chose different starters, mains and deserts and do, to quote my father, ‘swopseys’.
I opted for the Paneer Tikka my all-time favourite dish. A passion which I discovered when vegetarian in India, it is now a selection I go for regardless of the fact that I love meat. This variation was served with a topping of delicious tikka marinade and counter-balanced by the sweetness of the coriander and sweetcorn. My dish was liked by all around the table (even those that didn’t usually opt for paneer). The cheese was perfect, soft yet firm with a creamy and flavoursome taste.
Other starters around the table consisted of the Aubergine Chat, a vegetable I usually shy away from, the Koliwada Shrimp, the special due to the season, Tandoor Cooked Grouse and the Fish Pepper Fry,
I sampled a little of each, but I have to say the winning dish was the Aubergine Chat. I can’t usually stand aubergine but this was delicious and didn’t taste a thing like the Aubergine I know and despise. Deep fried little bits of goodness with lots of indian spices and seasoning, the dish reminded me of behl puri (although in comparison, having upgraded itself from the street-carts of Mumbai to a penthouse over looking Times Square in New York). Every spoon of the dish had a million different flavours and was quite simply, the best starter dish. Even the meat eaters voted this as their favourite.
The grouse, fish and shrimp were excellent dishes too, fresh, full of taste and simply delicious; all a nice option choice for those that simply refuse to go vego.
For the main, I went for the South Indian Lamb Curry… and so glad I did. It wasn’t what I expected at all. It was in a tomatoey and coconut sauce and so tender I just couldn’t stop eating it – to date it is the best lamb curry I have ever eaten. A delicate amount of heat, I would say a good curry for those who like a bit of temperature but scared of a Vindaloo. The creaminess of the coconut masked a lot of the heat-factor, so it was fabulous that you still had all of the spice, but without losing the roof of your mouth in the process.
Another meat-based dish around the table was the Tandoori Baby Chicken served with a delicious coriander chutney and what I think would be a good starter dish for children. Beautifully cooked and delicious, not too many over-whelming flavours so would suit those that might usually fear Indian cuisine.
This was to be my other menu choice if I hadn’t opted for the lamb, but I would say the lamb definitely gets my vote this time around. I suppose it all depends on whether you usually prefer a dry Indian curry with a side helping of daal and bread, or if you, like me, love a delicious thick sauce and a heap of fluffy basmati to scrape up every last drop of said sauce!
There was a fish dish also selected from the menu, however my memory fails me and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was (the online menu doesn’t necessarily change with the seasonality found in the restaurant menu). I didn’t try the dish, but the recipient of it told me that it was a beautiful dish, delicate flavours and the fish fresh as it comes. From the image you can see that it was definitely an interesting plate of colours, textures and flavours – I am a bit sad that I was such a greedy lamb gannet, I would have liked to have tried it but was simply just too full by this point after all of the other dishes too.
Our Indian guest went for the veg option of Hyderabadi Dal and Okra – he loves his homely comforts, but for me this is the thing I mentioned before about never usually opting for high-quality Indian restaurants due to them being too similar to my own cooking. This was an example of that situation. He was perfectly happy with his food, and don’t get me wrong, it was very tasty. But for me, too simple and to close-to-home cuisine. For others who perhaps aren’t as into their Indian cooking, it would probably have been a perfect and hearty dish.
We ordered everything with a side of basmati rice and the bread basket of the day. The breads were delicious and I definitely vote for that cheese naan again! Amazing.
Now, by this point I was extremely full due to the fact I am definitely not one of these people that remembers to stop when 75% full (which is I believe is the skinny person’s rule). I would rather eat until burst level and then see just how much more I can squeeze in. This in mind, I was more than up for desert. However, I did opt to share mine with my sister-in-law and we (really meaning the sister-in-law) decided to go for the healthier option of fruit – yes as you can imagine I was very upset at this point.
This being said, it was not at all like a normal fruit salad. This was the Seasonal Fruit Chat, served with jelly, honeycomb and sponge – I would more describe it as a fruit masterpiece! One of the most refreshing and satisfying puddings I have eaten, plus the added value of being deemed a ‘healthier’ alternative and a lot lighter.
Another desert option taken was the Cardamom Kheer (best described as an Indian rice pudding). I general don’t like Kheer that much. This one was okay, but I feel a bit cheated when my rice pudding doesn’t come out of the oven piping hot and according to my mother’s recipe of crusty skin glazed with brown sugar on the top. My father loved it and ate every scrap. If you like cardamom and cream, it’s the pudding for you. Not my idea of heaven however.
The final pudding ordered was the Chocolate Mousse Cake and this in one word was – fantastic. My favourite pudding by far. Rich and melt-in-the-mouth smooth, perfectly created to make me very jealous of the fact that I was still in realty, no matter how nice, eating fruit over chocolate. If I were to return to Trishna I would be ordering this…and not to share either!
And so I can hear you asking… great food, location to match, London… give us the bad news, what’s the cost? I am pleased to say that one of the nicest surprises by far at Trishna was the bill. Five of us eating and three-courses each (minus one pudding at the end) with a couple of beers and water for the table thrown in, it came to around £220. I am not disputing £200+ is a lot of cash to splash out, but for such high-quality food and for three-courses, the per head price is relatively low compared with some other Michelin-Star Indian establishments I have been to in the past. They also do various number of lunchtime and dinner time sample menus which offer great value – smiles all round!
My overall experience at Trishna for food, service, décor and ambiance, ranks the restaurant with a 9/10 and I would highly recommend to anyone looking fine-dining in the city.
To visit the website, please click here
15 -17 Blandford Street
For reservations/restaurant bookings, please contact Trishna on +44 (0) 20 7935 5624