Indian cuisine has a bad reputation in Britain, a direct result of its own success. The popularity of bad Indian takeaways means that the perception of Indian food to most is only limited to a korma, vindaloo or the ever popular tikka marsala. However, it is a joy to discover that there is much more to this than the mediocre greasy and dried pieces of curry drenched meat. And to banish all this misguided perception is Trishna.
I first heard of Trishna while dining next door in Roganic. A couple of diners came in hoping for a table were sadly turned away but not before they were kindly directed to Trishna by the restaurant manager of Roganic who was singing praises of their food. This has not gone unnoticed and I swiftly added this onto my ever growing must-go list. And then, upon hearing that they were awarded a Michelin star last September, gave me that little added nudge to bump them up the list.
The menu consisted of the five and seven course tasting menu, rather reasonably priced at £40 and £55 with optional wine pairing and a la carte. Although the tasting menu looked tempting, my dining companion and I decided to go for the a la carte menu instead. No sooner after the orders were taken, we were presented with some complimentary poppadoms, neatly folded into quarters nested in a straw basket and two options of chutney. The sweet mango was lovely but the spicy tomato was fantastically balanced with tanginess, sweetness and fieriness of equal measures.
The Quail pepper fry was aromatic and had a strong whiff of warm spices. The abundance of pepper gave it a tantalising kick which perks up the tastebud and made me wanting more. This was seriously good. I would happily have a big plate of this with a giant glass of ice water on the side to calm the heat. Potato chat too had a great mixture of texture and a well balance of spices. Much more reserved compared to the quail but just as delicious. Well, from what meagre portion that I got to taste, as my dining companion enjoyed this so much that it was all gone before I had a chance to dive in for a second spoonful.
QUAIL PEPPER FRY [keralen spices, black pepper, curry leaf] £7
POTATO CHAT [chickpeas, tamarind, sweet yoghurt, shallots, chilli] £6.25
Both the Malwani Jhinga curry and the South Indian Coast lamb curry were mildly spiced but still had that well balanced flavours that distinguished this from your usual curry house. The Naan bread baskets came with three delicious flavours, great accompaniment to mop up the creamy curry sauce. The basmati rice too, were light and fluffy and cooked to perfection. The okra were beautifully cooked and still have that lovely crunch. The grated coconut added a sweet juicy texture to the dish.
SOUTH INDIAN COAST LAMB CURRY [curry leaf, coastal spices, coconut] £18.75
OKRA [coconut, fennel seed, fenugreek seed] £7
BREAD BASKET OF THE DAY £5
The chocolate mousse and the Peshawari samosa puddings rounded off the fantastic meal beautifully. The chocolate mousse were rich but light, barred the useless smudge on the plate, I have nothing to complain about. The latter, were simply outstanding. The tiny grated coconut filled samosas were still warm and crispy from the fryer. The cooling lychee ice cream provided a fragrant and interesting contrast. A jolly good pudding that was.
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE [pista-cashew chikki, peanut jaggery Ice cream] £7.75
PESHAWARI SAMOSA [coconut, mango, almond, lychee ice cream] £7.50
On a whole, the amiable and attentive service made the whole evening very enjoyable. The meal too exceeded my expectations. The food were well executed and all spices in each dishes were pronounced which showed the masterful restraint of the chef. This is a fine Indian establishment and is well worthy of its Michelin star. Will I return? A resounding yes!