Very good to Excellent (89-92)
Above average to Good (86-88)
Below Average to Average (80-85)
Avoid (below 80)
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In October 2012 Trishna in Marylebone, London was awarded a Michelin star. The restaurant, opened in 2008, is the sister restaurant of the world-renowned Trishna in Mumbai. Trishna is run by brother and sister team Karam (head chef) and Sunaina (front of house/sommelier) Sethi. Karam Sethi started his career at the Maurya Sheraton School of Hotel Management in New Delhi and has since worked since then in the kitchens of Bukhara restaurant in New Delhi, Trishna in Mumbai and Zuma in Knightsbridge, London.
Trishna is open daily for lunch and dinner. The restaurant offers an a la carte menu, a set lunch menu (4 courses £26, 5 courses £32), a 'Lunch Bites Menu' (2 dishes £17.50, 3 dishes £22.50, 4 dishes £27.50, 5 dishes £32.50), an 'Early Evening Menu' (4 courses £20) and two 'Koliwada' tasting menus (5 courses £40, 7 courses £55). I had lunch at Trishna on Sunday 3 February 2013 and ordered the 7 course tasting menu.
First some spicy papadums arrived, accompanied by a lovely, homemade, fresh and sweet mango chutney speckled with nigella seeds and a nice and sharp spicy shrimp chutney made with semi-dried shrimps.
Next the first course of the tasting menu: Potato Chat. A fantastic mixture of flavoursome potatoes, chickpeas and shallots with a lovely sweet and fresh tamarind chutney spooned over, a drizzle of sweet yoghurt and topped with some fried chickpea flour and chopped coriander. A delightful dish with a wonderful build-up of flavours and well-balanced sweetness and heat. Nice freshness and acidity from the yoghurt. Great textures too.
Second course; Chargrilled wild tiger prawn. A large tiger prawn marinated in English mustard, green chilli and garlic. Intense heat and sharpness from the mustard and chilli. Fortunately the prawn was just large and sweet enough to take on such a powerful marinade.
Third course; Fish Tikka. An excellent piece of moist wild seabass with a topping of crushed black pepper, lemon and turmeric, the latter providing a nice yellow colour. With the seabass came a lovely refreshing dill raita. The texture of the black pepper was coarse and this made for a quite dominant and overpowering element in this otherwise good dish.
Fourth course was Duck seekh kebab. A moreish, soft and juicy duck kebab served with a fresh sweet chutney which had a wonderful hint of cinnamon and cloves. The kebab was made with a mixture of duck meat, green chillies, ginger, garlic, red chillies and coriander seeds; the chillies adding both heat and fruityness and a nice burning sensation in the aftertaste.
On to the fifth course: Guinea fowl Tikka. Well-cooked guinea fowl marinated in star anise, fennel and red chilli served with a wonderful salad of lentils, tomato, shallot and coriander. This fresh and crunchy salad provided a nice counterpoint for the spicy guinea fowl.
Sixth course: South Indian Coast Lamb Curry. A rich but elegant curry (made with coastal spices such as cardamom, Pakistani chilli, star anise, cumin and cinnamon) with tender pieces of lamb. The curry was accompanied by spicy potatoes (coated in mustard seeds, coriander seeds and chilli), delicious spinach and corn, Basmati rice and two types of naan bread.
Seventh and last course was Mewa Mawa Samosa and Cardamom Kheer (Indian rice pudding). The tasting menu offers two options for dessert and we had both to share. First the samosas, two crunchy samosas with a lovely spiced dry fruit and nut filling served with a lovely fresh and creamy Chai ice cream. Followed by the Kheer, a gorgeous creamy fig, raisin, pistachio and cardamom rice pudding which had a wonderful silky consistency. Two lovely desserts that were perfectly executed.
Before our coffees we were served two small sorbet cones, one with blood orange and star anise and the other one with chocolate and chilli. Both sorbets were well-made and had intense fresh flavours.
The food at Trishna London is colourful, authentic and hearty. As one would expect from coastal Indian cuisine, the flavours are bold and the levels of spiciness and heat considerable. Trishna's is a flavoursome, robust cuisine in which certain dishes are somewhat more refined, but generally speaking the flavours focus on power rather than subtlety or intricacy. The spices and chillies often challenge the palate, rather than comfort it. They didn't always leave much breathing space for more delicate flavours, sometimes even those from the main ingredient. You shouldn't blame a restaurant however for being successful at what it is trying to achieve and Trishna certainly delivers in that respect. I was particularly taken with the desserts. Service too was excellent: knowledgeable, informative and friendly and one can't fault the quality-price ratio either. Trishna is clearly among the Indian restaurants of choice in London.