Lunch at Trishna yesterday was the most satisfying Indian meal I'd had in London. What we had:
- Dal Chawal Achar (yellow lentil & rice dumpling, yoghurt, papad, pickle) - average-tasting by continental Indian standards, but deliciously spicy (as we'd requested) here.
- Kolhapuri Jheenga (shrimp, ginger, smoked chilli chutney) - this was okay, and bit bland-ish and the prawn texture wasn't bouncy-fresh. I'd had fresher (sweeter-tasting) prawns even in land-locked Kazakhstan in Central Asia last month.
- Aloo Papdi Chat (potato, masala chickpea, tamarind, sweet yoghurt) - a Mumbai street food elevated to served in a proper restaurant here in the UK. Competently turned out - the sweetness (of the yoghurt) and tartness (from the tamarind) have been dialled down significantly to suit the British palate.
- Ajwaini Salmon Tikka (carom seed, dill raita): superb rendition, the just-cooked salmon was moist-pink inside. Perfect.
- Paneer Tikka (fenugreek leaf, corn & green mango chat): nice, smoky flavours and pretty well-executed here.
- Gilafi Duck Seekh Kebab (green chilli, onion, spiced pineapple chutney): One of the best kebabs I'd ever tasted in London. For any better here, you'd need to traipse over to Lahori Nihari (with a dodgier neighborhood and altogether different ambience).
- Mushroom Biryani (basmati rice, wild mushrooms, pink peppercorn raita): I'd always wondered how Indian chefs even conceive of the conceot of vegetarian biryani - my idea of a biryani is rice scented by *meat*-based curries, and where Hyderabadi lamb or chicken biryanis set the benchmark whereby all other regional versions are measured against. But the vegetarian rendition here at Trishna was pretty good, with tasty fresh mushrooms, with the raita a perfect accompaniment.
- Kerala Jheenga Curry (Keralan spices, tiger prawns, drumstick vegetable): This is, by far, the best dish of the afternoon, and every bit as tasty as the seafood curries one taste in Kerala, India (and not in self-labelled Keralan eateries in London, e.g. Quilon).
Sides: Aloo Hara Pyaz, Hyderababadi Dal, Beetroot Poriyal, Bread Basket & Basmati Rice - none of the sides stood out. The dal was tasteless, and the beetroot (my fave vegetable) was shockingly bland and dry-ish). I stuck to the basmati rice - good quality grains used here.
- Raspberry Kulfi Falooda (vermicelli, fresh raspberries, rabri, kulfi): Loved the tartness from the berries. The kulfi was powdery and lacked the richness and sweetness I'd come to expect from this dessert. Too much falooda (vermicelli) here. instead of the dairy products.
- Cardamom Kheer (fig, raisin, pistachio, cardamom): better option than the falooda dessert. Generous sprinkling of finely-chopped pistachios provided a nice textural contrast to the creamy kheer.
Great, exemplary service all round from start to finish, and I like the bright, simply-furnished dining rooms. Whilst the food and ambience don't attempt to scale the heights of sophistication or culinary excellence in top dining spots in India, Trishna, IMHO, does a better job than its other (Michelin-starred) London counterparts I'd tried.
P.S. - Trishna is not related to its famous namesake in Mumbai.
15-17 Blandford Street
London W1U 3DG
Tel: +44 20 7935 5624