There aren’t too many higher end South Asian places outside London. Birmingham’s Lasan is our best comparision and Trishna’s food is certainly well up with it. It’s an unprepossessing exterior and so is the interior, which is a little cramped. You know, therefore, that the Michelin star has definitely been awarded for the food and not for any “fur coat and no knickers” glitz.
There’s a “taste of Trishna” Koliwada menu, offered at five or seven courses. So, that’ll be the seven, please. That may not have been our brightest decision as it really does add up to a lot of food. One we happily battled through. Man (and woman) v Food, if you will. And Food nearly won.
There a soft shell crab to start. Crisp & crunchy and lightly spiced. A white crab meat chutney was excellent – I’d have happily eaten a shed load of it.
Then a single tiger prawn given a hefty seeing-to from Indian mustard – similar to English mustard but with a bigger kick. A little puffed rice softened it a bit.
A fillet of bream was ever so slightly overcooked – the flesh just starting to get a bit mushy. It’s coated in a chilli and coriander sauce. It was a surprise that this was the hottest thing we would eat – the chilli pretty much knocking out the delicate flavour of the fish. It was a good idea to have the tomato kachumber, again, to soften things a little. But this was one of those dishes that leaves the lips tingling for minutes.
At this point, the menu offers a choice – guinea fowl tikka or tandoori lamb chop. That’ll be one of each, then. The guinea fowl sits on a little lentil salad and the meat is well flavoured with fennel seeds and star anise working well. The chop is excellent – moist tender meat, given a a baked on coating of chilli & ginger. I think it become the standard by which all South Asian lamb chops will be judged. Alongside, grated kasundi mooli.
There’s choice with the final savoury dish and, again, we each order something different. Andhra lamb massala may be one of the best bits of South Asian cooking I’ve eaten. In truth, not as memorable as a lamb dish at Moti Mahal a couple of years back, but certainly well up there as a contender. Caldine jheegha curry brought perfectly cooked tiger prawns in a lightly spiced, creamy sauce that fitted it perfectly. The mains come with rice , bread ( one nicely crisp roti and another, fluffier with poppy seeds, sag aloo and a daal (overly liquid for us).
Then onto dessert. There was a baked yoghurt mousse, flavoured with mango and decorated with strips of the fruit. It was light, fresh and, really, just what you needed to end the meal. The other plate, a carrot brulee was more interesting in its concept than in its eating , but it was all OK.
For the second time in two nights, there had been a minor mix-up with our reservation. “No, my reservation is not for 8.30, it’s for 7.45 as this email confirmation, erm, confirms.” A small issue and one with no effects as our table was still ready for us. Service was spot on with dishes arriving at a good pace. Not so quick that you feel rushed, but not so slow that you start finger tapping.