I had wanted to try Trishna for a while with its focus on south west Indian food. It's a difficult restaurant to review as it just seems to lack something. Harters touches on this sometimes in his reviews and Nick Lander has written a whole book about the Art of the Restaurateur. Essentially nothing about the decor, service or anything else in Trishna makes you comfortable, or provides the best environment for you to enjoy your meal. Tables are too small with plates sometimes ending up on the floor because there is nowhere to put them. A table of 4 was brought 3 poppadoms. A handful of other small service errors that made the evening staccatoed. If you're going to practise topping up then you have to get it right, few things more annoying (in a first world restaurant problems way) than having an empty wine glass and staring at your half full wine bottle on the other side of the room.
Then the food arrives and it is incredible. Fish Tikka with raita and Scallops with puffed rice starters were flawlessly cooked and perfectly spiced with the black pepper coming through particularly strongly in the former with tumeric as well. Other starters such as Keralan Fish Fry went down well (although I didn't try).
For mains the guinea fowl tikka with star anise comes on a bed of masoor lentils and was incredibly tender and really well spiced with some fennel as well. The lentils were quite bland, intentionally I imagine as they contrasted very nicely. Seasonal Tandoori Grouse came as a leg, kebab and samosa and the gameyness competed with the fairly subtle spicing but the overall result was superb.
So a difficult restaurant to quantify, probably the best and most elegant Indian food I've eaten in London and easy to recommend to hardcore hounds but certainly not the best restaurant experience and so it really depends on your priorities in a meal.
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