I’ve been meaning to share this review a while back, but I’ve just been so busy! Hubby and I recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary, and we decided to mark the occasion with a fancy meal.
Having sampled the delights of Benares (see review here), we decided to go for another Michelin starred Indian dining experience. We really liked the idea of a taster menu, as it makes us sit and savour the dining experience, rather than rushing our meal and giving ourselves indigestion in the process.
However, most taster menus often set you back around £100 per head just for the food, which seemed a tad much for lunch.
So a happy medium was found in the form of Trishna, which offered a lunch bites menu, where you could enjoy, three to five courses each from a set menu. It was the concept of a taster, which involved sampling a variety of smaller, different dishes over a stretched out period of time, without the eye-watering price tag.
As it was a bit of a treat, and hubby and I have serious eyes-bigger-than-belly syndrome, we went the whole hog and ordered five courses each.
The halal options at Trishna restaurant
Now an important thing to note is that not everything was halal. The lamb and chicken was fine, but we had to avoid the partridge pepper fry, and we asked for the seafood salad without the Goan sausage.
But before I delve into the food itself, a note about the restaurant setting. Now as it was a special occasion, we did want the fine dining experience. And on first impressions, I wasn’t sure if I’d get it. I say this because compared to Benares, Baku London and other swanky restaurants, Trishna lacked the wow factor.
The restaurant, which was situated in Bloomsbury, looked rather modest, with simple wooden seating and decor that wouldn’t look out of place in a country hotel. We were also seated near the door, and with a wedding party constantly coming in and out, it wasn’t much of an intimate dinner.
However, the staff more than made up for this with their attentive nature. They apologised for any noise, explained every dish and essentially made sure we were really looked after.
Before long the decor was a non-issue and we felt very much like we were at a fancy Indian restaurant.
So onto the food, we opted for three starters, two desserts, and a staggering five mains! Yes it was far too much and we were stuffed, but being lunch ‘bites’ we assumed the portions would be bite size. And while they were perhaps smaller than a la carte proportions, there was still a lot of food.
Trishna restaurant review – what we had…
The poppadams were delicious, with both plain and spicy, as well as cumin infused options. The accompanying chutney has the right spice to it, and had the high quality and taste of Benares’ offering. However I was less keen on their experimental prawn infused chutney, it was a bit too fishy for my liking. My husband on the other hand, loved it.
Our starters arrived at once, and all three looked equally intriguing.
Lentil and rice dumpling
The lentil and rice dumpling was a tasty home style starter with an extra twist with it’s rolled poppadams and chutney.
The haryal bream fish with green chutney was another tasty dish, though the chutney may be too strong for some palettes.
But my favourite of the starters was definitely the seafood salad. I’ve never expressed an interested in squid, but when deep fried and crispy and shared with sea bass, It’s a tasty, if not slightly greasy, treat. Trying the samphire was a new experience, it’s essentially a fine green veg which tastes similar to asparagus, adding a crunch to the dish.
While we paced ourselves with the starters, the mains which all arrived once, showed no mercy to expanding our waistlines.
From the lemon chicken to the wild mushroom and truffle biriyani, everything was Indian with a twist. The seafood biryani was a little bit too fishy for my palette, but the rich, flavoured daal and lamb curry were spot on.
Another note on the biryanis was that they were a little to oily, and given the nature of how they were served – in a small deep ramekin – the oil settled itself at the bottom of the dish, making the last few spoonfuls too greasy to eat. So the plain basmati rice which accompanied was a welcome antidote.
Kerala Jeenga curry
The Kerala Jeenga curry with king prawns was my favourite of the dishes, as it had a creamy, almost Thai flavour to it and it balanced out the spices of other dishes.
Alongside our courses we were given a bread basket of naan and a portion of plain rice, as well as the daal and some curried potato. I wasn’t such a fan of the potato as it tasted reheated rather than fresh. However the daal made up for it and was the perfect dish to mop up with the naan.
Stuffed beyond reason, we did our best to finish our mains but there was a fair bit leftover. And Trishna restaurant just isn’t the type of establishment where you could ask for a doggy bag.
So feeling nauseous, our desserts arrived. Strawberry kulfi falooda and ras malai with a cherry sauce. Again, desi with a twist. The desserts were nice. but the real surprise was when we were presented with a beautiful cake with ‘happy anniversary’ written in chocolate sauce. It was a real treat. while I don’t like dark chocolate, it really didn’t matter. The sentiment was lovely and made us feel quite spoiled.
So in a nutshell, I would definitely recommend Trishna’s lunch bites for a special occasion or even a pay day treat. But next time I would opt for just three or four courses, five was just being far too greedy.
Trishna restaurant review in a nutshell
Cost– with VAT, the five course lunch bites for two came to around £80 without drinks.
Halal – chicken and lamb were halal. Some non-halal items served. Not really enough options on the lunch bites menu for veggies.
Great if… you want a variety of unique, flavourful dishes using specialist ingredients.
Not so great if… you’re more of a cheap n cheerful all you can eat. curry house kinda person. Also not so great if you want a decadent dining Indian experience. For that, hop over to Mayfair and get a table at Benares.