Sometimes, days can feel like you are trudging through sand. The day just keeps coming at you, engulfing you, filling every gap you manage to clear. And against this onslaught, all you can muster is a slow, lethargic march, dragging every limb behind you, your energy waning with every move. Your eyes, however, are unbendingly fixed on one goal, with your pupils emitting an unbreakable beam of intention. The focus point? Bed.
It was thus with a barbaric groan that I received a last minute invitation to dine with a friend earlier this week. Normally, given my extreme fatigue, I would have categorically said: “No way, not in a million years, I’d rather eat my own feet.” But typically on the day I needed rest, my friend had some sort of emotional crisis and for me to abstain from assisting, would, in comparison, have made Hitler seem like a charitable sort of bloke.
So I dutifully heaved my way along Blandford Street to Trishna, where we had agreed to meet. Thankfully, it was not the intense setting I had expected. The interior is in fact invitingly relaxed; its minimalistic, elegant edges softened with rusticity. Exposed brick walls nestle against a pale oak floor with a soft and alluring palate of cream and blue running throughout. In the heart of Marylebone, Trishna offers a chic but informal destination for locals needing to unwind over a glass of wine and delicious Indian cuisine.
But Trishna aint no curry house. Nor is it an Indian restaurant that, as many now do, serves haute Indian cuisine that is as complex as it is exquisite. Instead, it sits amongst very few (but noteworthy) others that are sophisticated and delicious but charmingly modest and relaxed. (Not, incidentally, that Trishna is without its credentials: it is sister to award-winning Trishna Mumbai and has Head Chef, Karam Sethi at the helm, who has previously worked at Bukhara in Delhi - a regular on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Trishna Mumbai and Zuma London.)
The menu is made up of sharing plates that blend the traditional coastal cuisine of South West India, with Sethi’s modern approach and British seasonal ingredients. The resulting dishes are packed with interesting flavours but are delicate, undemanding and hugely appealing in their display.
The first dish out was crispy squid served with fennel, chilli and lime (£7.75) that had a satisfying kick that this overly-popular dish often lacks. Trishna’s take on fish, chips and peas (£9) brought light fish to the table with a crisp-cum-chip accompaniment that gave a wonderful crunch. The bream that was served with green chilli, coriander and tomato kachumber (£13) stole the show for me with fully flavoured fish flesh with a finish that didn’t overstay its welcome. And the last plate to be wiped clean had been home to a wonderfully tender guinea fowl Tikka with fennel seed, star anise and masoor lentils (£11). It was easy to see why Trishna was awarded a Bib Gourmand (a Michelin award to restaurants that deliver on quality and value).
Resisting (not always successfully) to lean heavily on my elbows, my friend and I managed to feast our way through her crisis without over-indulging or leaving looking like Buddha. I only fell at the last hurdle when she asked if I would be walking with her to the tube. No chance. I needed a taxi outside, equipped with my home address, before I even contemplated lifting my tired self from my chair.
Trishna is a contemporary and relaxed Indian restaurant in the heart of Marylebone. Awarded a Bib Gourmand, Trishna serves delicious, high quality dishes (that are great to share) at affordable prices, in an informal but atmospheric setting. As well as an a la carte menu, Trishna offers a Koliwada Tasting menu (from 5 courses for £35.50) and a set lunch and early supper menu available Monday to Sunday, with a choice of 2 to 5 courses from £15. The restaurant’s doors, in warmer weather, open up onto Blandford Street, with alfresco seating for up to 10. There is also a private dining room for up to 12 guests. Trishna is open Monday to Saturday for lunch from 12pm-2.45pm and dinner from 6pm - 10.45pm, and on Sunday for lunch from 12pm - 3.15pm and dinner from 6.30pm - 9.45pm.
TRISHNA’S DIWALI TASTING MENU IS AVAILABLE FROM 17th – 26rd OCTOBER 2011
15 -17 Blandford Street, London W1U 3DG
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