15 -17 Blandford Street,
Trishna’s head chef Ravi Deulkar (previously of Rasoi), has brought a sophisticated and utterly delectable menu to Marylebone Village, inspired by his extensive travels of the Indian coast. Fish and seafood are the obvious focus at Trishna and the minimalist interior echoes the clean and fresh flavours of the dishes. A combination of white-washed brickwork, grey walls and dark oak creates a faint seaside feel and the low hanging chrome lamps help to create an intimate and cosy dining experience.
On the Wednesday evening that we visited, the place was fairly packed and buzzing with groups of friends and couples sharing plates of food and drinking from the broad and inspiring wine list. Every dish on the menu sounded mouth-watering and was notably paired with a wine, lager or ale. It took us a good while to whittle down our choices and even after ordering, I annoyed my friend by repeatedly saying things like ‘oh but maybe we should have got the lamb chops instead’ and ‘oh, have we made a mistake by not ordering the tasting menu?’ (which by the way is a steal at £32.50 for 7 courses). Fortunately I wasn’t to be disappointed with the dishes that arrived on our table in a steady stream.
Firstly to summon our taste buds, came a basket of perfectly crisp poppadoms, a sweet mango chutney and a more savoury and tangy tomato chutney, laden with tiny moreish shrimps. Then came a plate of mixed vegetable pakoras; potato and spinach, fiery green chilli and onion. Each one had the noted crunch and desired minimum grease, offset by a cooling herb and tamarind chutney. Next, we had two butter-flied wild tiger prawns. They were mushy and flavoursome with a tasty suggestion of char, mustard and dill. The last of our starters were four small sumptuous parcels of roasted aubergine stuffed with panneer, tamarind and peanuts. The sweet tart and salty ingredients came together in the mouth for an explosive taste sensation. Even now when I think back to those aubergine parcels, my mouth salivates.
Our waiter had suggested a glass of Planeta Rosé from Sicily which was light and refreshing – a perfect accompaniment to the food. For our main course, we chose the market fish curry and the Dum lamb curry. The fish of the day was grey mullet, which arrived as a respectable portion, perfectly cooked and blanketed in a slightly piquant coconut masala. It was a pleasant dish to eat, but the spices and flavours were not as distinguishable as they were in the Dum lamb curry. It sported tender chunks of lamb, covered in the most glorious orchestration of garam masala, ginger and garlic. The curry had a deep and satisfying depth to it, obliging us to scoop up as much of it as possible with our mini fresh naan breads.
I’m always curious to see the sweet offerings of Indian restaurants and so keenly ordered the mango rice pudding and poached pear with saffron and pistachio ice cream. The rice pudding came with a puree of honey-like alphonso mango, chilli and pistachio. A spot-on combination of flavours, but the runny texture let it down. On the other hand the poached pear, drizzled with the most heavenly and ingenious star anise and fennel syrup was one of the best desserts I have had this year. I long for the day when licking your plate clean is deemed acceptable behaviour.
Trishna is certainly not your average Indian restaurant. It’s a good deal better. Go now before they take the poached pear dessert off the menu.
**Trishna: **15 -17 Blandford Street, Marylebone Village, London, W1U 3DG. Tel: 0207 935 5624. http://www.trishnalondon.com/.
**Reviewer:** Leila Sarraf