Trishna offers a three course set lunch for £18, or a single course “express” lunch for £10 (one course and a drink). For those in less of a rush there was a seven course tasting menu for £44. The wine list was unusually extensive for an Indian restaurant, with a wide range of geographic coverage and price ranges. Examples included Painted Wolf Pinotage at £33 for a wine that you can buy in the shops for around £9, the wonderfully named Ten Minutes by Tractor Pinot Noir at £61 for a wine that retails at around £22, and Chateau Talbot 1995 priced at £179 compared to a retail price of about £67.
At a February 2012 meal, fish tikka was made from stone bass with a coating of pepper, and worked really well: the spicing was lively, the fish well cokked (4/10). Fish curry was pleasant though by contrast with the fish tikka, the spicing was a bit subdued (2/10). Okra was very good, with no hint of the sliminess that so often afflicts this dish in restaurants (4/10). Aloo gobi was had good texture but was a bit over-salted, even to my taste (3/10). The butter crab had too much butter in it for me (though still a fraction of the butter used in Mumbai Trishna). Service was very good indeed, with helpful and efficient staff even with a completely packed room. Trishna is definitely one of the more interesting Indian restaurants in London.
The notes below are from a 2011 meal.
Popadoms were crisp and accompanied by various home-made chutneys, which had good, distinct spicy taste (3/10). My potato chat was excellent, the chickpeas tender, the potato still having some texture rather than being mushy, the onion and chilli providing some sharpness and the sweet yoghurt and tamarind providing enough moistness for a dish than can easily be too dry – a really excellent chat (5/10). Seafood biriyani (sic) was nicely made, the rice texture good, the pieces of assorted seafood and fish tender (3/10). A yellow dhal was quite spicy though for me it could have been thicker (2/10) while assorted breads were reasonable (3/10).
It was nice to see an Indian restaurant making its own desserts, and carrot halwa was excellent, laced with pistachios (4/10) while a date creme brulee with honey ice cream was also well made (3/10). Service was rather sloppy in places, but all well-meaning enough. The bill at lunch per person was £30 a head, admittedly with lassi rather than alcohol. Overall some excellent food, a slightly better experience than my last (also good) meal here.
Below are my notes from a meal in November 2008.
Trishna is the sister restaurant of a well established seafood restaurant in Mumbai. The low-ceilinged dining room is simple, with wooden floor, no tablecloths, white painted exposed brick wall and careful lighting. The menu has a few offerings for the carnivorous, but fish is clearly the way to go. Starters are £6 - £12.50, mains mostly £10 - £17 with vegetables dishes £6.
There is a respectable wine list, with choices such as Dopff Riesling Schoenenburg 2004 at £38 for a wine that costs about £16 retail, Rioja Montecilo Gran Reserva 1985 at £69 for a wine that you can buy for about £24 in the shops. So few Indian restaurants pay any attention to the quality of ingredients, relying on spices to carry them through, so it was a real pleasure to see how much effort was taken here. Scallops were diver caught, sea bass was actually wild bass, and indeed at present they are choosing fish from a fifteen separate suppliers until they get a feel for the best ones. No fish here is frozen, and they even close on Mondays.
The meal began with ordinary popadoms but with a lively coriander and mint chutney with a refreshing bite to it. Scallops were of high quality, carefully cooked and lightly spiced, garnished with coriander (4/10). Isle of Wight plaice was deep fried and again tasted fresh and correctly cooked, served with crushed peas, their Indian version of fish and mushy peas (4/10). Fish tikka was kingfish, marinated with turmeric, black pepper and a little ginger, offered with Greek yoghurt, lime juice and dill. The fish was good, though the texture seemed just a little watery (3/10).
A side dish of peas, beans and spinach had a lively chilli kick (3/10) while the wild bass was served as a fillet in a tomato and coconut masala which had pleasant if slightly over subtle spicing for me (3/10). Best dish for me was bream marinated with coconut and coriander which really worked well with the high quality fish (5/10), served with a pleasant tomato and mint chutney that again could have been more spicy for me. Dhal had good taste but I found it rather watery in texture (2/10). Rice was ordinary but pleasant, a selection of breads (naan, paratha) freshly made and having good texture. A selection of kulfi (caramel, ginger, mixed spice) seemed a cross between ice cream and kulfi and did not entirely work for me, while a halwa was rather greasy, had saffron but should have been a little spicier (1/10).
Service was very good, a little pushed at times on this busy Saturday night, but on the second night in operation some tables were already being turned. Overall I found this a very enjoyable meal, with chef Ravi Deulkar taking care over ingredients. There are some areas to improve, and in general the spicing could go up a notch, but for a kitchen in its early days (and one which experienced a several hour power cut just before service) this was a confident performance. Prices are tolerable given the unusually high grade produce being used.