So I’ve now sampled the five-course vegetarian tasting menus at two of London’s (allegedly) best Indian restaurants: Gymkhana, and now Trishna, both of which have Michelin stars. Gymkhana, which is situated in Mayfair, just behind Green Park tube station, was also named National Restaurant of the Year in 2014. Trishna is located just off Marylebone High Street, known for its high-end shopping and expensive restaurants.
I would definitely recommend the tasting menus in both restaurants, if you can stretch to £50 for the vegetarian and £55 for the option with meat and fish, given that they provide you with the opportunity to try many different things. Each course is small enough not to fill you up, you can have house-made poppadoms and chutneys while you’re waiting, and the main course is served with naan bread, rice, dal and sag aloo, so it’s certainly value for money.
There were three of us for dinner, and we were lucky to be seated in a booth near the back (pictured above), which was semicircular so that we could all talk and hear each other easily. It means you can’t really see any of the restaurant, but if you want a quiet meal with minimal interruptions, I suggest you ask if you can be seated at this table.
There were two different sorts of poppadoms, if I remember correctly, and a mango chutney and a spicy prawn chutney (perhaps slightly disappointing not to have another vegetarian option here).
My first course was a spicy tomato soup, which was fine, but not particularly exciting. I like chilli, but here it completely overpowered any tomato flavour. The little aubergine pakoras, however, were delicious, especially with whatever little dollop of sauce they put on top. I could have eaten more than two!
Then came a kidney bean and rice dumpling, served in a pool of yoghurt, and some onion chutney. I’m not sure what the cracker on top was, but it provided a good crunchy contrast to the rest of the dish. The dumpling had lots of kidney beans in it – which was good, not just rice – and was delicately spiced, too, which was complimented by the yoghurt.
Next up was a broccoli samosa, which was accompanied with cauliflower pickle and a green puree, I think also made from broccoli. This was a very simple dish, as you can see, and as broccoli and cauliflower are two of my favourite vegetables, I had no trouble quickly polishing it off.
For the main course there was a choice between paneer or rice with jackfruit. Apologies for the lack of photograph; I completely forgot to take one! I opted for paneer, as I love it, and it didn’t disappoint, and was nicely flavoured with coriander. The accompaniments of naan, rice, dal and sag aloo were fine, but not noticeably different from other restaurants.
For pudding there was either saffron baked yoghurt, with pear chutney, or a chocolate bread and butter pudding. I went for the yoghurt, as you can see, which was delicious – really thick, almost like a set custard. The cracker was also excellent, and I think it had a pistachio crumb sprinkled on it.
The service was very good – polite but unobtrusive, and our waitress explained each dish before it was served. In this part of town, five courses for £50 represents very good value for money, but we concluded that there was nothing particularly different about what we ate. All the food was of a very high quality, but nothing was unexpected. If you’re looking for Michelin-starred Indian food with an extra something, I would say go for Gymkhana, where the tasting menus are just that little bit more inventive and exciting. But for quality Indian food that won’t surprise you, then Trishna is a solid bet.
Categories: Food & Drink