What? J-K-S: Three letters that may not mean much to you, JKS Restaurants is the sibling-run group behind Gymkhana, Hoppers, and most recently, Brigadiers. Not only that, but Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina also back the likes of Bao, Lyle’s and Sabor so you know you’re in for a good feed at any one of the eateries they put their name to – this time, it’s Trishna’s turn in the limelight.
Head away from Brick Lane and give Tooting Broadway a miss; Trishna really is in a league of its own. Well, a Michelin star doesn’t lie…
New? Karam Sethi opened Trishna opened at the ripe old age of 23 and received a Michelin star soon after. Nothing’s going stale here though – they have recently spiced up their terrace for summer and introduced a gin-laden cocktail menu that makes whiling away an afternoon or evening all too easy.
On the menu: The leather-bound menu offers page after page of mouth-watering temptation but sometimes you want the easy (but no less authentic) option, which is where the five or seven course set menus come in. Karma’s love of game and offal is evident in dishes like roe deer chutney seekh and quail scotch eggs.
The Look: Trishna is sexy. It doesn’t try too hard and there’s not a wood carving in sight – instead, you’ll find vintage posters adorning the panelled wood walls, and sleek furniture. It’s cosy enough for date night and discreet enough for a business lunch. Sit outside and you may be positioned (as we were) on top of the glass vaulted wine cellar. If only our arms were long enough to reach down…
What we ate: On a balmy mid-week evening it may be tempting to reach for the salads but when the mercury hits 30 degrees in south west India things only get hotter. I’m talking about chilli of course, as some dishes came with a verbal spice warning from our waiter and each was fluently described to us as it was placed on the table with a flourish.
Forget everything you know about poppadoms: here you get three varieties and two chutneys, in fact this pretty much sums up the meal. Nothing is quite as it seems. Course after course kept coming, but with the perfect ebb and flow that only a Michelin-starred restaurant has perfected.
Coconut-crusted scallops were divine, though the crumbed texture didn’t let the juicy meat steal the show as ingredients that fresh perhaps should be allowed to do.
Tandoori lamb chops were wonderfully smoky and coriander bream was vibrantly green and full of flavours that were somehow subtle and punchy at the same time. Just when we thought it must all be coming to an end we were presented with the ‘main course’, spiced Dorset brown crab, makai saag, dal, naan and chicken vautharacha kozhi; dishes that would have been impressive enough in their own right and together were even more glorious. Hearty but fresh, comforting yet refined. Not an easy feat.
Though the lull before pudding allowed us to digest (or at least try to) the previous six courses, a more eloquent version of mango panna cotta and cardamom rice pudding really were worth hanging around for. When a restaurant delivers dishes like this as creatively and comfortingly as the rest of the meal you know it is one to remember.
What we drank: Toasting hump day in style, we began with one seasonal gin and tonic and a nettle smash – two cocktails created to be enjoyed on the summer terrace before your meal.
Though we did the seven-course tasting menu, matching it glass-for-glass felt a bit much for a Wednesday so we acquainted ourselves with the sommelier and agreed on a bottle of merlot. Light enough to let each dish do the talking, it was the perfect choice.
Final word: It may not be Chelsea Flower Show but Trishna’s terrace makes for prime people watching, and when the evenings are as glorious as they have been the past few months, what more could a Londoner want? We never once doubted it but the food was divine and the service made our whole night really special – it was attentive yet discreet. The perfect combination.
If you’re looking for a taste of Trishna in a hurry then you should check out the reasonably priced lunch menu – four courses for £35.
Trisna: 15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone,W1U 3DG www.trishnalondon.com