Saturday morning, I had breakfast again at The Hampshire Hog as I was staying a few minutes down the road at a budget hotel. As I had no proper lunch planned (or even a time when I would eat), I opted for something a little more substantial, Eggs Benedict:
They were fine indeed, the eggs poached on the spot, good ham on nicely toasted muffins with a smooth hollandaise. Freshly squeezed orange juice on the side. The few undressed rocket leaves didn’t really add anything. I also managed to catch up with Ed before he leaves the running of the Hog to others and leaves for India to run a big business venture.
I had orginally planned to spend daytime wandering around various markets and the food festival on the South Bank but I really didn’t fancy it in the cold wind (and later sleet) so I spent the day at Leisure Games in Finchley instead playing board games as it was International Tabletop Day. That was good fun but I did need some food so I went to a Persian restaurant a few doors down. The food was pleasant enough but there was just too much of it (and I ate too much) which in hindsight was a bad idea.
I had booked dinner at Trishna early in the evening as it was a bank holiday weekend which tends to be notorious for train travel and I really didn’t want to spend a long time on cold replacement busses. Considering my late bulk lunch I sadly wasn’t feeling hungry enough to splurge on the big tasting menu so I chose the five course one with a matching flight of wines. I had only heard good reviews from both critics and friends so I was really looking forward to it and I was not disappointed.
Bread with two interesting chutneys, a milder one with mango and a rather hot one.
The first course was Koliwada lobster and shrimp which was quite spicy but the spicing so well judged that the flavour of the crustaceans still came through. Needless to say, they were very nicely cooked.
Hariyali Bream with green chilli, coriander and tomato kachumber. Less hot than the previous course despite the green chilli and wrapped in coriander, the fish was wonderfully moist and almost flaked before my knife touched it. Easily one of my favourite dishes.
Duck Seekh Kebab was probably the odd one out. While the duck flavour was excellent, the kebab was rather dense and a bit dry, at least to my taste. The spiced pineapple chutney worked brilliantly with it, however and added some moisture.
The main was a whole spread of dishes: prawns in a rich, fragrant and somewhat spicy curry sauce, spicy yellow dal, spinach with garlic, basmati rice and two kinds of naan. Brilliant in every way, my only regret was really not being hungry anymore otherwise I would have finished the rice with the sauce and dal. As it was, quite a bit of those elements went back into the kitchen.
However, there’s always room for dessert and truly magnificent that was:
Cardamom Kheer: The queen of rice puddings, if I ever had one. I could hardly chew and swallow because of the smile it put on my face, a smile that would not fade for quite a few minutes after it was all gone. Indian sweets and desserts can be very sweet and cloying but this was just right with just the right amount of spicing.
Like my friends, I can only recommend Trishna, not just because of the quality of the food and well matched wines but also because it presents excellent value. My menu was towards the upper end and came to 80 pounds including wine and service. For a one star restaurant in a posh part of London, this is very good indeed. Even better value are their smaller and early evening menus.