Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy 30th!

We celebrated a milestone birthday last night: Keenan's 30th and the start of a new decade. We kicked off the celebration last Saturday with a joint birthday party with another friend who also turned 30 at a bar/lounge in our neighbourhood in Clapham Old Town. But first, a small group gathered at our flat for Konditor & Cook cake, prosecco, and some old-fashion Christmas crackers to get into the festive spirit. It was lovely to see everyone and many thanks for celebrating this milestone occasion with us. 


On Keenan's actual birthday, his office had a champagne toast and cake in his honor and I treated him to dinner at Trishna's, a newcomer to the haute Indian cuisine scene in London which recently received its Bib Gourmand award. The Head Chef, Karam Sethi, was trained not only at the wildly successful sister restaurant Trishna in Mumbai, but also Zuma in London and Bukhara in New Delhi. The restaurant, tucked away on Blandford Street in the fashionable Marylebone Village, focuses on regional cuisine of the southwestern coast of India which heavy emphasis on seafood. The restaurant is minimalist in design, yet has a relaxing atmosphere with vintage Indian posters adoring the exposed brick wall. 

We opted for the 5 course tasting menu (£25) for a five-course tasting menu, with a bottle of  Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Viognier from Argentina. While I love my red wines, I generally prefer a white wine with spicy Asian food while Keenan always goes for a cool refreshing beer, this time the Spanish Alhambra Pale Ale. After some pappadum with an excellent shrimp and tomato chutney and a classic mango chutney, we started with Crispy Squid, lightly battered and fried with a hint of lime and the perfect amount of heat from a splash of red and green chilis. The next course was a Turkey Tikka, an innovative take on the classic Chicken Tikka, served over a bed of green lentils garnished with fresh red onions and coriander. It wasn't the typical Tikka you would find at Indian restaurants, the turkey was tender, juicy, and nicely seasoned with the perfect amount of charness. 

Then we enjoyed the Tiger Prawn served with a mustard sauce, which was lovely but it was just a bit too mustard, overpowering the delicate flavour of the prawn. For the mains, we had a choice between the Lamb Curry or the Goan Fish Curry so we chose one of each so we can sample all the dishes on offer on the Tasting Menu. The mains came with naan, saag, daal, and rice, and to our surprise, the portions were quite large. The Lamb Curry cooked South Indian style with coconut instead of cream was delicious and had subtle flavours of curry leaf and cinnamon. The Fish Curry was equally well presented, complex, and tasty. The sides were also very well executed, a modern twist of all the Indian classics using seasonal ingredients and fresh ground spices.

For dessert, it was a choice between Apple Crumble or Carrot Halwa; the former, a classic British pudding, and the ladder, a traditional Indian. I don't usually prefer Indian sweets but Keenan loved both the puddings especially the Lychee Sorbet that accompanied the Carrot Halwa.  This is excellent value for exceptional Indian cooking. It can easily rival Benares or Mint Leaf. We left the restaurant satisfied and plan on taking our parents here when they visit.   

Happy Birthday Keenan! I hope the next decade is filled with joy, laughter, love, health, happiness, and adventure.  Love, L. 

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