Finding North Indian food in KL is not a difficult task, but finding reasonably priced and good North Indian food might not be that simple. Last weekend, we visited Trishna, a restaurant that specializes in authentic North Indian cuisine located in Hotel Istana. The interior was generally pink with their pink chairs and table cloth, with a comfortable sofa area at one corner. Needless to say, we made ourselves at home on the comfy sofa that night.
Fish or chicken, can you tell?
While waiting for the remaining party to arrive, we helped ourselves with some crispy Pappadum and Mango Lassi, which were both pretty good. Our first appetizer dish was the Hara Bhara Kebab, a vegetarian dish that was filled with spinach bits and plenty of spices. These were fried to a crispy and brown exterior, but still maintained a soft and tasty interior within. Each bite was a mixture of savoury spices, soft potatoes, crunchy peas and green vegetables.
Hara Bhara Kebab (RM18)
The Afghani Chicken was a plate of chicken pieces marinated with yogurt and cashew nut paste before being barbecued. These had a slightly sourish flavour on the surface and more savoury towards the centre. To be honest, I was not too fond of this because the some parts of the chicken were rather dry, but I have to admit they were definitely healthy.
Afghani Chicken (RM18)
To me, the star of the night was the Fish Ajwain. Served on a mini barbecue pit, the aroma was exhilarating and salivating! Each piece of the boneless dory fish was extremely well-marinated with caraway seeds before they were grilled to a golden finish. It was possibly one of the tastiest fish that I’ve ever eaten – tender, flavourful and very delicious. If I were to recommend one dish from Trishna, it would be this.
Fish Ajwain (RM18)
After having the appetizers, we had the choice of having either bread or rice as our mains. As with typical Indian meals, there would be plenty of curry and dal in the picture. The Chicken Tikka Masala, for example, was thick and flavourful, but not overly spicy.
Chicken Tikka Masala (RM20)
For vegetarians, there’s Bhindi Masala tasted almost the same but had plenty of chopped ladies’ fingers or okra within. I am personally not a fan of ladies’ fingers but when cooked in masala, they’re quite delicious! I also loved the fact that the ladies’ fingers were still firm and crunchy instead of being mushy.
Bhindi Masala (RM15)
The crowd’s favourite though, was the Mutton Rogan Josh. The mutton was cooked very well here, without the excessive gaminess that some might not fancy. These tender and flavourful pieces of meat were the perfect match with rice.
Mutton Rogan Josh (RM24)
One dish that we should have paid more attention to was the Saag Paneer or Palak Paneer. This was made from spinach and cottage cheese until they produced a creamy green texture that was savoury. The preparation of cottage cheese is rather tedious – the milk is first boiled and curdled with lime juice, then the solids were compressed and flattened before they were cut into cubes. Since only the milk solids were required, only a small amount of cheese can be obtained from a litre of milk, for instance. I enjoyed eating the creamy spinach with naan, but I didn’t know how to appreciate the cheese cubes though. They had a texture like a firm tofu, but were pretty much tasteless. Perhaps it’s an acquired taste that would grow with time.
Saag Paneer (RM18)
The Yellow Dhal was very good. Served piping hot, it was not overly thick or watery, and had plenty of peas and beans that gave it a nice bite. I ate plenty of bread thanks to this dhal.
Tarka Dal (RM16)
Basket of Bread
For desserts, we tried the Gulab Jamun, which were deep fried balls made from milk and flour soaked in a sweet syrup. But I preferred the Mango Kulfi, which was served cold and tasted like ice-cream except that it’s more dense and creamy, and sweeter too.
Gulab Jamun (RM10)
Mango Kulfi (RM12)
To end the meal, you must try the Masala Tea. It was fragrant and had a nice spicy and gingery taste that kept us on and on chatting the night away. We couldn’t have asked for a better ending.
Benny and Neeta the lovely hosts for the night
True enough, Trishna had proven to be the North Indian cuisine restaurant that we were looking for – delicious, authentic and very reasonably priced in a comfortable environment. We will definitely return to try some of the other dishes in their extensive menu.
Hotel Istana, Level B1,
73 Jalan Raja Chulan,
50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel No.: 012-375 0412 (Benny)
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 1am