Sunday, February 19, 2012

North Indian Cuisine @ Trishna, Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur

We love Indian food... Back in the UK, we used to eat Indian food at least once a week, our favorite being the lamb rogan josh. We never quite found any place in KL that does it quite like the one we liked, until we dined in Trishna last week. 

Spice, rice and everything nice..

Trishna located in Hotel Istana has been around for a year now, serving authentic North Indian cuisine. Trishna means "the desire for good food" and good food  is what the owners hope to serve to its customers. The menu is quite extensive, lots to choose from, but if you ever feel like you need some help choosing, the owner Mr. Benny Bedi will be more than happy to offer a recommendation. Prices are pretty reasonable, with starters mostly around RM18 each and mains around RM20. 

We were told that Trishna's popular items are the appetizers. When we quizzed Benny which is his favorite dish at the restaurant, he answered "rogan josh". We're in luck! 

An assortment of delicious mains


A pink rose at every table

We started off with their signature drink, mango lassi (RM8) - sweet and creamy. 

Some pappadoms to snack on while waiting

The first starter to arrive was the Hara Bhara Kebab (RM18), which is vegetarian but surprisingly very good. We could taste lots of spices, though we couldn't quite make out what spice it was... we were told that it consists of 5-6 different spices. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Next was the Afghani Chicken (RM18), tender pieces of chicken marinated in yoghurt and cashewnut paste and then grilled. It looks, tastes and feels very healthy, quite a light starter I would say. 

We liked the presentation for the Fish Ajwain (RM18), which arrived on a sizzling mini BBQ. This kept the fish warm and the aroma of the spices wafting towards our nose! I thought it was chicken when I first saw it, but once I bit into it, the unmistakable fresh flavours of the sea came through. We were told that dory fish was used, coated with caraway seeds and grilled. This was my favourite starter of the evening, I had 3 pieces ;)

A different presentation for the fish ajwain but I much prefer the bbq way, since it keeps the fish warm too. 

The thing about Indian food is that it is quite filling, but our hosts fed us well and we just couldn't resist going over our eating limit because the food was good.  For mains, we were served chicken tikka masala (British national dish, believe it or not), mutton rogan josh, bhindi masala, yellow dal, saag paneer with jeera rice and a basket of different breads.

I think everyone at our table loved the rogan josh, the mutton did not have the weird "sou" smell you sometimes get with mutton and it was cooked til really tender and flavourful.  I also loved the bhindi masala (ladyfingers) and chicken tikka masala, both very yummy and I kept dousing my rice with more and more gravy.

The only thing I didn't quite like was the cottage cheese (saag paneer), but that's because it is more of an acquired taste. We were told of how the cottage cheese was made (milk curdled with lime and then pressed to get the cottage cheese) which sounds quite laborious, in turn making us feel quite bad for not knowing how to appreciate this dish.

Tarka dal (yellow dal) (RM16)

Mutton rogan josh (RM24) - excellent!

Chicken tikka masala (RM20)

Bhindi masala (RM15) - I love ladyfingers so I loved this!

Saag paneer (RM18)

An assortment of bread

Jeera rice (RM9)

The desserts were a little on the sweet side, though for me, I don't mind it since I love all things sweet. I liked both the gulab jamun (also made from milk but boiled) (RM14) and mango kulfi (RM12).

Gulab jamun

Mango kulfi

The marsala tea with a hint of ginger and spices was the perfect end to our meal. We sipped the tea and laughed some more.

Thank you to our hosts Benny and Neeta for the wonderful evening, both entertaining us with good food and great laughs.

Verdict: Food is delicious and reasonably priced, we will definitely come back again. And after your meal, you can head downstairs to the Oscar Club for some live entertainment (heard there are a bevy of beautiful ladies performing Bollywood dance every night)

Full menu can be viewed here.  Full set of photos available to view here. 

Opening times: 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 1am. 

Location: Trishna, Hotel Istana, Level B1, 73 Jalan Raja Chulan, 50200 Kuala Lumpur. 

Tel: 012-375 0412 (Benny)



  1. Hmmm...d Afghani Chicken n Fish Ajwain looks very interesting. How was d Tarka dal?

    I always heart aromatic marsala and chai teas...very good 'wake-up' teas for me :)

    1. The tarka dal was creamy, definitely not the watery type u get at mamaks ;P

      For me personally, I prefer to eat the gravy from the chicken tikka masala and rogan josh. Btw, the chefs here are from India so the food shd be really authentic.

    2. Good...I normally eat loads of their bread along with d dhal and masalas :D

      Another good place is The Aryan in The Weld Shopping Centre...bright n cheery ambience :)

    3. You seem to know a lot of food eating places!

  2. The desserts look really interesting! According to my mom, indian desserts can be quite sweet. :)

    1. Yup, it's a bit on the sweet side but for me, it's ok cos I like sweet.

  3. Ooo, I'm not sure I've ever had good rogan josh before, but now I'll remember to order it the next time I see it on any menu. Ya, I'm one of those folks who usually don't order much mutton. Until I was in my early 20s, I didn't even enjoy lamb =)

    1. I think alot of us associate mutton with the "sou" smell and taste. But it's yummy without ;)

  4. When I was younger, I used t associate "Rogan Gosh" with comic books cos there was a graphic novel of that name - now I make the connection as it was a modernist tale using Indian influences set in the UK... :D

    1. That's interesting, never knew of such a novel before. I only associate rogan josh with FOOD. LOL.

  5. wua, spicy main dishes >.< But I will never reject the chicken ^_^

  6. Their Mutton rogan josh is to die for ......... No smell at all and so so tender! Will be back again for more with my Indian friends.

  7. I really like all the dishes.Specially ice cream.Best Restaurants in Noida


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