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Chef Rohit Ghai at Trishna

asian restaurant review Trishna has morphed into a group that now has a sister restaurant, Gymkhana, in Mayfair and a more northern outpost in Denmark. I guess that’s a surprising choice of location, but those Danes shivering in snow-driven winters are bound to appreciate the warming and aromatically spiced foods of the subcontinent.

There is also a new Group Head Chef for that expanded restaurant collection, and he has been noted for his flavours and his thoughtful presentation. He is Rohit Ghai and the name might be somewhat familiar, as he is brother to Chef Sunil Ghai who has made a mark in the Indian food industry in Dublin.

Rohit has had a creditable training from hotel companies in India including the Taj group, which is famed for producing some of the most recognised and successful chefs who now continue their careers all over the world. Rohit has worked in London for a number of years with one of the most celebrated Indian restaurants in the city, but now he is taking more responsibility for the three Trishna projects, including Verandah in Copenhagen.

Did Rohit encounter any unique problems when opening the Danish branch? “When I arrived in Copenhagen I found so many difficulties there – I couldn’t locate the specialist spices, and had to organise supplies from London. But after two weeks I discovered a couple of people with good contacts in India who can deliver just what we need.

“I found that Danish people didn’t know the Indian palate and culinary traditions, the flavours and the balance, so I designed the menu around ‘basics’ – contemporary as well as traditional. Claus Meyer, the co-founder of Noma, opened The Standard, which is a complex of three restaurants: our Verandah, plus Almanak and, upstairs, Studio.” It’s a new restaurant and the food is unfamiliar to most Danes, but the reviews have already been positive.

asian restaurant review I asked Rohit if he had changed much on the menu since arriving at Trishna. “When I joined, the food was very simple because it’s broadly a ‘coastal food’ concept, and I changed the presentation a little, but I’m conscious of the expectations that customers have of a Michelin-starred restaurant. These days, seasonality is very important at a fine-dining establishment.

“For me, presentation is crucial.  The plate has to be very tidy, so that when it’s presented to the diner they will be happy with it. The educated diner can be very critical, and if you can inspire them, get their interest, before they even taste the food, you have a positive outcome.”

Trishna has always had a good reputation for quality of food and service, but in an intimate and cosy environment. It doesn’t glint with polished candlesticks. The staff don’t hover in intimidating fashion. Service is seamless and friendly but the food has always been the main attraction and Rohit is ensuring that continuity.

Trishna offers special menus for occasions such as Diwali and game season, but their standard fare will never disappoint. Rohit amuses the diner with a miniature but perfectly executed Grouse and Guinea-fowl samosa with plum chutney. A one-bite morsel but showing this chef’s dexterity and humour. The scallop with puffed rice, spring onion and moong dal was courageously spiced and probably the best scallop I have had in several years.

asian restaurant review Tandoori Grouse – Chivas-marinated tandoori grouse breast, grouse seekh kebab served in a shot-glass, and garlic pickle – was a striking and delicious presentation; but the Partridge Pepper Fry with Keralan spices, black pepper and aromatic curry leaf is good enough to be a signature dish …on a menu that offers so many must-trys.

But Rohit is aware that, to many, Indian food is about comfort, so more traditional ‘curry’ dishes are offered to diners with discerning tastes. Malwani Jhinga Curry of prawns, malwani spices and coconut is rich and offers the diner a bowl of accessible decadence. South Indian Coast Lamb Curry offers those flavours which have defined Trishna, and this lamb curry is memorable and moreish, and lighter than some northern Indian versions. Our side dishes were the indispensible dal, and okra with coconut.

Trishna has a Michelin star and Verandah will likely head in that same direction, and that is a lot of culinary pressure for a young chef, but Rohit Ghai has dedication, passion and an eye for flavourful aesthetics. He will doubtless continue to make his mark.

Opening hours:
Monday - Saturday
Lunch: 12 noon – 15:15
Dinner: 18:00 – 21:30
Sunday: 12 noon – 15:15, 18:30 - 21:45

15 -17 Blandford Street
Marylebone Village
Phone: 020 7935 5624
Fax: 020 7935 9259

Visit Trishna here

Verandah, The Standard, Havnegade 44, 1058 Copenhagen, Denmark

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