Last updated: 08:30 AM ET, Tue November 10 2015

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  • Gabe Zaldivar | November 10, 2015 8:30 AM ET

    Basking In The Sensational Sweet and Spicy of London's Trishna

    Basking In The Sensational Sweet and Spicy of London's Trishna

    Photos by Gabe Zaldivar

    Working your way through the five-course tasting menu at London’s Trishna is not unlike a form of culinary spelunking.

    Instead of coming away with one diamond amid the adventure, I found a treasure trove of amazing Indian cuisine that will stick with me for quite some time. This is both a reference to the memories of an unforgettable dinner as well as the calories that are now packed on fairly tight.

    One of my more recent meals in the capital came thanks to a trip to review and enjoy the wonderful Hilton London Bankside, which I reviewed for you here.

    While in town, I had the opportunity to sample a wealth of the menu at Trishna that boasts “coastal cuisine of south west India.”

    Now the five-course taste tour with wine pairing differs slightly from the one currently employed at the restaurant, but the experience may be similar to yours. The staff may have to nearly wheel you out as you ponder why you didn’t just wear a fancy version of stretchy pants.

    For me, it was the Koliwada menu, which consisted of the Kolhapuri Jheenga (pictured above), Ajwaini Salmon Tikka, Gilafi Duck Seekh Kebab, Andhra Lamb Masala and Gaja Halwa for dessert.

    I understand that for a few of you the above is merely a mixture of letters forming vaguely familiar words.

    Fear not, because I will briefly walk you through some of them, starting with the Kolhapuri Jheenga—or rather what is the frolicking party of shrimp, ginger and smoked chili chutney.

    The bright color says "Danger," but please dive right in, because the heat from this dish is meant to tickle the fancy, not drive one to downing one cup of water after another.

    The next dish was the salmon tikka, which proved yet again to me that Indian restaurants, especially in this town, do fish so amazingly well.

    I found that at Dishoom and once again had it proved to me here with a filet that was substantial but so remarkably succulent.

    As it would turn out, this was the refreshing calm before the spicy storm.

    Above is the Gilafi Duck Seekh Kebab, which has the unfortunate plating and form as to garner the immediate tableside moniker of meat log from the diners I was enjoying this particular meal with.

    But let me say that the kebab is far more mesmerizing in taste and texture than a simple log o’ meat.

    It sizzles with an unassuming heat that compounds and grows with every bite you take. By the end of the kebab you will wonder if there is a snow bank out front you can stick your face in.  But that’s not to say it’s not delicious, because it is. And it wakes you up so that you don’t devolve into a food coma before the main course.

    The spotlight for me hovered on the lamb masala, which featured curry leaf and coastal spices. Each main came with the Justice League-level accompaniment of Saag Aloo, Hyderabadi Dal, bread and Basmati rice.

    From there the rest of the meal in this tucked-away basement meeting room contained moments of delight as I mixed and matched between sopping up meat or dunking into remaining chutneys.

    By the time dessert came around to placate my sizzled tongue with chai ice cream, I began to wonder how anyone in their right mind would attempt the seven-course meal.

    Yet there it is, standing like a giant dare on the menu. Or you can simply order a la carte if that’s more your speed.

    No matter what you choose, you will get a dish that comes delivered with great care and made with the utmost dedication to texture and flavor.

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Gabe Zaldivar The Main Course

Gabe Zaldivar Born on the rough streets of suburban West Covina, I learned a great many things, some of which has proved useful: knowing the tell-tale sounds of an ice cream truck and crafting a world-class burrito come to mind. You have seen my work on Bleacher Report and possibly my mug on CNN. Perhaps, if you are into archaic modes of entertainment, you have also heard me on the radio. Pop culture is my beat. If it has to do with the intersection of travel, entertainment and pop culture, I'm your guy.
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