Meluha, Bristol

hi-res-first-day-230Last Saturday I was very excited to be booked in for a meal at the recently opened indian restaurant Meluha, located on Bristol’s Park Street.

I had seen a lot about the restaurant after following its work on Twitter and had been eager to book a meal for my boyfriend and I, for quite some time!

After viewing Meluha’s menu beforehand, it was clear to see that it was no ordinary indian restaurant and with the expertise of Cobra Good Curry Guide Chef of the Year Stephen Gomes, the meals looked adventurous yet authentic. The first chef to successfully introduce food science to Indian cuisine, Chef Stephen started his experimentations in 2007 at his Cardiff based restaurant Moksh, which literally translated means “liberation”. Moksh was the starting point for freeing and reinventing Indian cuisine, the evolution of which is Meluha “the abode above”.hi-res-first-day-205

It was great that the Meluha team and primarily their marketing manager Rebecca Miah, were on hand via Twitter and email to advise which courses would suit someone who is not good with spicy food (that’ll be me then!), as well as which courses are, or could be adapted to be, gluten free.

Another bonus of being in contact with the restaurant beforehand was that they were able to offer me some gluten free breads of my choice which they would prepare for my arrival. I would normally have had a plain naan, but I thought I’d be brave and opt for a gluten free kheema (minced lamb) stuffed naan instead.

Upon our arrival at the restaurant, we were greeted hi-res-first-day-167by Rebecca’s husband Jay, (who is also co-owner of the restaurant with Chef Stephen) and his team of waiters. The inside of the restaurant has been completely transformed from its days as the home of ASK Italian which the building used to house, and it now consists of beautiful purple walls with decorative features and paintings. It made for a very calming atmosphere and we were offered a table in the middle of the large window area overlooking Park Street.

Jay came over and explained how Meluha had evolved following the huge success of Moksh and how the menu was presented in chapters, ‘to lead diners through an exploration of flavours and scents’. He also explained the chilli ratings on the menu (particularly helpful for me), but confirmed that dishes could be toned down if needed. Rebecca had also previously suggested asking for some sugared yoghurt, in case I did struggle! Although on hand if we needed any assistance, Jay allowed us time to look through the menu and digest it all without being rushed, before coming back to take our order.

I wouldn’t normally have ordered a starter, but as we wanted to try as much of the menu as possible, we thought we should, so I ordered the intriguing looking Meluha Delight and my other half ordered the With a Little “Twist”. Both of these meals encompassed 3 individual dishes and all had some interesting flavour combinations which you would not have expected to work, but they really did!

My Meluha Delight included chocolate and orange chicken tikka, hyderabadi minced lamb and potato with chilli beetroot foam and balchao dusted pork belly on tomato charasa and edible paper (however mine was minus the paper as it wasn’t gluten free).IMAG1375-2

As you can see the presentation in this restaurant is amazing and has so much impact on the meal. The individual tastes are divine and portion sizes are the perfect size to give you a taster of the dishes, whilst remembering that they are only the start!

My boyfriend’s starter was equally amazing and consisted of the same chocolate and orange chicken tikka, but with Moksh jerk chicken tikka and lemongrass and pepper chicken tikka.

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I had been planning on having the Punjabi Butter Chicken for my main meal following initial advice from Rebecca, as she suggested this would be the nearest to the indian food I’d normally eat, but on the night I opted for Lamb Navarin Bhuna to compliment my stuffed naan.

Each menu option comes with a concise description about the meal and mine was described as: Popular belief has it that this dish was named after the Battle of Navarino
during the Greek war of independence in 1827 when British, French and Russian
ships destroyed the Turkish and Egyptian fleets. However the dish existed well
before then and was more likely to have been named after the navet (turnip),
originally the main accompanying vegetable. This dish has been given an Indian
twist with a bhuna flavour cooked with onion, tomato and baby potatoes.

After much deliberation (and I really mean that!) my boyfriend opted for the Railway Lamb Curry, but was unsure as to which type of naan bread to have so Jay suggested the red onions and spicy potato stuffed naan, so this is what was ordered.

Have a look at our table of delights when we received our mains and breads. There was such an array of dishes on our table it was difficult to know where to begin!

IMAG1380

IMAG1377I opted to start with the naan bread as I was really keen to see how a gluten free naan tasted and I have to say it didn’t look or taste any different to a normal naan bread that I’d have eaten previously. My boyfriend tried some and compared it to the one he ordered and agreed they tasted the same. As for the keema filling, this was yummy and was a lovely accompaniment to the lamb main course.

IMAG1383-2In respect of the curry, it was by far the nicest I’ve ever had and certainly not something I would have tried before. However I did end up having to reach for the sugared yoghurt, as started to struggle with the spices. For most people though I know this wouldn’t be a problem, I am just particular rubbish with anything remotely spicy! 😦

IMAG1386-2Certainly after the main I was in the need for something to cool my mouth down, so I was very pleased to see ice cream on the dessert menu and I opted for the traditional vanilla version. Even this was presented immaculately with its own rice wafer and a fresh fruity sauce 🙂

This was a very much needed, beautifully creamy dessert and a brilliant way to round off the meal and refresh my palate!

IMAG1384-2Whilst tucking in to my ice cream, my boyfriend had opted for some coffee and tested out Meluha’s new Ethiopian blend which had been made especially for them to compliment the menu. I’m not one for coffee myself but I had to take a picture of their ‘Clever Coffee Dripper’, as it looked great!

Although the cost of this meal was more than we’d normally have spent (starters range from £6 – £8 and mains from £12 – £20), we both felt that as a venue for special occasions or gatherings, this was an acceptable cost especially given the level of food, quality and service provided throughout.

As well as offering a la carte and lunch menus on the ground floor, an event room “The Gallery Room” with a 3, 4 or 5 course taster menu can be found on the 2nd floor alongside a dedicated “Chefs Table” room, that will host Chef Stephen and guest chefs every Sunday for a visually interactive dining experience.

Meluha also offers a separate and full catering kitchen and can cater for large-scale events, recent events include the 300 head Welsh Asian woman of the year awards.

There has been limited publicity regarding the opening of Meluha, to enable the restaurant to have time to embed itself in Park Street, but also to embed its menu and to develop it where necessary. Certainly, despite the lack of publicity, the restaurant is starting to look very popular and we were joined by some other tables of diners during our visit, but being positioned by the window, we also noticed the large number of people who stopped to look at the restaurant as they were passing, so I think this restaurant will definitely be the hit that it deserves to be! 🙂

For more information on Meluha, please visit their website (www.meluha.co.uk) and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter (@MeluhaBristol).

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