If you are anything like us, when you see a new restaurant pop up in your local village, town or city, you say to yourself or each other ‘oh we really must try that new place’. Right? Mr ESLT and I definitely said that to each other when the new Indian restaurant Tapasya opened up on Beverley High Road in our home city of Hull. Well, that was 5 years ago, back in 2013 and up until a couple of weeks ago, we had yet to sample the delights on offer. That was until we were invited to a local influencers event to try the new à la carte menu which has been introduced by the new head chef Gajendera Singh, who began his career in New Delhi, has forged exceptional skills and knowledge in Indian cookery.
We were welcomed with a glass of champagne (well a Tiger Zero for Mr ESLT as he was my chauffeur for the evening) and were instantly impressed with the decor and atmosphere. This is a restaurant I consider to be somewhere to visit for the experience and more importantly the food as it screams intimate dining, not somewhere you would simply pop for a quick bite to eat before heading out for the evening. We were shown to the private dining room which seated 11 of us with no issue and instantly started the conversation of how perfect the room was for all sorts of occasions from birthday celebrations to business meetings. With bottles of wine adorning the walls and a massive twinkly chandelier hanging above our heads, the area was fantastic and very relaxing. We had extremely high hopes that the food would be as wonderful as our surroundings.
With drinks ordered the next job was to tackle the ridiculously delicious sounding menu and decide on what we actually wanted to eat. Mr ESLT will literally eat anything I, on the other hand, am a complete nightmare. I am getting better at trying things but it is not uncommon for me to only find one thing on a menu that I will actually eat and enjoy, not at Tapasya, here my problem was ruling things out. With meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian dishes aplenty, this in no way could be considered a typical Indian restaurant, with only a couple of curries on the menu, this is not the place to head if you fancy a vindaloo. Here you will find innovative Indian food, cooked in a traditional way, using only the finest local produce. With orders placed, now was an opportunity to sit back, sip our drinks and chat in a beautiful, refined setting.
Whilst waiting for our starters we were surprised with an amuse bouche – a vegetable samosa with tamarind and mint sauce. This, without doubt, was the nicest samosa I have ever had the pleasure of eating and certainly a far cry from the samosas found in frozen party food packs which are trotted out at Christmas. This was a taste sensation that I savoured very slowly and one which set the bar high for the rest of our meal. With thick pastry and a delectable filling I instantly understood why this restaurant has been listed in the 2018 Uk Michelin Guide.
Mr ESLT and I ordered our meals without conferring with each other, in reality, it is very unlikely that we would ever order the same dishes because of my aforementioned fussiness, but even I shocked him on this occasion. I have eaten lamb twice before in my life and my visit to Tapasya marked the third. Something about Indian food always shouts lamb at me and this time I listened. Here’s what we chose:
Me – Galawati Kabab (£7.95), Awadi lamb patties with mini naan, pickled onion and a mint sauce
Mr ESLT – Gilafi Seekh (£7.00), lamb and pepper skewers, with fresh mint chutney
Both were fantastic and even though they are not listed on the menu as being spicy, mine, in particular, had a good old kick to it. Luckily for us, we love spicy dishes and come on what do you expect from an Indian restaurant? Filling and delicious – great starters.
Whenever I see duck on a menu, I must have it. Up until a few years ago, I had never even tried it but now I absolutely love it. I’ll be honest I was surprised to see it on an Indian menu however after doing a bit of research I have actually found out it is quite common. If you have put any dish off the menu in front of Mr ESLT, he would have eaten it, from grilled king prawns, diced lamb leg to the ‘First Class Lamb Railway Curry’ which is traditionally served in all First Class compartments on Indian trains, he was in quite a quandary when deciding what to have.
Me– Jal Murgi (£15.95), Roast duck breast with asparagus, caramelised shallots and plum sauce
Mr ESLT – Jal Pari (£16.95), Cornish monkfish marinated in mustard and dill, served with sautéed broccoli and a mustard and coconut sauce.
Again both dishes were delicious and there were clean plates all round. The duck was perfectly pink and tasted amazing especially with the accompanying shallots and thick tasty plum sauce. Mr ESLT’s monkfish flaked easily and melted in the mouth and even though he is not the biggest mustard fan, the taste complimented the fish to a tee, making it mouth-wateringly good.
We also received Saade Chawal, plain basmati rice (£2.25) to accompany our meal.
Not ones to usually order side dishes in an Indian restaurant, we were given the opportunity to try some at Tapasya. All of which were suitable for vegetarians.
Dal Tadka (£4.50) – yellow lentils – the speciality of the house
Saag Aloo (£4.50) – baby potatoes in a spinach puree
Saag Makai (£4.50) – Creamed spinach with baby-corn, tempered with garlic
And seriously, who can visit an Indian restaurant and not get a naan bread to accompany their meal? If you can, you don’t know what you are missing out on. We are presented with a plate of mixed naan bread which was fluffy, yet crispy and served warm (plain £2.00 each, garlic £2.50 each). As Mr ESLT is not the biggest bread fan, I was lucky/greedy enough to have two, perfect for mopping up the remnants of my meal.
Dessert is my favourite course of any meal, especially when eating out. Yet over the years, desserts at Indian restaurants have always let me down, resulting in my opting for a simple single scoop of vanilla ice cream. Not at Tapasya, here there was plenty of choice, ok nothing chocolatey which is always my go-to dessert but still a wide variety to pick from. Mr ESLT, on the other hand, is not a dessert fan and usually only has one because I bully him into it so I’m not eating on my own. However, that was not necessary here, as something on the menu piqued his interest straight away.
Me – Kala Jamun (£4.50) – sweet dumplings made with reduced milk, soaked in sugar syrup, dusted with coconut and served with ice cream
Mr ESLT – Kulfi (£4.00) – a delicious Indian ice cream flavoured with mango (or pistachio)
Again, both desserts were fantastic. The sweet dumplings were indeed that – sweet, which was great for me and I found the sweetness of the warm spongey balls combined with the cool refreshing ice cream was the perfect combination and made me instantly forget about the choccy desserts I usually opt for. It was filling and in a way homely and rounded my meal off wonderfully. The mango ice cream, on the other hand, was perfect for refreshing the palate after the mixture of tastes and spices Mr ESLT had eaten in throughout the rest of his meal. It was a great opportunity for us both to try something that we wouldn’t normally.
In all honesty, our meal at Tapasya was the best Indian meal we have ever had. Everything about it was perfect from the decor, atmosphere, friendly and polite service and of course, not forgetting the food. I just can’t believe it took us so long to visit! Tapasya can also be found at Tapasya @ Marina and their newly opened street-food style stall at Trinity Market in Hull’s Old Town and we can’t wait to visit them both very soon as we’ve been told they both offer very different dining experiences.
Hull was the UK City of Culture 2017 and its legacy is living on strong. Why not visit Hull and Tapasya for yourself, we cannot recommend them both enough! If you do need any help in planning a visit please do not hesitate to get in touch. Hull is our hometown and we are very proud of it.
- Thank you to Tapasya for inviting us for dinner on a complimentary basis in exchange for review. It was absolutely wonderful and we have not stopped raving about it!