IT WAS an inauspicious start. Rachel arrived wearing what can only be described as 'booty shorts' - delightful for a summer's night on the razzle in the West End, but deeply inappropriate for a midweek meal at a swish Marylebone restaurant.
I winced in anticipation of the disapproving looks to come and cowered as she scolded me for telling her, in jest, to dress as she pleased. Bless her cottons for taking me literally.
Fortunate then that our destination, Trishna, is a refreshingly unfussy joint.
Cosy, sleek, but falling on the unpretentious side of sophisticated, Trishna's Indian seafood menu seems to have found favour with a mixed (and thankfully accepting) crowd.
And it is quite a feast that greets them, staggered in small portions that tease the appetite. Drawing on the expertise of its acclaimed parent restaurant in Bombay, Trishna's head chef Ravi Deulkar delivers as zesty, fragrant and varied menu as you could find among London's contemporary Indian food scene.
Opting for the a la carte - Trishna also does a tasting menu for £32.50 a head, with the same again for a wine match - diners are given a choice from the three areas of the kitchen: the main section, sigri chargrill and tandoor clay oven.
It is a tantalising offering. I plumped for the refreshingly clean, ungreasy coriander-laced Pakora (£.5.50) and a tangy fried squid in spiced rice flour seasoned with sliced chilli and lime (£7).
They worked as a snack-ish preamable to the delights to come from the grill.
The market fish, slathered in dried chilli and ginger, was complemented by an inventive caramalised onion and peanut chutney.
Next up, a telephone receiver-sized tiger prawn, split in two and cooked in mustard and dill (£6.25 each). It looked great, but was a little drier than expected, leaving me with a tinge of regret for not choosing the lamb chops, cooked in a ginger, chilli and mustard mooli, which was delighting the neighbouring table.
My quibbling was silenced by the light and spicy arrivals from the tandoor: a juicy Guinea fowl marinated in fennel seeds and served with a lentil salad (£12.50) and a whole Hariyali bream cooked in a mint and coriander masala, which flaked onto my fork.
My gluttony was beginning to get the better of me by the time the mains arrived, a bowl of Isle of Shuna mussels (£10), served in a korma-like broth and a lamb curry (£12.50) later. And that was my lot. A shame as the desserts are also widely acclaimed.
Trishna has an exhaustive wine list and the ever-attentive waiters go to great lengths to help customers get the best out of the menu and drinks.
A stone's throw from Lord's cricket ground, Trishna has a private dining room for post-match food and drink and is laying on chauffer-driven cars for anyone who books for post-cricket dinner. While it is not cheap, Trishna's clean, light and intriguing coastal menu puts it a nose ahead of upmarket Indian rivals such as the Cinnamon Club.
Trishna - 15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone Village, W1U 3DG. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Sunday,call 020 7935 5624 or e-mail email@example.com