Meluha opened in Bristol earlier this year, and is the second restaurant from Chef Stephen Gomes and Jay Miah. Moksh was opened in Cardiff Bay in 2007, offering a more modern interpretation of Indian food. Stephen’s cooking style is a twist on the classics – traditional flavours and spices, but presented in a more modern way.
Cooking is in Stephen’s blood. He is, in fact, the third generation of chefs in his family, and has cooked all over the world in many top restaurants. The influence of his extensive travels can be found in his award-winning cooking. Stephen has been voted Best UK Indian Chef several times, including most recently, 2012-3.
Meluha is situated on Park Street in Bristol. It is a light, slick and modern restaurant with a few nods to Asia in the decor. We sat in the window, which was a great spot from which to watch the world go by on a Saturday night in Bristol.
The menu offers plenty of choice – from the more adventurous dishes, including a five course tasting menu, which seemed to be the popular choice on our visit, to plenty of choice for customers wanting a more traditional curry. We started our meal with a delicious glass of Malbec. The wine list offers plenty of choice, both of bottles and wines by the glass, which we chose. It is very fairly priced, too. To accompany our wine, we had to have some poppadoms with Meluha’s chutney tray, which included a delicious mint yoghurt, mango chutney, tamarind sauce and sweet chilli sauce packed with kaffir lime leaves. All accompaniments were superb the tamarind and sweet chilli sauces were particularly good, making a pleasant change from some of the more predictable offerings at many Indian restaurants.
To start, we tried a Maya ‘Magic’ starter called ‘With a Little Twist’, which involved three pieces of chicken cooked in different ways: chocolate and orange chicken tikka, Moksh jerk chicken tikka and lemongrass and pepper chicken tikka. The starter arrived beautifully presented with the three different types of chicken on one plate. The flavours of each piece were absolutely delectable and the chicken was superbly tender. The portion was perfectly sized, too – a generous quantity of chicken, but not too much to spoil your appetite.
Moving on to the main course, we shared the Lamb Shank Roganjosh, a Kashmiri curry, made with whole lamb shanks cooked in a rich onion and fresh tomato puree sauce with cardamom and whole spices. The sauce was deep in flavour and the meat was meltingly tender with the shank served whole. It was topped with really tiny baby plum tomatoes, which added a lovely extra layer of texture. We thought it was superb.
We also tried the Ratinagiri Mango Lamb, a lamb curry made with mangoes, coconut milk and black pepper, and loved this too. The meat was generous and tender with a wonderfully flavoursome thick, smooth, tangy sauce.
Rices at Meluha were lovely and a little different. The Pilau rice with caramelised onions was delicious – very savoury in flavour and complemented the curry very well. We also tried the Green tea rice, which was a basmati rice flavoured with green tea leaves. The rice was dark green in colour and had a wonderfully subtle green tea flavour. It worked particularly well with the sweeter Ratinagiri curry.
Not content with rice alone, we tried the garlic butter naan and garlic butter gluten free naan. There are a wide variety of interesting naan flavours, including Chilli chocolate and honey and rosemary and chicken tikka, which sound delicious. What is even better is that all breads can be made gluten free at Meluha, without even pre-ordering. In fact, as all dishes are made fresh from the menu, pretty much all dishes can be made gluten free. It was a particularly lovely experience being told you can have any dish or bread you like from the menu made gluten free – something we’ve not experienced at an Indian restaurant before.
To finish, we tried a trio of desserts put together for us by the chef. All were excellent. Our meal at Meluha was superb. The food was divine and the service just lovely from everyone who served us. It was, without question, the best curry we’ve ever had.