Krishnas Inn

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4 reviews
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4 Byron Place,

0117 927 6864

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byBenjamin Norris28/10/2008
Authentic, unique and lovingly crafted South Indian food in the heart of Bristol’s West End.

The Venue
Situated in Bristol’s fashionable West End and within easy walking distance of all the city centre’s most popular and thriving nightspots, Krishna’s Inn is a small and relatively austere restaurant.

The dining area is small, but by no means crowded or uncomfortable, and the large glass window that dominates the front of the building gives the impression of space and brings plenty of light into the room. The staff are more than happy to accommodate parties, but it is rare to see this venue fully booked at any time of the week.

The People
Krishna’s Inn maintains an ambient feel despite the sparseness of the decoration. There are a few small paintings on display (mainly showing traditional Keralan landscapes and the iconic costumes of the region’s Katakhali dancers), but the beautiful aromas of sandalwood, frankincense and myriad spices are what creates such a comfortable, exotic and warm atmosphere.

The staff are formal but friendly, and clearly go out of their way to ensure that you are enjoying your visit, without distracting you from your meal.

The Food
At Krishna’s Inn, if you ask for a vindaloo or a korma (or indeed any of the standard fare peddled by the countless other Indian restaurants in Bristol), you will be met by an apologetic smile. This is an exclusively Keralan restaurant, which clearly has no interest in serving Westernised appropriations of authentic Indian food. As well as this - and no doubt reflecting the eighty percent of India’s population who are vegetarian - the menu has something of a meat-free bias, but nonetheless the choice available is as impressive as it is exciting.

The opening course of malabar masala dosa (£3.95) is almost divine in its simplicity. The dosa (of which there are several varieties) is a huge crispy pancake, stuffed with a light and aromatically spiced mashed potato, speckled with cardamon and cumin seeds. This is served with a thin, earthy dipping broth that softens the dry batter and leaves a pleasant heat on the back of the tongue.

The erussery (£3.50) that follows is equally tasty; again, a simple dish – sweet, gently spiced yellow pumpkin with thin slices of coconut rested on top – it is great value for money.

A perennial favourite on the menu is pomfret fry (£7.95), a fish that anyone who has travelled to South India will tell you is one of the finest and most delicate to be found anywhere around the world. The pomfret at Krishna’s Inn is served whole, with a mild citrus, cumin and coriander marinade that really allows the subtle, clean sweetness of the flesh to dominate your palate.

The side orders range from the authentic and unusual; aloo paratha (a thick, doughy flatbread made with potato), to the more familiar; samosas, naans, poppadoms, chapatis and the full range of rices.

The Drink
The sweet lassi at Krishna’s Inn is particularly good, with the addition of a few subtle spices – including cardamon – making it stand apart from those available in other restaurants. The wine list, however, is decidedly mediocre, and Cobra and Kingfisher are the only other alcoholic drink available, but alas, in huge and slightly overpriced bottles.

The sweet, peppery masala chai is a lovely way to finish your meal, cleansing your palate and acting as a delicious digestif. Don’t forget to take a handful of free candied fennel seeds to chew on the way out – a feature of every restaurant in India that help freshen the breath and settle full stomachs.

The Last Word
Despite appearing humble and a little bare from outside, Krishna’s Inn strives for authenticity and excellent, honest food - and succeeds magnificently. The cuisine may not satisfy those looking to go out for a curry, but for those interested in the full breadth and diversity of Indian cooking (at a very reasonable price, indeed) this restaurant fully deserves a visit.
Krishnas Inn has been reviewed by 4 users

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