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Dining at Carnival by Trèsind is as entertaining as it gets

With a progressive Indian menu, Carnival has its own twits to traditional dishes such as chaat, chana bhatura, and more.
Carnival by Trèsind

I had a souvenir after my meal at Trèsind’s newly opened restaurant—Carnival in Mumbai’s Santacruz. It was a single card—a club of eights with Nidhi scribbled with a red sketch pen in my handwriting. A rather peculiar souvenir for a fine-dining restaurant, wouldn’t you say? But so is being an audience for a mentalist’s private show at your dining table. From getting a drink based on the number I chose to card tricks, as we waited for our meal—this was unlike any dining experience.

All the way from Dubai, Carnival by Trèsind is by the same hospitality group — Passion F&B — and is situated adjacent to the world’s first Indian vegetarian Michelin Star restaurant—Avatara which we visited earlier this year.

As you enter the 120-seater space, you first pass through the bar lounge section, overlooking Juhu from the 7th floor. At the bar, you can spot bartenders wearing LED light masks as they chat you up and whip up cocktails. The walls at Carnival are adorned with masks and gold accents along the main dining area. For a party of 10, opt for their private dining room.

Carnival by Trèsind

Photo: Carnival by Trèsind

Since it comes from the same family as Trèsind, we had high expectations from Chef Sarfaraz Ahmed in terms of food and we were not disappointed. “We [Passion F&B Group that includes Trèsind, Avatara, Carnival, and more] are very serious restaurants when it comes to Indian food,” says Chef Ahmed. “We wanted to put Indian food onto the global map and that is only possible if we have all the formats available,” he says. “We have a serious fine-dining restaurant and with Trèsind not everyone can enjoy a tasting menu,” he explains. Thus, with Carnival, they wanted to have a “fun, chill place for all sorts of people where everyone can enjoy.”

Rapid Review

There was an obvious thought in terms of comparison with Trèsind. However, Chef Ahmed clarified that Trèsind is completely different and Carnival has a different menu and outlook towards its menu. The food at Carnival by Trèsind is simple. It is dishes you have already eaten and heard of but Chef Ahmed puts his twist to these classic dishes.

The Great

We started the meal with Chaat Sundae (₹495), which was yoghurt ice cream, coriander, and tamarind granita — your standard chaat but elevated. It had the dahi vada, sev, and fried palak, the kind you get in a palak chaat. What sealed the deal for me was the yoghurt ice cream and the coriander and tamarind granita — cold, sweet, and spicy, one bite was a chilled flavour bomb.

The Tandoori Portobello Steak (₹825) was a treat for our tastebuds and a feast on the eyes as it was a live station on our table. Essentially, it was a portobello mushroom tikka, freshly out of the tandoor. Chef Ahmed arrived at our table with a cart full of condiments to make a chimichurri chutney in a mortal pestle. We picked up a piece of the mushroom tikka, tipped it in the chutney, and devoured it. We would love to doggy bag the chimichurri chutney, which was the highlight.

Carnival by Trèsind

(from left to right) Chaat Sundae, Ram Babu Paratha. Photos: Carnival by Trèsind, Nidhi Lodaya

Our heart belongs to a paratha. The Ram Babu Paratha (₹875) was a chef’s ode to the popular spot in Agra. Stuffed with papad and some masala, the paratha had the right kind of crispy we love. It was paired with a potato sabji, a pumpkin curry, and a banana chutney.

For someone who prefers vegetarian, the Chicken Tikka Masala (₹995) was something we spoke about even after leaving. It reminded us of the Delhi-style chicken tikka masala and couldn’t help but get another helping of the curry with the Malabar paratha.

The Good

The Corn’65 (₹325) was a pleasant surprise. An Achappam with popcorn butter piped inside was a unique concept. It literally felt like eating butter popcorn but it seemed a little too experimental for us.

The cocktail menu comprised 10 cocktails from carnivals around the world. We opted for Tikitiki (₹825), a cocktail with plantation white, in-house cacao liqueur, pineapple, and hibiscus cordial. This fun, exotic drink comes all the way from Tobago and Trinidad. Think pina colada but a much lighter version of it.

Carnival by Trèsind

(from left to right) Corn ’65, Tiramisu. Photos: Carnival by Trèsind, Nidhi Lodaya

You can’t go wrong with chole bhature. Their Chana Martabaan (₹845) is served with bhatura stuffed with goat cheese. The chana had three different kinds of pickles in the preparation, giving it an achari kick. However, the chevre cheese-stuffed didn’t hit the spot for us. We rather prefer the original one.

The Filter Coffee Tiramisu (₹595) with Baileys ice cream was a different take on the traditional Italian dessert. Taste-wise, the Baileys ice cream was the highlight but we also loved their take on this classic dessert with their play on multiple textures. However, we like Tiramisu, the classic style.

The Miss

Fusion, if done right can do wonders but it is also quite tricky to ace. The Avocado Galouti Kebab (₹625) came in the form of a soft taco but was way too “fusion” for our tastebuds. While the avocado galouti kebab was soft we would avoid ordering this again because the dish lacked some crunch and a galouti kebab in a taco didn’t cut it for us.

Carnival by Trèsind

(from left to right) Aam Sutra, The Avocado Galouti Kebab. Photos: Nidhi Lodaya

‘Tis the season of mangoes. So naturally, the dessert was Aam Sutra (₹495) which was a mango sorbet with coconut rasmalai. Mango and coconut seems to be an acquired taste and this dish divided the table into the ones who loved it and the ones who didn’t prefer this flavour profile. Unfortunately, we were part of the latter group.