Food: Is this the best curry in Hull? - Tapasya Review

We go out to eat a lot, maybe one or twice a week minimum at the moment, so we've worked our way around quite a few eateries. Between my herbivore leanings and the Carnivore's expert opinion on all things meat, we make quite a kick ass food tasting duo. But, I stumbled upon a place recently that is really something and so I thought I should bring it to your attention toot suite!

I've wanted to visit Tapasya for a long time, since I heard it did Indian food with a fine dining twist but if I'm honest, its out of town location meant we just never got around to it. Now that I've visited I'm absolutely sure it's worth the journey.
We booked ahead for a Friday night and got dolled up for date night, but when we arrived the dress code was more casual than we had expected. Luckily we didn't feel at all out of place, as there was a nice mix of friends out for a casual supper and couples canoodling in corners, in fact it was refreshing that it didn't feel at all stuffy or pretentious. 
We were warmly greeted at the door and immediately offered the new Indian Summers cocktail menu, which has every yummy gin cocktail you could imagine on it. 
I ordered the Pinkster and the Carnivore ordered the Yorkshire gin cocktail, which sounded very manly indeed. We settled back into our plush leather chairs and watched the bartender at work swishing and whirling the cocktail shaker. Eventually our masterpieces were ready and they tasted as good as they looked. Is there anything more refreshing than gin on a summer's evening?
Whilst we slurped on our gin, the menu was explained to us, as we were here to try the seven course Indian Summers tasting menu. Our lovely waiter explained that the concept was created by their talented Head Chef who dreamed up the idea of capturing the essence of hazy summers in India, with spicy cuisine paired with cool gin cocktails to match each course. 
Having never had gin with Indian food before we were intrigued and game to try something new. Promptly we were taken over to our table, walking through a stylish and contemporary space, with cool private dining areas for special celebrations. 
We loved that, although the restaurant was not at all stuffy, there was an extremely high standard of presentation and service from the waiters, which wouldn't be out of place in a smart London brasserie. The menu we were given was fairly meaty and fishy, so I had asked ahead of time for a vegetarian alternative and was told it would be no problem at all.
We were pleased when the first course arrived quickly and our tummies rumbled in anticipation. With seven courses ahead of us we knew we would have to pace ourselves and luckily the amuse bouche was the perfect little morsel to whet our appetite. With flaky pastry, a spiced chickpea filling and crunchy pomegranate seeds on top, the panui purri had us ready for more. 
The next dish came with a choice of wine or fresh cherry gin, so we split the difference and had one each but when the cocktail arrived we were fighting over it. Before fisty cuffs could break out we were presented with a Spinach, cashewnut and cottage cheese patty, with a fresh yoghurt and a sweet onion chutney.

This was one of my favourite dishes of the meal as the flavours were so delicately matched, spicy, salty, sweet and the textures complemented each other so well. At this point we knew we were in for a real treat and couldn't believe we still had several courses left to go.

We had a chat with our waiter in between courses as we'd heard on the grapevine that Tapasya was opening a new restaurant and we wanted the low down. It turns out that it is going to be in the very trendy and upcoming Fruit Market area right in the centre of Hull. I did a silent cheer thinking that there would be no more excuses to not visit, not that it would put me off now I'd tasted the food. 
Next up our menu choices diverged and the Carnivore went down the seafood route with Roeless King scallops,which we were told had been made in a clay oven to release the flavours and sat on a creamy red pepper marinade and topped with a slightly tart apple saffron sauce. 
My option was spiced onion bhajis on the same apple saffron sauce which gave it a lovely kick and lifted the dish to a different level. We both did that thing were you mmm and ahhh and nod your head vigorously to each other whilst you're busily chowing down. 
The gin pairing with this dish was a little scottish number with an apple wedge flavour which completed our dishes perfectly. I really liked the fact that the staff wait to see when you've finished your drink before bringing the next course out. It gave us lots of time to chat, relax and not feel rushed through the meal. 

Until this point the portions had been fairly delicate and we were ticking along quite nicely but, as our waiter approached with the next course, I felt the familiar sense of eyes being bigger than belly.

 The Carnivore enjoyed spiced chicken mince skewered, with peppers chargrilled to give them a slight smokiness, on a mustard chilli sauce. I think this was the stand out dish for the Carnivore who loved the mustard chilli sauce, which had a wasabi flavour to it - the kind that makes your eyes water but in a really good way.
The herbivore option was a layered aubergine dish that had a delicious chunky tomato, pea and onion curry delicately layered on top that was also yummy but also quite large and I could feel myself filling to the brim.
The drink paired with this course was a Portobello Gin with Pink grapefruit which really cooled the spice down. For anyone who is not a fan of chilli, the combination of gin with the meal just immediately took away the heat and added a lightness which you wouldn't normally associate with Indian food. I decided on the spot to try this at home in the future.
Luckily the next course was a mango sorbet which also helped cool things down a bit and gave us a bit of respite to regain our appetite.
On the next table over were two chaps also having the seven course tasting menu and commenting that they'd spend more on a big night out, as for £40 without drinks or £60 with, it was amazing value. I honestly thought it would be more and thought it'd be a lovely date night treat, not just reserved for special occasions.

We were surprised, delighted and a little alarmed when the next course was a full curry with rice and naan bread. Feeling full but not wanting to miss out on the delicious food in front of us, we got our second wind and got stuck in.

The Carnivore was presented with lamb rump which had been seared and cooked on a low heat, with a rich but fresh turnip, fennel, dry ginger flavoured gravy. The herbivore (me) had a spicy paneer cheese and vegetable curry which was oh so delicious and something I would definitely order next time we want to go out for a curry. The gin pairing had a crisp orange and lime flavour to it which played to the flavours and really made it feel summery and light.

With our sides positively heaving, we left most of the naan bread and rice but devoured the curries.  The Carnivore said the lamb was some of the most tender he'd had in a long, long time and loved that it came with extra sauce depending on personal taste.
We chatted and caught up about our day and reminisced about our recent trip to India. We could almost picture the orange hazy glow of sunset and the way it used to hang on the horizon for what felt like hours before quickly falling away into the sea. There is something so magical about India - from the friendliness of the people, to the stunning scenery and spicy aromas that this restaurant sums up but all packaged in a modern, clean, contemporary British decor.
Once we'd caught our breath and regained a bit of our appetite, it was time for dessert which was a light and fresh mango, curd cheese saffron and cardamon dish with pistachios. The gin was absolutely gorgeous and so distinctive with cardamom and blood orange top notes which worked perfectly with the sweetness of the dessert for me but the Carnivore said he could drink on its own anytime.
All in all it was a beautiful meal and a wonderful experience. It won't be long before we're back and we've already told anyone who will listen to try it for themselves. With the new restaurant opening in September we think our next visit will be overlooking Hull's marina reminiscing about that Indian sunset again
Have you ever been blown away by a meal or been somewhere where they pair your food with drinks? I'd love to hear your recommendations about where we should try next.

*this is a collaborative post but all views are honest and my own

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