Tapasya is certainly no hidden gem when it comes to Hull’s foodie scene.
Any avid eater will know they create beautiful Indian dishes to Michelin standard, and are as far from your typical curry house as you could get.
With restaurants on Hull Marina, Beverley Road and the upcoming street food stall in Trinity Market, there is a reason this empire is expanding, and that is down to the sheer quality of what they provide.
The firm has recently acquired a new chef, who forged his career in the fires of New Delhi.
Gajendra Singh has worked in Indian restaurants around the world, under chefs with such prestige as Atul Kochhar, and he will now be spending his time between the two Tapasya branches.
A spokeswoman for the restaurant said: “Gajendra’s career has now reached the next level with his appointment as chef at Tapasya in Beverley Road and Tapasya@Marina in Hull.
“His fresh, creative ideas that have been forged throughout his career, working with some of the best chefs in the country, are perfectly suited to the restaurants.
“In their part of the UK, they are famed for their offering of Indian food served with finesse that cannot be found in the other local Indian restaurants.”
With the excitement of a new chef also comes the delights of a tantalising new a la carte menu.
This bountiful menu also has its downside, and that is in the inability to choose what you want.
Eventually, I settled on the Samudari Rattan (pan seared king scallops with sautéed bok choy and cauliflower puree) to start.
Costing £6.95, I was presented with four huge and fresh scallops, which tasted as if they had just been plucked from their sea bed.
Sitting on a bed of highly spiced sauce, the cauliflower puree accompanied the beautiful sweetness of these sea creatures, and the bok choy added a welcome bitterness.
My fellow diners opted for the Murgi Nazakat (charcoal grilled chicken breast three ways with mint and basil, poppy seed and Kashmiri chilli and cracked black pepper and dill), and it truly was a delicious starter.
Others chose the Galawati Kabab (Awadi lamb patties with mini naan, pickled onion and a mint sauce), as well as Gilafi Seekh (lamb and pepper skewers with fresh mint chutney) and Katli (pan fried aubergine steaks stuffed with seasonal vegetables and a pear and clove chutney).
There was yet more to choose from for starters, though, including fried tilapia, charcoal grilled vegetables, tandoori paneer and spiced potato dishes.
It’s safe to say we were all extremely happy with our choices, and tried our best not to spend the entrees in silence.
The main course also proved a tricky one to choose from, but thanks to a previous episode of Rick Stein I had watched, I knew which option to go for.
Myself and several others chose the First Class Railway lamb curry (Anglo-Indian lamb rump curry with masala roast potatoes), and it came with an interesting back story.
Originally served in the first class carriages of India’s famous railways in the height of the Raj, an Englishman had exclaimed how he loved the dish, but wanted it with a little less heat.
Ergo, the humble coconut milk was added and this deliciously spiced yet creamy sauce was created.
I was expecting a curry – silly me – but what came was absolute paradise.
The lamb rump had been seared to a beautiful pink and was placed on top of the mashed masala potatoes, accompanied with a jug of the thick and spicy railway sauce.
For £19.95, the amount of lamb was very reasonable, but the tastes were well worth the price.
Those around me went for the Champ-E-Awadh (lamb rack rubbed with a special spice mix with roast tomato chutney and a dill and tomato salad), Jal Murgi (roast duck breast with asparagus, caramelised shallots and plum sauce), Murg makhani (famous butter chicken with a creamy tomato and fenugreek sauce) and Sahi Malai Kofta (cottage cheese dumplings served in a rich cashew and onion cream sauce).
Other options on the menu included tandoori grilled king prawns, chargrilled baby chiekcn leg, Cornish monkfish, monkfish curry, Kashmiri lamb curry, biryani of the day and many more.
The smells from our table were a heady delight of cumin, mint and the myriad of breads and side dishes that we also poured over.
I’m happy to take the flack, but we couldn’t manage a pudding.
After the rich meals we had just consumed, we couldn’t ruin it with a pudding and tipping ourselves over the edge.
I’ll admit to undoing the top button of my jeans after the starter, so there was no chance of me fitting in my car if I’d gone for a dessert as well.
They did look lovely, though, with choices of sweet dumplings in sugar syrup and coconut, kulfi, sweet cheese and holy trinity of a selection of ice creams.
Having eaten at Tapasya in the past, I felt the starters always outshone the mains, but thankfully this time, the balance was perfect.
Each dish was wonderful, and it is now my destination of choice when choosing a venue for a special occasion or romantic date night.