It’s going to be unlike any other luxury dining restaurant in T&T, or so assures The Meena House’s owner, Umesh Meena.
In an interview with Sunday Guardian, Meena who has been
living in T&T for the past five years, after being brought from India to work at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, "breaks down" the definition of "The Meena House."
"The Meena House offers an international modernistic cuisine
which is traditionally Indian, the roots are traditional and
incorporates much of my experience and journey as a chef," he
When it comes to just how authentic he’s talking, Meena said there was
absolutely no compromising or changing of any traditional recipe. He doesn’t even refer to the restaurant’s culinary offering as "East Indian," saying the term is really a "Trinidadian" mention. He articulated that Indian cuisine itself is very diverse and is also very regional.
The meal he prepared for the Sunday Guardian on our visit to the Alcazar Street, St Clair establishment, was a classic example.
In the restaurant’s kitchen, we had the chance to help Meena assemble a lobster biryani—a fusion of lobster, rice, and spices all tossed up together and served with a fresh tomato-based gravy and yoghurt sauce.
The popular Indian rice dish really originated in the Middle East, from Iran during its dynasty rule in India under the Mughal Empire. Needless to say, we also sampled the scrumptious "cook up", and it was immensely satisfying, to say the least.
Another distinct feature you would find at The Meena House is its superb service. Meena is big on customer care and service, and he told us he finds that lacking very much in T&T since he’s been here.
Laughing he says, "You won’t come here looking around for the
wait staff, wondering where they are or find grumpy people."
In fact, on our visit, prior to the official opening last Wednesday, though its doors were still closed to the public, there was still quite a buzz happening on the inside.
We were subsequently told that this was as a result of the ongoing training of staff to ensure once opened, customers would receive the best service they could find on the island.
Meena said much of his life has been spent in the hospitality industry but he always felt becoming a chef and restaurant owner would be the opportunity to introduce people to an incomparable service.
Apart from The Meena House service and cuisine that Meena
boasts about, the ambience is another conversation. The
marriage between Victorian and Middle Eastern style in its
décor, inclusive of paintings and furniture, and with a
traditional Indian touch to finish, particularly adds to the
The two-storey restaurant also offers an intimate
and somewhat romantic setting that makes good for private
celebrations and marriage proposals—the latter, Meena is
hoping occurs frequently.
Like sugar and spice, everything becomes nice at The Meena
House, with Meena’s obsession with the world’s greatest spices. He even has an entire "spice room" visible to customers who choose to dine on the upper floor.
In his spice room, there are bottles and jars filled with various spices from around the globe. The most interesting to me was the mango spice. I’d not heard of such before and certainly, I’d like to try any dish that incorporates it.
With a platter in hand, filled with raw spices, Meena said it’s
these little seeds and root barks that make all the difference in
how good or not so good a meal tastes.
When the restaurant opened on June 19, 2019, it was as Meena imagined—beautiful people enjoying great tasting food, a new spot, great conversation and the perfect ambiance.
"I hope that our customers would continue to enjoy every moment spent here as I have enjoyed every moment creating The Meena House," he says.