How are you doing? It’s been a long weekend for this foodie that included zipping across the country to cover a restaurant launch and reviewing restaurants (more on that in another post).
I was lucky to be invited to the launch party of the year, as Asha’s opened its doors for the first time on Thursday 17th September.
It’s a gorgeous space in a Grade II listed building and I couldn’t help but waltz through the doors with bated breath as me and Gal Pal S awaited a foodie evening that would take our breath away.
To those of you not into your Bollywood, Asha Bhosle is a legend. She’s recorded over 11,000 thousand songs, features in the Guinness Book of Records, is a passionate cook and is an all round thoroughly fabulous dame.
The evening was packed with fun, good food and excellent company (Gal Pal S, I’m looking at you). Right from the outset, we were looked after. The concierge were polite, silently swishing away our bags and pointing us in the direction of the gathering on the first floor.
The first thing that hits you is the warm welcome. There were big smiles all round and I must add a hat-tip to Giordana Annibal (General Manager extraordinaire), Georgie and Shakeel who provided sublime service all night. What will make you stop in your tracks is the decor, because when you glance around, you’ll realise what a stunning job the interior designers (Luxe Interior International) have undertaken.
We found our way upstairs and after a little mingling (Khumi Burton, I wish we had a chance to chat more!), planted at a table and enjoyed the rest of the evening. It was lovely to meet so many fabulous folk, including the pretty witty fashionista Alia Raffia, totally rocking her buttery beige and embellished gear.
We nibbled on the most delectable platters of food. Murg Tikka (corn-fed chicken tikka cooked in tandoor oven) was succulent and subtly spicy, whilst the Tandoori Broccoli (mildly spiced broccoli florets marinated in yogurt, cheese and olive oil) was so moreish, I could happily have eaten that all night. To parents of little ones who are struggling to get their kids to eat greens, I’d strongly recommend you get down to Asha’s Manchester, eat copious amounts of the Tandoori Broccoli, figure out the recipe, and try to replicate at home. Your kids will love you (seriously).
The Murg Malai Kebab (boneless chicken breast, marinated in creamy cheese and cashew nut paste with a touch of cardamom) was another gorgeous dish, beautifully straddling the line between mildly spicy to packing a punch.
What I love about Asha’s is that the chefs think out of the box and come up with inventive flavours. The Guinea Fowl Hariyali Tikka (guinea fowl marinated in ginger and garlic, fresh coriander, cashew, cheese and spices) was delectable, smooth yet gamey on the palate, whilst the cashew added a lovely creamy dimension.
The trio of desserts was picture perfect. The Classic Lemon Tart (tangy lemon loveliness topped with light, fluffy meringue) was scrummy in all its zingy glory, whilst the Chilli Chocolate Tart (served warm with a gooey chilli chocolate centre) was deliciously dark. The New York Style Cheesecake (cheesecake featuring an almond & pistachio base) was my favourite, because it was slightly salty with a gorgeous, nutty aftertaste.
All the food was washed down with various cocktails throughout the night. Asha’s Punch (Bacardi Fuego, cognac, honey mead, cherry wine, osmanthus flower tea, citrus, house grenadine finished with champagne) was fragrant and a proper thirst-quencher, whilst the Bollini (peach, strawberry, raspberry or passion fruit made special with Bollinger Special Cuvée) was perfect for a warm summer’s evening.
Did you go to Asha’s? What did you think of the launch and food? One of my stand-out dishes was the Mushroom Kurkure (mushrooms stuffed with cheese, peppers and crushed black peppercorns, lightly dipped in batter and deep-fried). Asha’s Manchester is the kind of place I would take my vegetarian family. You go to some restaurants and vegetables are treated like a second rate ingredient. Not so in Asha’s kitchens.
The respect with which the dishes are served (and cooked no doubt) is obvious. My mom used to say, that one can really tell when a dish has been made with love. Well, there’s a whole load of foodie love going on in at Asha’s Manchester. I beg, pray and plead that you visit. Do your taste-buds a favour and give them the treat they deserve.
For more information about Asha’s Manchester, hop onto website www.ashasrestaurant.co.uk or call 0161 832 5309 now.