Asha’s (Birmingham City Centre)

5 Oct

(Yes, this is not a restaurant in Manchester. A poor first showing for a blog about food and drink in Manchester, but forgive me this one as it is well worth the journey if you’re in Birmingham)

Asha's Entrance

Certain things help to announce the arrival of the weekend better than a professional announcer announcing the arrival of a new personal announcement system. My favourite one of these is a Friday Night Curry. So you can picture the delight on my face when I found myself at one of the finest curry houses in Birmingham; Asha’s.

Anyone who knows curry, knows that Birmingham spoils you for choice and that there is some debate about the best curry house in town. Many will side with Lasan, made even more famous by its appearance on that Gordon Ramsey programme (just checked, it was the F word), however there are people who will tell you Asha’s is better, namely some people I spoke to. I haven’t been to Lasan yet so I can’t comment, but Asha’s is definitely worth your time.

Food

Straight to business. You can’t go far wrong on this menu as it is not the small telephone directory of curries you find in some restaurants. The portions are not mean either. Say a big yes to the poppadoms. This is a fine call as there is a selection of plain and seeded poppadoms to go with the four great dips.

Amazing dips. I like the green one

We started off with the Fish Amaritsari (£5.95). The mint and cardamom really came through which is pretty impressive for a fried fish cake. The batter was light, dry and crisp outside but the inside mixed with the fish to give a really meaty texture. Here was a thin strip of sauce across the plate which tasted like tamarind which was so deliciously sweet with the meaty fish that I could have had a jug of it.

For the main, we went to town. The last time I was here we ordered the Tandoori Raan (£24.95) which was a sumptuous leg of lamb so tender it lept willingly off the bone and onto your fork, however it is overfacing and I wanted to try something different.  The Chicken Dhaba Curry  (£13.95) though prepared in a ‘road-side’ style had an incredibly delicate and zesty flavour to it. This went perfectly with the Peshwari naan which tempered the zest and let you enjoy the succulent chicken.

The Panjim Fish curry didn’t light up my world but the richness of the flavour and the flaky fish were just what the meal needed. For the veggie option we took the Hare Baingan Ka Bartha which consisted of a beautiful roasted aubergine dish that works so well on its own I just eat it from the dish.

One of the other nice touches here is the drinks

menu. The list of cocktails is extensive for a restaurant and as the bar is a great stand alone feature of the restaurant, they are professionally made. The Asha’s Spiced Tea was brilliantly refreshing but I thought the drinks menu did a better selling job than I could so ‘Premium vodka, gin, spiced rum and tequila shaken with fresh pressed lime juice and chai syrup served long over ice and charged with ginger beer.

Service

Normally not a major concern. Either the service is good and you’re happy or its shocking and you try to trip the waiter up as he ignores you and rushes past your table (honestly never done that). Here it was a little different. Our server gave us some recommendations, such as the peshwari nann with the Dhaba curry, which work to make the meal that little bit better. If I were rating the service I would give it 5 tricycles…and that’s why I don’t give ratings

Get yourself to Asha’s if your in Birmingham and if you’re not in Birmingham, they have convenient locations in Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, so you have no excuses not to go. Chop Chop!

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