Since I have moved to Dubai, I have heard only good things about the Indian fine dining restaurant Asha’s, owned by Bollywood singing sensation Asha Bhosle. They are hosting a Biryani festival nowadays, which sounded too good to not try out.
So one fine Wednesday night, a friend and I went down to check it out, all decked up. Although we were late by 30 minutes or so (reason: two toddlers throwing tantrums upon knowing their mums were about to have a good time), we were welcomed by a very pleasant and polite lady at the reception and were escorted to the table they had reserved for us.
The manager of the restaurant, Aniket, came over to greet and introduce us to the special Kebab and Biryani menu. Once service began, I struggled to pay attention to anything but the flavours of mouth-watering Indian delicacies they served us.
We started with a papad platter that consisted of two kinds of papad along with four chatnis. Our favourite was the one with thin slices of sweet papayas, which enhanced the flavour of everything we tried it with.
Next came a platter of kadak & reshmi sheekh kebab; latter was the traditional Reshmi kebab and former came with a twist of some cheese and crispy coating. While they nailed the Reshmi kebabs just right, we were surprised by the way Asha’s induced modern flavours in Kadak kebabs while keeping the traditional taste. The platter was wiped away within a few minutes.
Next came the Kofta Kham Khatai, which is the only veg item of this range. It’s a crispy fried bottle gourd and potato patty, made so beautifully that you feel a tad bit guilty for ruining the perfect exterior. Blame it on my carnivorous taste buds, but I was not as impressed by the taste as I was by the presentation. The sweet glaze on the patty overpowered all other flavours.
Then came the item we were most excited about; Jheenga Jalpari. The key ingredients of this dish are Prawns, cheese, bread crumbs and more prawns (used for the coating). While there are very few who would go wrong with this combination, Asha’s did an extra-ordinary job at bringing this dish to perfection. The sundried tomato chutney served with Prawns only enhanced the flavors, leaving us wanting more of this item.
The fourth item of the night was Bhatti ka Chaap. Once again, we were impressed by the presentation as the dish came covered with a clear glass cover under which, white cloud of smoke could be seen. It was so beautiful I had to ask the server to unlid the dish slowly so that I could capture its beauty on a video.
Although the flavors that coated the tandoor grilled boneless chicken pieces were impressive, we kept wishing the same flavors were infused deep inside the meat. While the top layer was juicy and full of everything yummy, the chicken piece itself lacked flavors. By the time we tasted this item, the standard of this restaurant was raised so high in our heads, that we were a bit disappointed by this amazing looking dish.
Once again, the manager came to us and asked what we would like to try from the main course i.e. Biryani range. We were so full that we requested him to give us a small serving of biryani of his choice. Followed by our instruction, came a royal looking Biryani thaal that looked like it had come right out of a Mughal kitchen. The server un-lid the thaal and beneath it we found the most delicious prawn biryani I have ever had; Chamadi Prawn Biryani. While I am not at all a prawn-biryani lover, I couldn’t stop taking a second serving for the fresh flavors of coconut, lime, coriander and mint combined with juicy prawns and rice that was made just right, refreshed our appetite all over again. This item was comparatively spicier than kebabs, so if you are not a spice eater, I’d recommend you to request for a milder version, while the hard-core spice eaters will love the original version.
While we had earlier decided that Jheenga Jalpari was the best item of the lot, we had to change our mind as biryani stole the show. After a brief discussion, the best item title was crowned to this biryani collectively by me and Haleema.
When we decided that we were full to the brim, we saw our ever-smiling server bring a plate containing Mango Kulfi (part of the main menu) our way. We couldn’t resist having a few bites of this kulfi which was served with tangy strawberry syrup that enhanced the flavors and provided a good end to our treat!
Over all, I would rate Asha’s as:
Ambiance: 9/10 (a dim light setting with spacious and comfortable seating decorated with artwork that will keep you entertained. An added treat of Asha jee’s songs being played in the background will take you back to 90s era)
Service: 10/10. (From the moment we entered till the moment we left, we saw the staff handling all guests with a smile on their faces. They definitely know how to make you feel special)
Food Quality: 9/10. (When you take the first bite of your food, you know it’s made with the freshest of ingredients and lots of love)
Price: 8/10. (The menu is a bit pricey but you get the value for money. Although there is no food like that made by mum, I still think I will be frequenting this restaurant from now on)
Overall: 9/10 (we left with happy face and filled tummies and although it’s already been a day to our visit, we can’t stop talking about the food we had)
There is only one thing that can stop two ladies from gossiping; Good Food! It’ll not be wrong to say that other than a few sentences here and there (about food itself), we were not able to hold a proper discussion.