Bar Review: Asha’s, Manchester
We all need a little glamour in our lives. Or maybe that’s just me? Especially after the last couple of weeks which have mostly involved me being chained to my desk (not literally) or hiding in the gym with a pile of weights.
I’m in dire need of a little glitz, a little glamour, a little zsush.
And I don’t just mean wearing something other than a pair of leggings and some Converse. I mean my surroundings. I love the gym, but spending your evenings surrounded by the grunts of bench boys, the smell of metal and the thunk of weights, sometimes needs to give way to something prettier, more soothing.
So on a Monday evening, where better to take my mind, and Mr GFB, than to Asha’s on Peter Street. The lighting is soft and warm, as is the welcome, and the glitz of the Bolli Bar is balm to a practical soul.
This evening was all about small plates and cocktails, and began, as you’d expect, with poppadums.
I mean what visit to an Indian restaurant doesn’t? Unless of course, you’re one of those lucky (or just savvy) people who doesn’t overindulge on poppadums before anything else arrives. These crisp halves were served with an array of chutneys. From the lightly spiced, to the rich and moreish, the coriander chutney and the tomato and prune disappeared swiftly. As did a second round of poppadums.
Soon we had cocktails to occupy us. Mine, the refreshing Delhi Devil with gin, fresh pomegranate and mint leaves muddled with lemon juice and topped with ginger beer. But it paled in comparison to that of Mr GFB.
This is the Cashew Barfi – toasted cashew, bourbon, condensed milk, and Assam tea cold brew. Sweet but balanced by the Assam, this was beautifully presented and would work well as a dessert cocktail.
To accompany our drinks, we indulged in the Bolli Bar speciality, small plates.
Tender chicken tikka pickle with a gentle acidity, seafood seekh kebabs and cheese stuffed mushrooms, alongside cheese topped keema fries. A tasty blend of east and west in mouth size bites.
Our second cocktails (well they are 2 for £10 before 7pm) more than matched the first. Sadly, I couldn’t indulge in the most intriguing on the menu, Butterflys in the City as it uses chamomile (stupid allergies), so instead I opted for the no less delicious Empress Wu – a blend of gin and mandarin liqueur with lime, pink grapefruit, locally foraged dandelion and burdock and yuzu bitters. As a citrus lover, this was another fresh number, but with a little more bite than the first. Perfect if sweet isn’t your thing.
Mr GFB again had the prettier of the two, with the Manchester Tart. This cocktail features vanilla vodka, Chambord, coconut and pineapple, which is topped with a prosecco and passion fruit foam, and served with a mini Manchester Tart. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most popular cocktails in Asha’s, and whilst again, it was sweet, the foam was surprisingly well balanced and it’s richness would make it perfect as a dessert again.
Though why you would deny yourself a frozen kulfi, I wouldn’t know. These little nibbles are quite addictive.
Asha’s is a tasty haven of glamour, when you need it. Relaxed dining, whilst still making you feel like royalty.
See you at the Bolli Bar.
These drinks and accompanying nibbles were supplied for free by Asha’s Manchester. As ever, this doesn’t guarantee a positive review (if anything, I tend to be a harsher critic). In this case, we were more than happy with the service, meal and venue. Thank you.