Internationally renowned Indian restaurant group Asha’s (owned by and named after Bollywood legend Asha Bhosle, in case you didn’t know) has become synonymous with Manchester’s fine dining Indian scene.
Head chef Ashwani Rangta leads the way with fresh, innovative menus that mix traditional Indian flavours and techniques with seasonal British ingredients. As a result, Asha’s was awarded a Michelin plate in 2017, making it the only Indian restaurant in Greater Manchester to be listed in the Michelin Guide.
Looking to build on this success, over the summer Asha’s team headed out to Mumbai (where the restaurant’s roots lie) on a voyage of discovery: seeking to sample the area’s many popular street food offerings and bring its incredible flavours and heritage back to Manchester with a new, limited edition Autumn menu – which they’ve aptly named Three Indians & An Englishmen.
During their time in Mumbai, executive chef Navin, corporate chef Bobby, operations manager Rajan and Manchester general manager Matthew Firth (the Englishman on the team) got stuck in exploring the city’s vast street-food and restaurant offerings.
Matthew tells us the trip was “an eye-opening experience” and that they “tried to visit the nooks and corners of the city to enjoy the best of all cultures” during their short trip.
As part of their brief tour, the group immersed themselves in the sights, smells and tastes of the city, bringing home six special dishes inspired by the very best of what they enjoyed on their travels.
Each inspired by a special experience, these are the stories behind Asha’s new Mumbai dishes. They’re available in the restaurant until the end of November.
Inspired by a group visit to Konkan Swad, a popular restaurant in the suburbs of Mumbai heralded for serving the most authentic gomantak food in the city, corporate chef and MasterChef quarter finalist Bobby Rangta whipped up this rich and thick curry dish on their return to the UK. Made with a slow-cooked leg of lamb and served with crispy matchstick potatoes and homemade pickles, Asha’s Salli Boti is flavoursome, incredibly more-ish and without a doubt one of our favourites on this new Mumabi menu.
This is the second item on Asha’s new menu inspired by their love of Konkan Swad’s Gomantak cuisine. The desi-style chicken curry is chef Navin’s interpretation of their stand-out favourite and comes served with fluffy vadas on the side, perfect for soaking up all that tasty gravy at the end of your meal.
Matthew tells us about the night that inspired this dish: “We sat in traffic, then we sat in more traffic and then we wanted to go back to the hotel. But then we arrived and ate at Konkan Swad late one night – it was a revelation..”
Vada Pav Sliders
The Vada Pav first rose to fame here back in December 2016, when then newly-opened Bundobust first began to take Manchester by storm. Also known as the Bombay burger, this deep-fried potato delight happens to be one of the most legendary street food items in Mumbai – rising to popularity as a cheap and quick on-the-go snack for the city’s many workers. Asha’s team headed to Ashok, renowned for selling over 3,000 vada pavs for just $0.30 every day, to sample Mumbai’s best. Then they created this bite-sized slider selection for us Mancs to enjoy at home.
Machli Tawa Masala Fry
Inspired by a team visit to the world-renowned seafood restaurant Mahesh Lunch Home, which specialises in fresh Mangalorean seafood dishes cooked home style, Asha’s chefs created this simple and fresh fish dish using locally caught Hamour fish. Served with a light and refreshing salad, this is an ideal dish to enjoy as part of a light lunch.
Chicken Berry Biryani
Following a trip to Mumbai’s Jimmy Boy, which has been pioneering Iranian inspired dishes in the city for decades, Asha’s team were inspired to create their own version to bring back to Manchester. A tasty dish with shredded chicken, Parsi berries and pilau rice, this is high in protein and jam-packed with goodness to see you through your day.
Kohlapuri Mixed Vegetables
Last but not least, this zingy tomato vegetable curry is full of chillis, spices and the best-tasting veg. Introduced as Asha’s tribute to the markets of Mumbai, their incredible produce and people, this curry is bursting with flavour and a steal too at just £9.95 a pop.
The Mumbai menu is only available for a limited time (until 30th November 2018) so make sure to book in to sample these delights before they are gone.
With future trips on the horizon planned to further regions including Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkatta and the Himalayas, we’re very excited to see what the team bring back from their travels next.