Restaurant Review: Asha's
Avg. Cost per Person:115 Dhs
Location:Wafi, Oud Metha , Dubai
Rate this Restaurant
Live Like a Maharaja menu
04 324 4100
If you’ve lived long enough in the UAE, there’s a good chance you’ve dined at Asha’s. Or at least heard of it. Because let’s face it: who doesn’t like Indian food?
It’s been 15 years since the namesake of famed Indian singer Asha Bhosle, considered a national treasure, opened its first branch at Wafi. While the restaurant has aggressively expanded since into the GCC and to the UK, the original location has managed to stay relevant despite the massive boom in the UAE’s culinary scene in the past few years, especially in the very competition Indian cuisine market.
While the interiors could do with a bit of a refresh, the highlight of this restaurant continues to be its food, made with a lot of heart.
We recently went to try out the Live Like a Maharaja menu, a specially curated 14-dish selection that was launched last year, but was so in-demand that the restaurant’s brought it back. As the name suggests, the dishes are inspired by the meals of royals sourced from across India.
We started off with the alu khusnuma (Dh42), the restaurant’s take on the North Indian snack featuring potato chunks stuffed with paneer and dry fruits and served with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds. It’s savoury, flavourful, and tangy. A great appetiser for what’s to come.
Next was the kumbh jhinge lazeez (Dh69), prawns marinated in coriander and garlic and then stuffed into button mushrooms. They melt in your mouth like butter, with the earthy taste of the mushroom giving it a that kick — it will have you reach for more. Another top class starter.
Another starter jheenga be-aab (Dh65) is described in the menu as the ‘jewel in the crown’ because it’s inspired by the Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad’s recipe. Prawns cooked in a gravy of onions, tomatoes and cashew nuts with some supposedly secret spices, served on a flattened shell. This was the highlight of our meal and the highest scorer of the night, for the flavours are nothing like I’ve had before, rich and aromatic, spicy and savoury.
The tangadi kebabs (Dh59), chicken drumsticks marinated in spices from Lucknow, were good but didn’t quite stand out. The Emperor’s Platter (Dh225), a sharing platter of fish and chicken kababs, had the same fate, mostly because variations of them are served in almost every Indian restaurant.
From the main course, the highlight was the rampuri paya biryani (Dh155), from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh in North India, featuring slow cooked baby lamb served with basmati rice cooked in lamb jus. As a lifelong biryani fan, this hit the spot in many respects: from the flavouring and colouring of the rice, to the softness of the meat and the presentation.
There’s also prawn Travancore (Dh79), a curry from South India, and nalli nihari (Dh85), lamb shanks cooked in thick gravy, from North India.
Of course we couldn’t eat all of it as much as we’d like to. So from the dessert selection, my highlight was shahi tukda (Dh38), one of my favourite Indian sweets — a kind of bread pudding served with reduced milk, pistachios and almonds. A beautiful way to end a meal that’s worthy of a king.