Veggie lunch watch: Asha’s restaurant, Birmingham.


Some restaurants will always hold a special place in your heart. The type of place that you go back to because it conjures those memories that make us who we are. 

That is certainly the role that Asha’s in Birmingham City Centre fills. It was here that Ruth and I ate on our first proper date, where we talked and ate for what felt like ages. On that night I can remember talking about singer Nick Drake and the place his music fills in both our lives, laughing and feeling happy that I’d met someone like Ruth who I could talk to at length and who shared my love of food. 

Then on another occasion I remember celebrating our engagement here with friends, of eating there with my brother a few weeks before I got married to Ruth, a little celebration, a toast to the future.

So for my Birthday lunch on this occasion it seemed the right place to go. 

What is it about some places that have this resonance, have this pull? Is it the food, the atmosphere, or does the memory fuel the desire to revisit? In Asha’s case it’s all of those. 

     
  

Asha’s is located on Newhall Street, in what is known as the Colmore Business District of the City Centre. Approximately 5 minutes from the shops, the restaurant offers a large bar area that serves cocktails (recommended) and is a good venue for private parties and celebrations. 

Rated in the Michelin Guide, Asha’s has a stylish, but cosy and warm feel about it with a sophisticated note that stems from the clientele and delicious cocktails that it serves. Decor is exotic (a bit Bollywood) and the menu is extensive with good and varied choices for vegetarians.

  

Asha’s offer an Executive Lunch. 

For £16.95 you get 2 courses, with pulao rice, vegetable raita, Popadoms and a selection of bread. The price also includes either a glass of red or white wine, beer, soft drink or mineral water. There is one Vegetarian choice on the starters and main courses (which may deter some) with four non vegetarian main courses including a fish curry. 

The vegetarian options were a Vegetarian Kebab Platter (Paneer Ka Soola, Aloo Tikka, Papdi Chat) and the main course of Kadhai Paneer. 

  
  Crisp Popadoms with varied dips, some of the best I’ve eaten. 

  
    
  Starter: Comprised of Paneer Ka Soola: A delicious marinated, firm paneer piece, juicy, served with a green pepper that had a nice deep spice flavour. This contrasted the Aloo tikka or spiced potato patties. The perfect Northern indian street food. Asha’s were hot, spicy, with a crisp outside and soft inside with a good savoury flavour. and perfect with the creamy Papdi Chaat. 

For me one of the best dishes in Birmingham. A lovely street food dish. With a Creamy and crunchy texture, a melt in the mouth fusion of chick peas, potatoes and yogurt. Sweet, sour, tangy and spicy flavours. This dish had me in Mumbai. A Delicious and varied vegetarian starter platter.

  Rice and breads with a glass of Red wine.

 

   Kadhai Paneer:

My main course was the Kadhai Paneer and came with the pulao rice, vegetable raita and selection of breads, including Naan and Roti.

A mouthwatering dish, delicious gravy like consistency, paneer  blended with tomatoes onion, with a good spicy lift that served with the Naan made for an exotic taste. Lovely. 

   Nice vegetable raita.

  
  

Kadhai paneer served in a nice bowl.

 

Asha’s is stylish and exotic with a keen eye on the business surroundings outside. The vegetarian options on the Executive Lunch Menu are cooked with aplomb and are plentiful Asha’s is a sophisticated spot, with a warm feel and atmosphere especially on the weekend. 

Birmingham has many curry houses but if you want a superior meal in Birmingham City Centre then you won’t go far wrong with Asha’s. For value and quality the Asha’s Executive Lunch is a steal and a lovely way of spending that hour of the day which is so precious and for a celebration it’s well worth revisiting. 

Thanks for reading, 

Andy 😊

We paid for our lunch in full. All opinions expressed are mine and honest as always. 

Ruth enjoyed a glass of house white with her meaty curry and myself a glass of house red with our lunch. Both went well with the dishes. 

VEGGIEFOODIE GUIDE TO: CURRY RESTAURANTS


Today I’m introducing a new guide to my blog Veggie Foodie. This will be an occasional listing and musings on a different foodie topic. The list and guide isn’t a definitive but some of my favourites and recommendations to look out for.

To kick off, I’ve decided to look at Curry Restaurants in Birmingham, with a few from outside the area that i’ve come accross or visited.

Curry in its various guises is for many vegetarians and vegans their go to food. It is for me and often the first meal I have when I come back from a holiday abroad for instance.

For vegetarians, it seems it is the cuisine that we have the most options on the menu.

There are a number of pure vegetarian curry restaurants, sweet shops, and cafe’s in Birmingham

Deepalis: An Indian vegetarian restaurant in the Jewellery Quarter which is smart and offers a good range of dishes. Comes well recommended.

16 Hall Street, Jewellery Quarter, B18 6BS

0121 265 4726

http://www.deepalisrestaurant.co.uk

They also have a smaller cafe in Sparkbrook:

1A Alfred Road, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B11 4PB

Sangam A vegetearian Cafe/sweet centre. Authentic curries, samosas, Pakoras, bhajis, to eat in and take away. Highly recommended.

334 Soho Road, Handsworth B21 9NA

Milan Sweet Centre: Vegetarian sweet centre, cafe and resturant. Good choices and always busy.

191 Stoney Lane, Sparkbrook, Birmingham B12 8HB. 0121 449 1617

Jyoti restaurant together with sweet centre is one of my favourites, offering 72 main courses and 15 starters, with an autthentic sweet centre to take away or eat in. Highly recommended. A favourite of Jamie Oliver. A personal favourite.

1045 Stratford Road, Hall Green, B28 8AS.

0121 778 5501. Booking can be made online at http://www.jyotis.co.uk

Pop Up Dosa: Making vegetarian dosa at home, at markets, at cafe. Offering cooking classes, and pop ups. See them at Ort Cafe in Moseley/Balsall Heath. See previous review on my blog. Superb.

@popupdosa

http://www.popupdosablogspot.co.uk

My favourite curry restaurants that are superb for veggies are:

Lasan Restaurant: Contemporary, stylish and delicious, high end curry that packs a punch in lovely classy surroundings near St Pauls Square. A treat at any time. See previous review.

Lasan, 3-4 Dakota Buildings, James Street, St Pauls Square, Jewellery Quarter, B3 1SO 0121 212 3664

http://www.lasan.co.uk

Pushkar Restaurant: beautiful Cocktails, great curries, superb service on Broad Street. Highly recommended for that touch of class and sophistication.

Pushkar, 245 Broad street, Birmingham b1 2HQ

http://www.pushkardining.com

0121 643 7978

Ashas delicious curries, good veggie choices, consistent service, good lunch time deal and cocktails. Lovely restaurant, in central Birmingham off Colmore Row.

Ashas Restaurant: Edmund House, 12-22 Newhall Street B3 3LX

http://www.ashasrestaurant.com

0121 200-2767

Itihaas restaurant Exquisite, Indian food, lovely colonial style environment with superb attentive service. Excellent vegetarian options. Recommended.

Itihaas also have a cafe in Selfridges Food Hall. Eat in or take away.

18 Fleet Street, Birmingham, B3 1JL

0121 212-3383.

http://www.itihaas.co.uk

Also to be recommended are:

Punjabi Rasoi:Authentic Cooking and attentive service in Acocks Green Birmingham.

Kababish: Long standing curry house in Moseley, excellent curries, consistent with good service. Next to the Patrick Kavanagh pub. Recommended.

Maharaja: Long standing and consistent. Old style service, and authentic curries. The saag paneer is superb. Next door to the Hippodrome on Hurst Street.

Raja Monkey cafe superb dosas, talis and curries. A lovely take away too. Owned by the Lasan Group.

Also on my radar are:

EastZEast new curry restaurant on Broad Street. Had good and tasty reviews. Good veggie options. ‘The home of Punjabi cooking’

Horseshoe: Refurbished old pub in Hall Green. Recommended by Paul Fulford of the Birmingham Mail.

Sylhet Spice on York Road, Kings Heath. Has a good reputation locally and also does takeaways. Always busy. Loyal regulars.

Imlees in Moseley, on the Alcester Road also has a good reputation and a bring your own bottle policy. Always busy.

Al Frash: On LadyPool Road, perenial favourite, balti dishes and bring your own.

Delhi 6: Sutton Coldfield favourite: Good reviews and recommendations. Good veggie options.

Street Food:

Becky’s Bhajis: Onion bhajis sold at food markets and street food days. Vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Outside Birmingham:

Mendhi Vegetarian Indian Restaurant in Droitwich Worcestershire. Comes recomended. Pure vegetarian curries.

Prashad vegetarian restaurant near Bradford Yorkshire: Gordon Ramsey favourite With a Superb cookbook. Always popular and run the Veggie hour on Twitter once a month.
One to visit.

Also in Yorkshire, North to be precise and Leeds to be exact, is an Indian vegetarian restaurant called Hansa. Which is Gujarati and run by all women. I have heard good reports. They have won
Cobra good curry awards, and also have a vegetarian Indian cook book like Prashad.

Bernares Berkeley Square London: A superb Indian Restaurant. High end and Michelin Starred. One of the best curries i’ve ever had in glam Mafair.

As I’ve said it isn’t a definitive list and I will add to it as I go along.

If anybody has any favourites that serve good veggie dishes please let me know either in the comment box below or via twitter @andydhare

Thanks for reading.

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Lasan Restaurant

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Pushkar Restaurant

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Pop up Dosa