Asha’s, owned by the legendary singer Asha Bhosle, has two branches in Dubai. Umm Hurair and Mall of the Emirates. I recently visited the former one, which was also the first Asha’s to open here. Started back in 2002, the restaurant is clearly not new to the city’s dining scene.
The place is decorated lavishly which wasn’t surprising. Dim lighting, shades of red, gold and brown decor with Asha Bhosle’s songs playing in the background (obviously). We chose to dine outdoors due to the cool weather, and I have to say, the seating outside doesn’t look “fine dining” material. Some wooden tables and chairs with flower pots that were scantily arranged. A stark difference from what was on the inside.
We started with a Watermelon Ginger and Lal Quila for drinks, as our server prepared the table for appetizers. I preferred the latter drink, made with pomegranate syrup, cranberry juice, blended with Vanilla ice cream, with a hint of rose essence. It had the right amount of sweetness, while the other was too strong on ginger.
For starters, we tried their King Prawns and Amritsari Machli, with a Speciality Platter. Decided to go a bit heavy on the kebab section as we heard gleaming things about them. And rightly so, the King Prawns were spot on. Looking at the size of them was enough to make our mouths water. Marinated with yoghurt, cheese and cardamom. The Amritsari Machli was good too, but too small for my liking. And also, they could surely be a little creative with the presentation?
Anyone heard of a Papdi Chaat sold for AED 50? Being inquisitive, I asked for one. This HAS to be the most disappointing dish of the evening. I’m sorry, but hiking up the price for a petty dish just because it’s a fine dining restaurant doesn’t make sense. More than half of the dish constituted of sev, with just around six papdis (The Eggplant Chaat from Junoon for AED 60 is not bad at all.).
The Speciality Platter was a hit and miss. Dry Seekh kebabs, didn’t even bother finishing it. I’ve yet to find a place that serves seekhs that aren’t so dry that they would refuse to get down throats without the use of water.
On the other hand, juicy and soft chicken tikka and murg malai were served. So soft that the meat almost melted in my mouth. The pieces were quite chunky too, glad that we ordered half portion or we wouldn’t have been able to have our main course.
As I was ordering my mains, our server couldn’t hide the look on his face, he also commented “that’s too much for you ma’am.”. Umm excuse me? I know how much my stomach can digest, and it’s certainly my choice as to what to ask for. Not surprisingly, the mains were of mediocre quality. The Malai Kofta curry was bland, with dates inside the kofta instead of the usual raisins. Different, but didn’t work out with taste. The Goan Cashew Curry has boneless pieces of chicken in a creamy sauce. I was told this was going to be spicy, but…oh well, never mind. Probably the only thing I liked was my Stuffed Kulcha with cauliflower.
Put off by the server’s attitude and even disappointing curries, I couldn’t wait to leave the place. Finally, our desserts arrived. Ras Malai and Chilli Chocolate Mousse.
Soft and fluffy Ras Malai, but the solution was too diluted for my taste. The Chilli Chocolate Mousse thankfully, was a success. Rich chocolate mousse with infused chillies, served with berries to balance your taste buds.
Personally, I feel the restaurant has home work to do. Being around for more than a decade sure comes with some tolls. Keeping yourself updated with changing dishes and attitude of staff counts, and shouldn’t be neglected at all.
Hungryoungwoman recommends the Kebab section and drinks for everyone planning to visit.