We Put Manchester's Fanciest Indian Restaurant To The Test

DesignMyNight Drops By | DesignMyNight

The best takeaway and my favourite country for food ever; the dishes from this part of the world sing to me in a way no others ever could. But what about taking things up a notch with an Indian restaurant that has a fine dining spin? Cue Asha's, Manchester city centre's answer to that very question. Expectations high, I headed down one crisp spring day to check it out for myself.

Asha's Manchester Reviews | DesignMyNight

The Asha's Manchester reviews are in - and what a stunning Indian restaurant this is.

After tucking our coats away in the cloakroom, we were led upstairs to the first floor restaurant. If luxury had a specific look, I think the interiors here might just be it. A combo of dark wood, purple velvet seating, lantern-style light fittings and chainmail curtains (yep), the style felt regal without being too gaudy. We got straight down to business with the drinks list, perusing page upon page of cocktails. Eventually, my partner and I decided to pick our first on each other's behalf: a So Dubai (£14) for me and the Hot Rita (£10.50) for him. My passionfruit chai, honey, spiced rum and St Germain number really hit the spot for both earthiness and subtly sweet elderflower. The bird's eye chilli-laced choice was guzzled down equally happily, bringing tequila, orange liqueur and basil into the fold as well.

Thanks to a crisp outer coating and a fluffy inside, the potato cakes of aloo matar ki tikki (£8.95) made for a monster of a first course - a bargain price considering the size. Neatly arranged in a row, on a bed of curried chickpeas and with two sauces on top (one creamy, the other sharp and herby for balance), they also benefitted from the pop of exploding pomegranates each time I took a mouthful. A similar combo of dressings smothered my other half's palak chaat (£9.95). Fried spinach made up the majority of the plate, which was a welcome texture change from the indulgent yoghurt base. Another hit. Although on reflection, we probably could've shared an appetiser.

Asha's Manchester Menu | DesignMyNight

The perfect presentation of each drink and dish helps these guys be a contender for the best Indian restaurant in Manchester.

Next, more cocktails were on the cards. I was left rather jealous of my other half's pistachio whisky sour (£14) - a delish concoction of single malt scotch, nut syrup and orange bitters shaken with egg white. On the side? A little cone of masala pistachios, which made a lovely touch. The Maharaja's Mistress (£14) had caught my eye for the unique mix of rose jam, curry leaf-infused arrack, Champagne and rum, but I thought it could've done with some tweaking to balance the overpowering aniseed flavour.

Succulent pulled lamb and a spicy tomato-onion base made up the muscat gosht (£21.95) when mains came, which went down a treat. The guntur chicken curry (£19.95), meanwhile, was creamy without being too much and boasted the most tender chicken. It was rich, had medium heat, subtle hints of clove and delicious yoghurt running through. Perfectly fluffy biriyani rice (£5.50) accompanied, alongside two naans: garlic (£3.95) and Lancashire cheese (£5.95). I'd highly recommend both for providing two different kinds of bread - the former was slathered in butter and had a crispier bottom, while the latter was all the more pillowy with a light filling.

Asha's Manchester Indian Restaurant | DesignMyNight

Tender meat, rich sauces and fluffy rice - what more could a girl want from the Asha's menu?

As suckers for a bit of everything, the traditional Indian dessert platter (£10.95) finished our night. This was made up of pistachio kulfi (ice cream), rasmalai (cold cheese dumplings in sugary milk) and, my favourite, the soft, golden gulab jamun - little balls of fried cottage cheese soaked in syrup and served on pistachio rabri (a sweet condensed milk dish). We swilled these down with an Asha's spiced tea (£14) - a boozy muddle of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, lime, chai syrup and ginger beer - and the spicy berry martini (£10.50), which had a kick of raspberry, lychee and chilli to round off the evening.

The DesignMyNight Digest

The Asha's Manchester menu offers a feast fit for a king, with starters so gloriously filling they almost knocked us off course for the rest of the meal. Creamy, spicy, aromatic; whatever you like from your Indian, this restaurant delivers it in droves. Those unique, fruity cocktails to accompany mean any trip here is bound to leave you happy (and rolling all the way home).

  💰 The damage: Around £150 for three courses and three drinks each.

  📍  The location: 47 Peter Street, M2 3NG.

  👌 Perfect for: The most indulgent Indian meal.

 ⭐ Need to know: You can grab a bargain on pre-theatre, set and lunchtime menus.


For more of Manchester's best Indian restaurants, check out this guide. Sign up to our weekly newsletter to have reviews, guides and new openings landing in your inbox.