Friday, 23 February 2018

Whisky and Kebab Night


On Wednesday evening I attended the 'Whisky and Kebab' night at Asha's Restaurant in Manchester. Hosted by chef, Ashwani, the night provided a taster of a number of the restaurant's upcoming dishes.


We were also joined by Graeme Hunt of Bruichladdich, who gave an in depth explanation of the company and each type of whisky. Bruichladdich are a Scottish whisky company, with their distillery in the isle of Islay. They produce a variety of different scotch whiskies; three of which we tasted.

With only approximately 15 invitees, this sit down meal was intimate - allowing the opportunity for us to learn more about the alcohol and dishes provided. 


The night consisted of five courses, each paired with an alcoholic drink to compliment the dish.


Course 1

Harra Kebab



This dish is a vegetarian's dream. Well, to be perfectly honest, it was a dream for me too!

The Harra Kebab consisted of fresh pureed spinach which was fried in butter and then stuffed with  cashew nuts, raisins and spices. It was a really different type of 'kebab' from my traditional understanding of the word and, for me, much more enjoyable. This kebab had such a soft consistency - it just melted in your mouth. The mix of mint sauce and yoghurt was the perfect addition of flavour.

Served with the first and only gin of the night, Botanist Gin, the fragrant flavour of the alcohol complimented the dish perfectly. I'm definitely not used to drinking gin straight and at 46% it was pretty strong! However, as a one off, I strangely didn't mind the strength of it. 


Course 2

Tandoori Scallops



Firstly, can we just appreciate the presentation of this dish?! It is next level. I'm still obsessing over the addition of the shell - it was such a cute touch.

I'm not a massive fan of spice and this dish did have quite a kick to it. However, it wasn't too spicy that it was unbearable (so for any of you that, like me, aren't partial to spice, this dish will still be fine for you).

This dish was served with the first whisky of the night, Bruichladdich Classic Laddie. As a non-whisky drinker, I wasn't used to drinking such a strong alcohol without a mixer. However, this wasn't as bad as I thought and I finished the whole glass!


Course 3

British Lamb Chops



This was my favourite dish of the whole night. My mouth is literally watering thinking about how good it was. Before I talk about anything, I need to mention the potatoes. These potatoes, wow. No exaggeration, I think I can safely say they are the best potatoes I've ever had. Especially with this dish!

Lamb is one of my favourite meats so I couldn't resist this dish. The lamb was marinated in ginger and garlic, seasoned with spices and fresh coriander. This is one of the most popular dishes on the current menu and I can definitely see why.

Everything about this dish was perfection. The combination of the lamb meat, the mango sauce, the mild spice from the onion and the potatoes was just out of this world. I could genuinely eat this dish every day and I'd still be obsessed.

This dish was served with the Port Charlotte whisky. Smoked for over 48 hours, this whisky was strong. I really struggled to drink this straight. Lightweight, maybe. On the other hand, some people really enjoyed it. Graeme explained that due to personal preferences regarding the smokiness, people tend to either prefer the whiskies as they become more smoked or enjoy the earlier, less smoky whiskies. I was definitely in the latter group. For me, the more smoked the whiskies became, the stronger they were.


Course 4

Murg Malai Kebab



This dish consisted of chicken in a creamy cheese and cashew paste with a touch of cardamom. Again, I loved the presentation of this dish. The mix of colours made it aesthetically pleasing.

This kebab was served with Octomore whisky. Smoked for over 4 days and with a percentage strength of around 65%, it was honestly the strongest alcohol I've ever tasted. I could only manage one sip.

Sam, on the other hand, decided to down the glass. His reaction says it all...

(Apologies for the bad photo quality - I just couldn't not include this snap).

Again, some guests absolutely loved this whisky. Graeme stated that this whisky was by far his favourite out of the three.


Course 5

Petit Fours



Each and every one of these desserts were absolutely divine. My only wish was that there were more! I think that our eyes were all bigger than our bellies, with the sweet cravings going strong, as the six of us would have loved much more! However, I think that after four main dishes, we had probably had enough!

We cut each dessert up so that we could all try a bit of each one. I have to say, they were all amazing. The raspberry cake was particularly nice though!

This time, there was no alcohol. I think we were all still recovering from the Octomore whisky so water was perfectly good for us!

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I had an amazing time at Asha's - the food was amazing and, although I can't say I'll be drinking straight whisky on a regular basis, I loved tasting the Bruichladdich whiskies and learning about the history of each one. 

I cannot wait to visit Asha's restaurant again soon.

They are located at:
47 Peter Street
Manchester
M2 3NG

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Thank you so much to Asha's Manchester for having me and to the fabulous Ledigo PR for the invite!

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