“ Address: 255 Bacup Road / Rawtenstall / BB4 7PA „
For my birthday this year my son, my sister and I went to a local Indian restaurant for a meal. We all enjoy a nice curry and have been to Ashoka plenty of times before and always return due to the good experiences we have there. This is a review of our latest visit.
Ashoka is situated at 255 Bacup Road, Rawtenstall, BB4 7PA and you can contact them on 01706 231665. The restaurant is on the end of a row and has a customer car park just to the side of it which is really convenient because parking can be quite tricky on Bacup Road as a rule. The restaurant looks quite nice from the outside with fresh flower displays in the window which often look quite dramatic and change from week to week. The decoration in the restaurant is a red and black theme for the most part with high backed leather effect chairs at the tables. The restaurant has changed it's look a couple of times but always appears well presented, clean and modern. Toilets are towards the back of the restaurant and although aren't very big they are clean and well stocked. Sometimes there are items left in the corridor such as brushes or what not and I don't think this gives the best impression to be honest.
My birthday fell on a Friday and as such we decided to phone ahead and book a table for three just in case the restaurant was busy. I would certainly advise booking if you are looking to go in a large party of if you are going from around 7pm onwards on a weekend night. As it happens because my young son was attending we had booked a table for 5pm when the restaurant was completely empty! Inside the restaurant there is a waiting area with comfortable sofas and bowls of Bombay mix for people who may like to sit and have a drink before being shown to their table or for when the restaurant is busy but in this case we were able to just go straight to a table of our choice as it was very quiet. The tables were all covered with a thick white table cloth and had a vase with a fresh flower in. Side plates and cutlery were laid out and do appear to be of good quality.
The waiter took drink orders from all of us and as my sister was driving we all decided to stick to soft drinks. Drinks are not cheap in this restaurant and a soft drink costs a couple of pounds but when you are drinking alcohol it can really make the price of the meal jump significantly. We were given menus whilst we waited for our drinks and we decided that we would share a main course as we all wanted the same curry but that we would order starters. The restaurant was fine with the fact that we wanted to share a main meal and I always appreciate this as sometimes you can be made to feel almost second class for doing so but it seems silly to order food which will only end up being wasted! The menu does have information on about how hot a curry is on a scale of one to ten which is a nice touch for those who perhaps are not too familiar with Indian meals.
We ordered three popadoms with all of the chutneys as an entrée and this cost £3.00 with popadoms costing 50p each and the chutney tray being £1.50. The popadoms were brought out quickly and as is often the case we were given an extra popadom free of charge. I wouldn't rely on this but it is always nice to just be given a little bit of something for nothing! I have to say the popadoms and chutneys is possibly my favourite part of going for a curry as I love to pile my popadom with the onion mix and mango chutney! I could eat lots of these but obviously it isn't always a good idea to stuff yourself with the crisp popadoms when you have another two courses to come!
My sister and I decided to each order a starter the other would like and to share them thus sampling more things on the menu. I ordered an onion bhaji starter for £2.95 whilst she ordered a chicken tikka puree starter for the same price. The starters came quite quickly after the popadom plates had been cleared away and both came with a side salad which included lettuce, cucumber, tomato and a large chilli thing! The salad was fresh looking and also tasted lovely. On my plate I had two large flat onion bhajis and so I gave my sister one whilst she gave me half of her chicken tikka mix in a thin fried bread. The bhaji was cooked well and really enjoyable though I prefer mine to be a bit more crisp than these were. The tikka puree was really nice and the sauce had a good amount of spice without being too hot for the average person to manage. There was plenty of chicken in the starter which was nice to see as well.
For our main meal we ordered the chicken tikka masalla as it was something that the three of us would enjoy as it is quite creamy and mild. This cost £6.95 and then we ordered some plain boiled rice for around £1.95, a portion of chips for a similar amount and a garlic naan bread again for a similar amount. When it was time for our main meal we were brought a stand which the dishes would be placed on to keep them warm and the waiter made a point of telling my son that it was very hot and to avoid touching it which was of course sensible. We were all given fresh large dinner plates and new cutlery at this point as well. The bowl of tikka massalla was quite large and there were around eight large pieces of chicken in it. I am not a huge fan of the meat when I have a curry and much prefer to just have the sauce and so I had a couple of pieces of chicken and shared the rest out between my son and sister. We all had plenty on our plates with the rice, chips, curry and naan bread and there was even some left in the dishes at the end so we were glad we decided to all share. The tikka massalla was an orangey red colour with a few almonds on the top and just smelt lovely. The taste of this restaurants tikka massalla is in my opinion the best I have ever had as it is so creamy and filling yet has a subtle kick to it as well making it seem authentic. The naan bread on this occasion was a little greasy but we still ate it!
When we had finished our main meal a waiter came and removed everything from us. You are able to ask for them to pack the left overs up should you wish to take it away but on this occasion we didn't bother. The waiter returned with hot face cloths in a plastic packaging and slices of fresh orange to freshen up with after our meal. I have to say now my son wanted a pudding on this occasion and after the waiter had given us the cloths we seemed to become a little invisible and after around fifteen minutes of sitting and being ignored by the four or so staff in a virtually empty restaurant we did get fed up and approach the bar to pay the bill. This isn't usual for this restaurant but it was quite disappointing on this occasion. The bill came to a little over thirty pounds from memory and we felt this was reasonable for the amount we had eaten.
I would certainly recommend ashoka Indian restaurant in Rawtenstall as in my opinion it is the best Indian restaurant that I have been to in the local area. They also do a take away service as well as a Sunday buffet so it is well worth a visit should you be in the area.
Thank you for reading my review!