“ Address: North Muskham / Newark / Tel: 01636 678969 „
My recent trip to the Ashiana near Newark was inspired by their Groupon offer, which was available for purchase for 24 hours only, quite recently. For £21, prospective diners could have a 3 course dinner for 2, to the value of approximately £56. I had never purchased via groupon before, but a similar offer in my more local Indian had been very successful, and it would seem that there were few restrictions.
The voucher was duly delivered by email, and we made a table booking for 2 for early evening midweek. The restaurant is a conversion from a former pub in the North Muskham area, which is close to the Great North Road and the A1 near Newark. The restaurant, rather unusually also includes ten letting bedrooms, which are laid out motel style behind the restaurant. I did not have the opportunity to view these, although on line reviews generally score highly. Nevertheless, given the lack of accommodation in the immediate town, and the close proximity to the A1 and the East Coast Line, I would imagine these are suitable budget accommodation for midweek travellers who do not want the formalities of more corporate accommodation.
However, our main reason for visiting was for an evening meal. The restaurant consists of a large dining area, which can cater for over 100 covers at a time. The interior design was contemporary, utilising white table runners and leather high back chairs that are typical of many modern interiors and restaurants. There is a large seating area before entering the restaurant, which is suitable for pre dinner drinks, or for those simply waiting to pick up their take away.
Drinks were not included in our prepaid offer, and we ordered wine and beer while perusing the menu. The menu did have plenty of the traditional favourites, but also plenty of very different dishes which neither of us had tried before, or even heard of necessarily. The only limitation to the full menu on the offer was seafood which was charged at a small supplement. The wine by the glass was the Stowells variety, which was a little disappointing for me, however hubby had already ordered a beer, so a bottle of wine from the wine list would have been a little excessive for one. The stowells was a pinot grigio, and it was reasonable enough however.
On to the food. I ordered a starter of Kumb Phudhina Tikka (which I had never heard of), and OH ordered a mixed kebab starter, again not something he normally chooses for a starter, but we were trying different dishes. The normal price for the starters varied between around £4 and £6, with his being nearer the upper end of the range. Both were absolutely delicious and a good size portion, not too large as to prevent you from wanting to eat your main course, which can happen a lot with Indian food! We both opted for a lamb main course, mine being Lucknavi Pasanda, and his being the Lamb Methi Aursag. The presentation of all the food was very good, on contemporary crockery e.g. teardrop style side plates and starter plates. Again portion size was just right, in fact we cleared both curries, and were satisfied. My pasanda was absolutely gorgeous, with a lovely rich texture, and the meat was excellent and plentiful. Both mains were £8.95, excluding rice or other accompaniments.
I don't think I have ever had a pudding in an Indian restaurant in my life, although it was included with the special offer. The waiter brought across the pudding menu, which consisted of the normal suspects of Movenpick icecream, or a variety of frozen desserts, however we were also advised that included in our offer we could have a type of pistachio or mango Indian icecream, which we both opted for. This was very nice and refreshing to finish the meal .
We only paid for 2 rounds of drinks and a peshwari nan, and this came to a total of £15. Together with the initial layout of £21 for the voucher via groupon, I think this represents excellent value for a full three courses.
We felt the service was also very good. The restaurant was quiet, mainly as we had gone early evening midweek, and we enjoyed pleasant chat with the waiters/managers, although the service attention was not intrusive either.
Although I had seen the Ashiana on a previous trip to the area, I doubt I would have gone especially to dine there had it not been that I was prompted by the special offer, however I do highly recommend, and as it is only 15 minutes from home, I am sure we will be back in the future. They do have other restaurants, which I understand are mostly in the NW i.e. Preston/Leyland.