In a major new opening, Bollywood-inspired Indian restaurant Asha’s has made a spectacular debut in Manchester, following a £2m fit out within a Grade II Listed Victorian building on the corner of Peter Street.
The venue, formerly The Baby Grand Bar, is inspired and co-owned by Bollywood singing legend Asha Bhosle – the most recorded artist in music history. She flew in from Mumbai for the restaurant’s launch party, which was also attended by Coronation street stars Shobna Gulati and Jimmi Harkishin.
The restaurant is owned by the prolific UAE restaurant group ARIL – which first opened in Dubai 13 years ago and now has 10 restaurants across the Middle East and one in Birmingham. The venue, fronted by Peter Warden, ARIL group manager (formerly of Individual Restaurants: RBG and Piccolino), is the latest to join the acclaimed chain, which has featured in the Michelin Guide eight times.
The dramatic interior was designed by Luxe Interior, with DG Professional Interiors as main contractors.
Spread across two floors and over 6000 sq ft, Asha’s features a 100-cover restaurant and a dedicated ‘Bolli Bar’. The restaurant is located on the upper ground floor, with the cocktail bar for 60 people, plus a private dining space on the lower ground floor.
The interior design features soft lighting with boudoir-style drapery, hand made gold coloured pendant light fittings, plush purple booths clustered along one wall and a colour palette dominated by pewter, gold and rich shades of purple.
Portraits of Asha and her family decorate the walls, along with beaded fringing inspired by her stage costumes and jewellery.
Many of the building’s original features have also been preserved, including industrial cast iron columns and exposed brickwork which contrasts beautifully with the flamboyant eastern design.
The menu includes a delicious array of modern Indian cuisine paired with an exciting, modern cocktail menu and carefully selected wine list.
Peter Warden said:
“We are tremendously excited about our new cocktail bar and restaurant in Manchester. This will be our tenth Asha’s around the world and for the Manchester venue we have taken a major leap forward in the evolution of the brand. I am sure that the good people of Manchester are delighted with the fantastic décor, delicious drinks and amazing award winning food that they can enjoy.
“One of the reasons that we selected Manchester for Asha’s is due to the very vibrant cocktail scene which is on par with the likes of London and our home town Dubai. We have always had an exciting and innovative cocktail offering and to ensure that we can deliver the very best to the experienced drinkers of Manchester we have engaged the skills and services of world class cocktail consultants such as Marian Blake from the Nightjar in London (top three cocktail bars in the world) and Jamie Jones who is the current reigning ‘World’s Best Gin Bartender.’
“We have also worked with our wine experts to develop a list that is specifically designed for Manchester’s tastes and preferences. Having made a major investment into understanding what the regional taste profiles are, they are well placed to help us match our award-winning cuisine to a wonderful wine list developed to delight Manchester’s discerning clientele.
“This will be our tenth Asha’s around the world and for the Manchester venue we have taken a major leap forward in the evolution of the brand.”
Sue Potter, managing director of the ARIL Group, the restaurant’s parent company, said:
“We’ve tried to develop a contemporary atmosphere but the building is around 170 years old, so we’ve tried to make sure we’ve restored it sympathetically.”