ASHA’S MANCHESTER REVIEW

ASHA’S MANCHESTER REVIEW

Indian legend Asha Bhosle has been one of Bollywood’s leading playback singers for seven decades, providing the singing voice for actresses in more than 1,000 films. She is in the Guinness World Records as the world’s most prolific recording artist. She was also the muse for British band Cornershop, who paid tribute to her with their 1997 hit single Brimful of Asha. Oh, and Asha’s, the £2m restaurant, is named after her too.

This 6,000 sq ft eatery has introduced Bolli Bites, where diners can pick four dishes for £20. With the casual diner in mind, the lower bar provides informal dining with a Bolli Bellini Bar.

After a couple of Bolli Bellinis, we couldn’t resist sampling eight tasters for £40: Venison Cocktail Samosas, tender venison mince in spices; Chicken Malai Kebabs, flavoured with cardamom and a choice of sauces, including a fabulous apple sauce; the Seafood Seek, finely chopped fish and prawns; and the Kadak Seek, minced lamb seasoned with spices. An Asha recommendation, Keema Fries, was our absolute favourite and comprised mincemeat cooked with spices, served on a bed of hand-cut chips and topped with mild cheddar.



Manchester is the tenth Asha’s to open its doors around the world and will not disappoint.

Asha’s

47 Peter Street,

Manchester M2 3NG

Tel: 0161 832 5309

ashasrestaurant.co.uk

NIPA THAI REVIEW

NIPA THAI REVIEW

Salim Uddin-Khandakar samples this formal Thai experience with unrivalled views of Hyde Park

It’s not often you find a hidden gem that’s worth all the plaudits it receives. Perfectly hidden on the first floor of the Lancaster London hotel, you’ll find Nipa Thai. A warm, traditional Thai greeting awaits and the fabulous Raffles-like decor sets a scene that even King Mongkut would applaud.

A succinct menu offers a fair selection of meats and seafood whilst professional, attentive staff provide efficient service in regal surroundings, complete with unrivalled views across Hyde Park.

The restaurant is renowned for being one of London’s best Thai establishments using original Thai ingredients. Nipa Thai offers a holistic experience; from the all-female Thai kitchen team to the smell of essential lemongrass oil gently permeating the restaurant.

Nipa Thai’s authentic cuisine has received the prestigious Thai Select certification from the Thai government – an accolade presented to Thai restaurants proven to have achieved the highest standards of quality. The 55-seat restaurant features a teak-panelled interior with traditional Thai furnishings, and ornate decorations crafted in Thailand. The authentic decor complements the cuisine, which is served by Thai staff.

The restaurant delivers outstanding traditional cuisine that combines hot spices with mild and sweet flavours, offering a mix of dishes from Thailand’s central region. Each of the dishes is prepared according to traditional recipes by Head Chef Sanguan Parr and her dedicated team.

We shared the Ruam Mitr – a selection of chef’s special Thai starters that includes chicken satay, prawn parcels, fish cakes and spring rolls (£24). For mains, B chose the Kaeng Kiew Warn, a vibrant chicken and Thai aubergine in a spicy green coconut curry (£16). I opted for the Phad Kra Prao Koong, which combined stir-fried prawns with chillies and basil leaves (£22). We shared the Phad Phak Mitr (mixed vegetables, £10) and Kao Phad Khai (egg fried rice, £4).

The restaurant has recently launched two fantastic new offerings:

Thai wine paired set menus

Each menu features a selection of Head Chef Sanguan Parr’s speciality Thai dishes, such as Keaw Nam Koong (prawn dumpling consommé with bean sprouts, spring onions, coriander and iceberg lettuce). The four award-winning wines chosen to highlight the dishes’ flavours are from Monsoon Valley’s prestigious Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. Including wine pairings, the menus are priced at £49, £52 and £65.

Pre–theatre Nok Khamin Menu

The Nok Khamin Menu is served from 5pm to 6.30pm and priced at £23 per person. With London’s West End and the Royal Albert Hall just a short distance from the hotel, the menu provides the perfect pre-theatre or early dinner. The Early Bird Menu is served daily and includes a starter, main and glass of house wine or Singha beer.

The menu features Thai favourites, such as Thai Green Curry (Kaeng Kiew Warn Puk), Spring Rolls with Glass Noodles (Por Pia Thod), and Thai Chicken Satay.

An à la carte dinner would cost approximately £40 for a three-course meal with wine.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t try the Thai desserts, such as Caramel Lychees (caramel delice with a crunchy lychee centre, chilli and pineapple carpaccio with salted caramel ice cream), but that gives us the perfect excuse to revisit on our next trip to the city.

Nipa Thai

Nipa Thai

1st Floor, Lancaster London,

Lancaster Terrace,

London W2 2TY

Tel: 020 7551 6039

niparestaurant.co.uk

IBIZA – THE DESTINATION WITH TWO FACES

IBIZA – THE DESTINATION WITH TWO FACES

There are two wonderfully distinctive sides to the Balearic island of Ibiza… we spent a weekend in search of both 

Over the past two decades, Ibiza – the third largest of the Balearic Islands – has become synonymous with riotous all-nighters at world-renowned night clubs; a self-styled playground for the young and up-for-fun. But whilst the island still attracts the party crowd, there’s a wealth of beauty and history for families and travellers of a more chilled-out persuasion to enjoy.

WHICH IBIZA IS PERFECT FOR YOU?

For those who’ve set hi-energy dancefloors in their sights, the resort of Playa d’en Bossa or San Antonio town are established hotspots, and clubs such as Amnesia, Sankeys, Pacha, Ocean Beach and DC10 remain hugely popular. However, seekers of a more low-key Balearic adventure should head to the laidback town of Santa Eulàlia, with its generous selection of waterfront bars, restaurants and shops.

Sun seekers escaping the hustle and bustle of UK city life will adore the coves and enclaves that lace Ibiza’ stunning coastline – they’re ripe for discovery and away-from-it-all chillaxing. 

Autumn and winter are the ideal seasons to sample a more realistic taste of day-to-day Ibiza life, and also discover the island’s rich history; in particular, its World Heritage Sites. These impressive, precious sites include the Phoenician settlement of Sa Caleta and the cemetery of Puig des Molins (the largest necropolis in the world, housing up to 4,000 tombs) – both of which date back to 600-650 BC.

And, if active holidays are your thing, both the island’s coast and countryside lend themselves to walking, cycling and snapping Insta-perfect pics.

WHERE TO STAY

For relaxation – Palladium Hotel Cala Llonga

This stylish and peaceful hotel (for adults only) is built into the side of a hill in Santa Eulàlia and boasts spectacular views of Cala Llonga beach – which is, quite literally, on its doorstep. As well as swimming in an up-on-high pool, you can indulge fine dining at one of three restaurants or kick-back and enjoy an evening of live entertainment. If you fancy expending a little energy, you’re only 4km away from Ibiza’s only golf club – that’s if you can pull yourself away from the comfort of a deluxe room, complete with direct access to the sandy shores. 

All-inclusive deals available, http://palladiumhotelgroup.com

For best of both worlds – Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza

This Playa d’en Bossa-based hotel blends family-friendly luxury with beach club vibes, and even boasts its very own private beach area. The state-of-the-art Rocks Spa® and wellness centre (the biggest on the island) is the place to be pampered, whilst those keen to sample the ‘rock star experience’ can learn to DJ or play guitar. There are two outdoor pools (one even has underwater sunbeds!), suites complete with glorious views of the turquoise sea, and the rooftop bar is a must-visit for a sunset tipple before heading to an in-house gig for free. Child and teen activity areas, and five restaurants at which to refuel, are also on site.

Selection of special packages available, hrhibiza.com

For partying – Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel

This complex is made up of two equally impressive sites – The Ushuaïa Club and The Ushuaïa Tower. Together, they are the best spot for party-harders and trendsetters to be seen. Home to what Deejay Magazine called ‘the best beach club on the planet’, the Ushuaïa sits on the island’s longest stretch of beach – Playa d’en Bossa – and perfectly blends sun-lounging and cocktail sipping by day with committed partying come nightfall. Downtime at this energetic destination can be spent admiring spectacular views (from poolside or the famous tower) or – ahead of a live DJ performance – recharging your batteries in the spa.

Wide range of superior rooms and suites on offer, ushuaiabeachhotel.com

 

Dining

Fine fun dining

Tucked inside the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, you’ll find Tatel, a new restaurant and music venue where fine dining meets fun. A few famous faces lie behind its creation, including tennis star Rafael Nadal, NBA champion Paul Gasol and the legendary Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias. Together with private investors Abel Matutes Prats and Manuel Campos Guallar, the guys have mined Spain’s rich culinary history to produce food that’s wonderfully delicious and authentic, and served in friendly, lively surroundings. Open from 7pm until 3am, starters are priced from €14, mains from €28, tatelrestaurants.com/ibiza

Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Club  

Asia meets the Mediterranean at this perfect-for-lunch fusion dining destination and, whether you fancy a light salad or a hearty bowl of pasta, unforgettable flavours and combinations are guaranteed. With the sea air providing nature’s aircon, bite into the ever-popular Ushuaïa-style Kobe hamburger or dive into a platter of super-fresh sushi. Open daily from noon to midnight, daily specials available, starters priced from €14, mains from €22, ushuaiabeachhotel.com/en/eat-and-drink/beach-club

GETTING THERE

We flew British Airways from Manchester Airport. The carrier recently launched new flights to the popular Spanish sunspots, including Ibiza. Flights to the island operate three times a week. Basic each-way fares from Manchester to Ibiza from £48, click ba.com to book today.

 

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