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Pickled Pair takes the spice route to Ashoka

Ashoka | Inspired by India | Made in Sheffield

I like taking Mr D out in Sheffield. I like showing off, see. I want him to love Sheffield like I do because I’ve lived in more places than I care to remember, and now I’m back I don’t want to leave these seven hills anytime soon.

He does love Sheffield. He loves the landscape, our independent spirit, the lack of fuss and pretension. And he has a thing about rooflines.

It was time to take him to Ashoka on Ecclesall Road. If you haven’t been before, I recommend you do.

Ashoka

Ashoka is a Sheffield institution. It’s been around for almost 50 years and the chef has been working his magic there for 42 of them (his sous? still an apprentice with a mere 35 under his belt). That sort of heritage really appeals to me. Why? Because to run a successful independent business for that length of time you have to be doing the right thing, both for your customers and staff.

Owner, Rahul, is charming, as in fact are all his staff. And he gets customer experience. We were given a table for four on a busy evening. Our hearts sank a bit when more customers arrived, we felt sure we’d get a tap on the shoulder asking us if we’d mind sharing. Nope.

What did we have? We went old skool with Cobra beer, poppadoms and a few pickles to start. Prawn Puri and Onion Bhaji followed by Karamelised Kashmiri chicken, Kalcutta Karai lamb, naan and dhal.

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It was all reyt good. The lamb was meltingly tender (the chef does this special poaching thing to tenderise), the bread historic, and I’d come for the dhal alone. Everything tasted really fresh and the curries were distinctive with noticeably different base spices.

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For me, the pleasure of eating out is so much more than the sum of its parts. Great service, in theory, costs nothing, although staff are likely to be happier (and therefore deliver great service) when they are paid well and tips are shared fairly. Likewise, great food should not only be about the skill of the chef but also about where it comes from and how it is produced. Ashoka proudly displays both on its menu.

Next time we go, it’s going to be a Taxi Driver Curry, Bangalore Pal and one or two of Memsaab’s Mango Bellinis.

We over-ordered and still paid a less than £50 for the two of us including drinks.

Staying In?

You can also get take-away service and, for some postcodes, have it delivered to your door with Deliveroo

Or try making Grandma Ashoka’s Cricket Pakoras from the Sheffield Cook Book – I have, and they are excellent.

[Reyt Good Curreh and Interior image kindly provided by Ashoka]

For more from Pickled Pair head here.




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