Ashoka: Sheffield’s most famous Indian restaurant continues to deliver

Delighting Sheffielders with their incomparable brand of ‘reyt good curreh’ since 1967, it’s safe to say that Ashoka cemented its place in the Steel City foodie hall of fame some time ago. However, if you’re wondering whether this may leave opportunity for complacency on the famous restaurant’s part, then think again; the Eccy Road favourite is still very much at the top of its game when it comes to the quality, service and quirks that has made it a household name up this neck of the woods.

A winning ability to blend the modern with the traditional is reflected both on their menu and in their intimate, stylish restaurant space inspired by the Irani cafes of Mumbai. Taking our seats one bustling evening – it always seems to have the right level of atmosphere: lively enough to set a spirited tone, but never over-boisterous – my partner and I were instantly attended to with drinks, two crisp Cobras, followed by a traditional pickle tray, as we set about ordering starters of the Henderson’s House Puri (tasty small spiced potato cubes mixed tossed with Hendo’s and coriander, served in crispy puri bread) and onion bhajis before turning our attention to the mains.

Inspired by India, made in Sheffield: The vibrant curry house guarantees a good atmosphere, particularly on weekends, and a menu blending the traditional with a few modern, local flavours.

I needn’t have looked. Due to lockdown and a brief move away from the city, it had been over two years since I’d tried the hallowed Taxi Driver Curry, a dish made for and named after a local cabby who kept coming back for more. And it’s no surprise he couldn’t get enough – it remains an incredibly satisfying dish of minced lamb and smoky chicken tikka, supplemented with a rewarding hit of garlic and chilli. My partner went for the Makhan-Wallah, a velvety, cashew nut-laden curry also served with succulent pieces of chicken tikka and swiftly pronounced sumptuous.

Second to Naan: Karai, kashmiri and biryani jostle for attention on the menu alongside lamb chops, a wide selection of lamb/chicken/veggie curries and beautiful butter naans from the traditional charcoal tandoor. Exposed opted for the famed Taxi Driver curry alongside a rich, creamy Makhan-Wallah.

As ever, we over-indulged on the gorgeous mains, not a morsel spared of naan or rice either, which meant we could barely see off our final round of Cobras, and the traditional Indian biscuits bestowed upon us (again, those little quirks) would have to be saved for  our cuppas the following day. 50+ years of reyt good curreh, then, and absolutely no sign of slowing down. We all deserve a post-lockdown treat and I will guarantee Sheffield’s finest Indian restaurant won’t disappoint.

The Taxi Driver: Still a certified banger, but just one of many highlights on an innovative menu.

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