Asha´s Whiskey and Kebab Evening
We had a great time the other night and got invited back to Asha´s in Manchester for a Whiskey and Kebab Evening. This is the second time I have been to Asha´s, the first time was a Wine and Curry Evening, so I had an idea of what to expect this time around. You can discover more about Asha’s reading my other post here.
This time they have teamed up with Bruichladdich to marry each course with a different Gin or whiskey that enhances the flavour from their spirits and complements the dish.
Bruichladdich was built in 1881 when Puffer-supplied coal was available as an alternative fuel to local peat, it is likely that Bruichladdich was specifically designed to produce the purest unpeated spirit possible. The Laddie is the only distillery on Islay that does not dry their malt using peat. The original Victorian machinery is still used today and has allowed an unparalleled legacy of craft distilling to trickle down through the generations.
Harra Kebab served with Botanist Gin
The first course was a Harra Kebab, at first thoughts, it looks like a large black pudding in colour and shape. The dish was made up of a Spinach kebab, stuffed with cashew nuts, raisins and a mixture of different spices, topped with a mint puree and edible flowers. The kebab was very soft to cut and almost fell apart, the cashew nuts and raisins cut into the blend of spices very nicely and gave an extra layer of texture and sweetness to balance out the spice.
With this course, it was teamed up with the ´The Botanist´ with this Gin. It is made on Islay so with this there is a salty taste it leaves on your lips, it is subtle and reminds you of the sea air, there are hints of floral notes and berries that makes it the perfect match for the kabab.
Tandoori Scallops served with Classic Bruichladdich.
The second course was my favourite, two well spiced and perfectly cooked scallops. They were presented on a slate nestled on a bed of finely sliced apple that lied inside a gorgeous shell. The scallops were perfectly cooked, not rubbery and sliced like butter. For me was great that they were finished with yoghurt and an apple puree.
This course was teamed with the classic Bruichladdich Whiskey, the classic whiskey is unpeated, which was a big surprise because it tasted of peat. With a golden base and hints of floral notes on the nose, this Whiskey was very soft to drink, coted the mouth nicely and it doesn’t leave sharp tastes in the back of your throat.
British Lamb Chops served with Port Charlotte
The third course was a British Lamb Chop marinated in ginger and garlic with a mixture of spices and fresh coriander. The lamb had a golden coating from the marinade and a char that was done on purpose to give a smoky and black texture to the lamb. The meat was very soft and could almost be pulled off the bone. The lamb was served with crispy triple cooked potatoes that added a great crunch, on the side, a silky mango puree that gave a sweet tang to the spiced lamb.
The Port Charlotte Whiskey was matched with the lamb, it has an elegant complexity and floral top notes which Bruichladdich is famous for. The Port Charlotte is peated to a heavyweight of 40PPM, which for anyone that doesn’t drink a lot of whiskeys is surprising. It was a bit strong for me.
Murg Malai Kebab served with Cotomore
The fourth and final dish was a boneless piece of chicken, in a creamy cheese and cashew paste finished with a touch of cardamom. The chicken was golden in appearance and again had a charred finish. The creamy cheese and cashew coating gave a velvety soft flavour and with hints of cardamom coming through quite subtly and didn’t overpower the overall flavour. The dish was finished with some pan-fried gooseberries which gave another level of tang to counteract the hints of cardamom.
With this course, we had the Octomore Whiskey. I have to say this was the strongest whiskey of the night and most peated whiskey I have ever had! This whiskey held the title for the most heavily peated whiskey in the world before it was beaten by its younger brother. A bottle of this whiskey is nearly £200, it's not cheap, but this I would have to build up to. This whiskey was chosen with the chicken because the soft creamy cheese coating helped cool down the shock of this whiskey, but over time I'm sure you can grow to love this.
Now it's your time, I highly recommend going to Asha´s and trying their food, it will give you a whole different perspective on classic Indian food.