Asha’s Go East…to Solihull

Asha’s Indian Restaurant take the brand into Touchwood, Solihull where you can now tikka break from your shopping to enjoy delicious food in their stunning new restaurant. 

Jas Sansi serves up a blog about the new venture. Enjoy.

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Asha’s Birmingham, after a decade of serving Brum’s business community take the format into Solihull’s premier retail destination, Touchwood. This has proved very successful in Dubai where the restaurant commands prime location in The Mall of the Emirates.

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Asha’s Solihull brings greater choice to Touchwood’s food offering. Satisfying the demand for independent restaurants is a wise decision for retail destinations. People want choice, high quality and an experience. Asha’s Solihull promise all of this, and much more.

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The restaurant is named after one of India’s greatest living artists, singer Asha Bhosle. Images of Asha Ji can be seen throughout the restaurant, with Prime Ministers, Presidents and global artists illustrating the company, the much loved singer keeps.

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Asha Bhosle is 86 and presently on a world tour. She recently performed at the nearby Genting Arena wowing an appreciative audience. Many would have grown up watching Indian cinema soundtracked by Asha Bhosle.

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She has sold more vinyl than The Beatles and Rolling Stones combined. Her bio lists her as a performing artist since the year Paul McCartney was born, 1943. She is an icon and the restaurant group that bears her name is sensitive to her legacy and contribution to Indian culture.

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Asha’s Solihull is a fabulous addition to the Town which is home to an affluent demographic. The option to enjoy the very best Indian food is no longer limited to making the eight mile journey to Brum.

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If you’re driving into Touchwood to dine at Ashas Solihull, here’s a tip for parking; enter the car park and head towards the exit area. There’s an escalator straight up to the food court. Its signposted for the Cinema, who I understand will be showcasing Indian Films soon.

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Familiar faces from Ashas Birmingham will be on site including Dominic and Sunil to ensure a smooth transition to the high quality, diners are accustomed to.

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General Manager of Touchwood, Tony Elvin is no stranger to hospitality recognised as one of Greater Birmingham’s Power 250 from his experience with Hotel du Vin. Tony was instrumental in bringing Asha’s to Touchwood and speaking to him last night about future plans for the centre, his power ranking is only going to move upwards.

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Tony Elvin talking about the new restaurant said “We’re lucky to have a selection of the most trusted national brands operating out of Touchwood but if you wanted to add something new and independent to the experience then Asha’s has to be the first name on the team sheet. That was why I was so keen to get in touch with the Asha’s team and try to bring them into the centre. I think they’ll bring a touch of elegance to the Solihull dining scene and we couldn’t be more excited.”

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Huge congratulations to owners Paul Bassi and Pawan Kenth described by West Midlands Growth Company Director Ninder Johal DL as ‘Serial Entrepreneurs’ in developing and expanding the restaurant group.

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The VIP, Media & Corporate launch was organised by ReWired PR who showcase an incredible client base including the very top end of restaurants. Recent launch events have included Gaucho, The Ivy and Tattu.

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News of the opening reached far and wide, one of the group’s suppliers is Aston based Chefset who asked if I could get a picture of Chef Sunil using one of their pans. I went to school with Chefset’s owner Vijay Korotane so I was happy to oblige.

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Asha’s Solihull opens on Wednesday 27th March 2019. With Winter securely packed away, enjoying lunch or dinner at this stunning restaurant will definitely put a Spring in your step.

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Let me know what you think, hashtag is #AshasSolihull.

Asha’s Solihull, Touchwood, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3GJ

 0121 200 2767 reservations@ashasuk.co.uk

ashasuk.co.uk

Full set of images from the launch: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/sets/72157707795808574

 

 

 

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Returning to India after 50 Years

Here’s a guest blog from my cousin Lakhbir Hayre. He was born in Punjab, India and moved to Wolverhampton at the age of ten. He went to Imperial College, London to read Mathematics and  St John’s College, Oxford to earn a PhD in Statistics.

He married Jasbir Kandola before moving to America to teach Mathematics at a University on the East Coast. He became a dad, began a long career in Wall Street as a analyst and retired two years ago, leaving New Jersey and moving to Florida.

He returned to Punjab last Christmas for the first time after half a century. He emailed me his thoughts about India which I found quite fascinating. Apologies for the super brief bio.

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After arriving in India, I had mentioned that my initial impressions were favorable – the immigration process (E-visa) took 5 minutes (much quicker than Newark), our bags were at the claim belt by the time we got there, and the hotel we were staying in, the Oberoi, was better, especially the service, than comparable luxury hotels in the West.  Manjit responded that I should wait 5 days, and see what my impressions were then.

Well, we have been here for a week, and my impression is that, its complicated.  The negative aspects we read about or see on TV are there:

Indian Roads.  It takes nerves of steel and heightened alertness to drive here.  The concept of lanes does not exist, with cars, trucks, auto-rickshaws, motor cycles and scooters jostling for space by constantly changing lanes, and cars hurtle at each other on traffic circles, with the drivers deciding at the last second who goes first.

Driving is by honking rather than turn signals; Indian road noise is to Manhattan as Manhattan is to Sarasota, Florida. Drivers also have to be alert to vehicles coming at them (people deciding that its quicker to drive on the wrong side of the road), and cows, camels, donkeys, and other animals standing in the middle of the road.

Concepts of safety are minimal, with for example little kids riding on the back of scooters without helmets as their dad swerves between cars and trucks with inches to spare.  Its been called organized chaos, but its not completely organized – our guide mentioned that there are over 1500 traffic deaths in Delhi alone each year.

Litter.  There is a distressingly large amount of litter on the streets.  It was good to see an anti-litter “Keep India Clean” campaign with pictures of Modi, but since he is somewhat of a polarizing figure, a bipartisan campaign would be more effective.  Better still, enroll Bollywood stars.

Building Disrepair.  A lot of buildings have exteriors in a state of disrepair – stains on the walls, peeling paint, crumbling walls, bricks and stucco.

This neglect is there even for buildings which have well-off residents and which presumably are nice inside, such as an apartment complex for retired senior army officers in Delhi, and for public buildings such as the City Palace in Udaipur, an otherwise amazing 16th century building on par with the best European buildings from the same era (a portion of the tickets sales are now being diverted into restoration, so conditions should improve).

Power-washing and a coat of paint will do wonders in many cases. Ordinances targeting this type of neglect with fines, of the type many townships have here in the US, will help.

Given all that, India is a vibrant, functioning democracy and economy.  There were state elections here this week, with extensive political analysis, exit poll analysis, all types of election maps and statistical analysis (even this statistician became dizzy).  The talking heads on the many news channels make US cable news networks look dignified and stately, with several usually shouting at the same time and talking over each other.

It is tough to talk of Indian economic and social life, as there seems to be every strata than you can think.  There is extreme wealth at one end (just a couple of days before we came to Udaipur, the Ambani family spent a reported $100 Million on a wedding here, booking every room in both the Oberoi and the Taj Lake Palace, the two top hotels here – Hillary Clinton was on the guest list, and Beyonce performed), while India still has the world’s largest number of people living in extreme poverty.

There are all types of segments in between.  While in Delhi, we met up with Kiran, a friend of Jasbir’s.  Kiran went to school in India, then college in the US, where she lived for a while until moving back here about 10 years ago to take a senior job at Delhi Airport.  Kiran has a full-time driver and a live-in housekeeper, and did not think she could afford two full-time servants in the US working in a comparable professional job.

More typically middle-class was our tour guide in New Delhi (as an aside, becoming a licensed Govt of India tour guide requires study and passing a tough exam -our guide’s brother failed the exam and did an MBA as a consolation). The only difference between our guide and a typical professional in the West was that he, his wife and kid, his brother and his family, and his parents all live in the same house, which they have expanded as the families expanded).

Small Indian businesses are a study in contrasts. While I have been generally able to avoid going with Jasbir to any shops, I did have to stop with her once in a fabric store.  The store, on four levels, was packed with shelves from floor to ceiling containing silk, cotton and every other material you can think off.

It seemed to be run with great efficiency by a couple of older guys and an army of young guys who looked alike (clearly brothers and cousins) who seemed to know exactly which shelf on which floor contained a particular combination of material, color, etc. Yet sales were recorded by hand using carbon paper for copies – no computers or spreadsheets!

All in all, a fascinating country.

Kind Regards

Lakhbir