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Abshar Punjabi Restaurant
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43 High Street, Barkingside, Essex IG6 2AD
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Essex, England, United Kingdom
July 26, 2012
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I have eaten at Abshar Punjabi restaurant many times. In my locality we have a great choice of Indian restaurants and sometimes it's difficult to decide which one to go to. My two favourite Indian restaurants are both on the same high street and ...
I have eaten at Abshar Punjabi restaurant many times. In my locality we have a great choice of Indian restaurants and sometimes it's difficult to decide which one to go to. My two favourite Indian restaurants are both on the same high street and they are Abshar and Sharod. I usually favour Abshar if dining out on a Saturday evening, as one is more likely to secure a table than at the neighbouring Sharod. As for sharod, even if a table is booked one has to wait for it which puts me off dining there at busy times. But, then, if I'm going out to eat during the week or on a Sunday night I'm more likely to choose Sharod as it is smaller and more intimate resulting, in my opinion, in a better atmosphere.
Abshar always seems to attract many Asian families which seems to me to say the food is authentically Asian and of a good standard.
I have taken my friend, who has lived in India for many years, to this restaurant, and she was impressed and said it comes close to the restaurants she frequents in Mumbai and New Delhi.
I last dined at Abshar in July with my husband as it was our wedding anniversary.
On the walls pictures depict Punjabi scenes. At the far end of this restaurant can be seen a decorative fountain.
The restaurant reaches back a long way and can seat 150. Tables vary from those set for four to a round table towards the rear which seats about twelve. For larger parties tables can be placed together on request. It’s quite usual to see large parties of Asian families dining here with family members including grandparents (or perhaps great grandparents) children and babies.
Tables are always inviting with clean, well-presented linen and cutlery.
Although it's pleasant in here, I do feel that as many people seem to be feeling the pinch in today's economic climate resulting in many less able to afford to dine out as often as they might have used to. A few years ago when I visited this restaurant on a Saturday evening I would have made sure we booked or we would probably have turned up and it would be full or perhaps we would have been squeezed in somewhere, but lately there is no need to book and the last few times I've eaten here we have had a choice of tables. But because the restaurant is no more than half full this can mean that there isn't much in the way of atmosphere.
I think Abshar should take a leaf out of nearby Sharod’s book; here even when almost empty, a friendlier ambience seems to prevail. Management at Sharod never fail to converse with customers; give complimentary drinks; a dish of chocolates is placed upon the table; a box of maltesers is given to ladies on departure. The last time we went my husband was driving so refused a drink. As we left the manager pressed a bottle of Cobra beer upon him to take home. What did we get at Abshar's? No complimentary drink but one very small mint! Not that we need a complimentary drink but I feel Sharod makes an effort and diners feel their custom is appreciated. But then again this doesn't affect the service or quality of the meal. I have had a complimentary drink here before but when there were four of us and we’d spent a great deal on food and drink. I felt management felt bound to offer a free drink as one person in our group hinted a little (which I found a little embarrassing) but they weren't overly willing.
I still would say both restaurants have pros and cons and both are assets to the high street.
The menu is good with plenty of choice for all. In fact, I feel spoilt for choice here. I’ve been here so many times but still find interesting choices. I would highly recommend the garlic chilli mushroom shashlik, which is from the tandoori section. This consists of mushrooms, onions and peppers marinated in yoghurt and herbs and cooked tandoori style and served steaming on a skewer with salad and yoghurt sauce.
Poppadums arrive with finely chopped salad, yoghurt dressing and chutney. I enjoy this but on my last visit we decided to have starters so didn't have poppadums.
I chose as my starter, tandoori garlic chilli mushrooms from the appetiser section and this cost £5.50.
My husband decided on the prawn puri at £5.25. He hadn't tried this before and was impressed. I think this will be a regular first choice for him now.
For my main course I had fish curry (£7.50) which was tender fish steaks served in a spicy brown sauce with pilau rice (£2.50). I asked for this to be medium in strength; it was.
My husband chose chicken tikka (£7.95) served with a green salad and had plain white boiled rice (£2.00).
As long as one likes spicy food, then for the vegetarian, or pescatarian, Indian food is a great option and I always feel I'm getting as good a deal as meat eaters and that as much care and thought has been taken with my food. In many restaurants vegetarians are given few choices.
OPINION ON FOOD
I find the food of an excellent quality here. I appreciate that the food is prepared how one requests it; mild, medium or hot. I've enjoyed every meal I've eaten at Abshar and so has my husband and others we’ve been here with.
Abshar has a well-stocked bar and has a separate drinks menu. On my last visit I drank vodka and lemonade and my husband draught beer; I think Cobra.
Waiters always ask if we’re ready for our main course. We usually ask for fifteen minutes or so wait.
Waiters are knowledgeable about the menu and happy to give advice.
Throughout the meal it’s always easy to attract attention from staff and without aiming for this a waiter will appear from time to time to ask if everything is alright and whether more drinks are required.
Waiters are polite but I admit to preferring Sharod's in this respect where the waiters are attentive yet come up for a friendly chat. But then again, the dining experience is comfortable and a little more formal at Abshar's and both experiences are good, depending on the occasion.
At the end of the meal a small basket is brought to the table which contains packaged hot moist serviettes steaming and smelling of lemon.
All ages can be found dining in Abshar's although it is essentially, of an evening, adult. When we last went in here (July) there was a large family group celebrating a birthday in here and two very young children were part of this group. One was making quite a racket and I wondered if we had made the wrong choice of restaurant but the parents took turns in going outside with the child. What a change from the local Wetherspoons which is just a short walk away.
The restaurant provides high chairs.
In my opinion this restaurant offers good value. We spent around £50 altogether for a two course meal with drinks. Everything tasted delicious and we enjoyed our evening.
Abshar boasts of car parking facilities but this I haven't seen and can't think of any parking other than in the high street outside. When we drive here we park in the main road outside the restaurant, which is free in the evening.
Also a dance floor with music and entertainment. I haven't ever been here when there has been entertainment and so I cannot comment.
Items from the main menu can be ordered as take-away and can be collected in person or delivered by Abshar. If ordering by phone then the menu can be downloaded and an estimate as to how long the food will take to be delivered will be given.
The ladies and gents are placed at the rear of the restaurant. They are clean and modern.
On entering the restaurant there is a slight slope leading to the main area and then the ground is level.
There is a disabled toilet in Abshar.
Abshar opens every day except Mondays and now also opens for lunch.
43 Barkingside High Street
Essex IG6 2AD
We enjoyed our last meal at Abshar as we always do at this restaurant. Food and service are always good. I expect that we will be returning for a meal in the not too distant future. The only thing that I think would make this an even better dining experience would be the practise by Abshar of offering a complimentary drink, as when other restaurants in the vicinity do this it does show up the lack of this.
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