The Akash, Southsea – Food Review
The escapades of a Southsea restaurant that flew curries out to customers in France have been well documented within these pages.
One the orders of a long-standing – and wealthy – customers, The Akash chefs flew curries out from Lee-on-the-Solent airport to Bordeaux.
The restaurant has certainly garnered a reputation in the region – and so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Entering the restaurant, you are immediately swept into the cosy, intimate setting. My partner and I go along in the evening, so with the lights dimmed and candles lit there is a very sensual atmosphere.
The staff are immediately friendly and approachable, making you feel comfortable and relaxed from the moment you walk in.
We are seated, given our drinks within seconds and begin scouring the menu.
The first thing you notice about the menu is just how extensive it is – it feels like the restaurant serves every type of curry imaginable, from kormas to vindaloos and everything in between.
There is also a good range of starters to choose from, but both my partner and I decide to play it safe and order the onion bhajee (£2.50).
For that price you get two on a plate, with garnish and sauces to boot.
The bhajees themselves are cooked to perfection; on the outside they are crisp, but also break apart with relative ease.
Inside, it is a delicate affair with the onion practically melting in the mouth.
What’s more, there is a good heat to the bhajees as well; I must admit, I am a huge fan of spicy food – to the point where my own cooking sometimes alienates those with weaker taste buds – but you don’t want to go all-in on the starter.
Here, the bhajees are perfect. There was a warmth to the spice that felt wholesome and moreish, without overpowering the natural flavours.
Speaking of natural flavours, something The Akash prides itself on is the use of fresh ingredients for every dish, and that really shows.
Having fresh food over frozen produce means you will never lose the pure taste of each ingredient, which may otherwise have been sacrificed to the freezer gods in other restaurants.
For the main course my partner opts to play it safe with a chicken korma (£5.70) while I go for George’s korai curry (£7.20) a house special with chicken, onions and green peppers, with a tandoori paste which is then all barbecued in the oven.
Just writing that makes my mouth water – this dish is the real deal.
It’s hard to describe each individual aspect of this dish because it all just works so well together as an entity.
Eating this is like giving your tongue a hug, a thank you note for putting up with all the sub-par food you’ve eaten before.
The chicken is tender while the peppers keep their crunch – and the tandoori paste just wraps it all together in a neat little bow, bursting with flavour after every bite.
The spice from this dish was fantastic, perfectly riding the thin line between intense heat and an explosion of flavour.
You can tell that the chefs have perfected this dish, and care about every plate that enters the dining room.
Add that to the pilau rice I order with the dish and I leave the restaurant a stuffed, but very satisfied, customer.
My partner adored the korma, praising its warm creaminess – and is keen to return as soon as we can; I, for one, have absolutely no problem with that.
If you haven’t been to The Akash yet, I highly recommend that you change that.
This may well be the best Indian food I’ve ever eaten – and I will certainly be heading back for seconds.