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Food Tourism Comes To Ashton

Hop on the tram for a food shop followed by a top feed

Published on February 26th 2014.


Food Tourism Comes To Ashton

ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE is an unlikely setting for a foodie day out, unless you're heavily into Swedish meatballs. But word has got out about a second good reason to head eastwards, and it doesn't involve any flatpack furniture or crinkly blue carrier bags.

ASM is an Indian grocery with a restaurant attached, Lily's, on Oldham Road. Both have been getting talked about for being a 'hidden gem' of the North West's Indian food scene. If you like cooking curry almost as much as you like eating it, a combined visit to the two is a must.

First off, the shop. ASM is just a minute's walk from the Metrolink station and its prices alone make it worth the trip (it's dead cheap). But it's the range of ingredients that will thrill home cooks. They stock a huge variety of groceries for Indian, Mexican, Italian and Chinese cooking. You'll find all the spices you need, all the pickles, all the poppadoms, plus all the essentials from rice and naan breads to fresh fruit and vegetables.

They also sell a brilliant range of cooking utensils, such as balti dishes, spice containers, and woks – all cheaper than you'd find in a supermarket chain.

NoodlesIt's the type of specialist shop that's worth driving out to if you want to restock your cupboards, or if you're looking for a gift for Indian food fan.

After you've done your shopping, you can go and relax in Lily's restaurant. It's owned by the same family and has the same friendly, welcoming atmosphere. In here, they show you just what can be done with all the ingredients sold next door.

Four chefs, all from different parts of India, cook up all manner of authentic dishes and treats. This isn't diluted, Westernised Indian cooking – it's the real deal done by people who want to give you a genuine taste of their region's food. Taste-wise, it beats most Indian restaurants hands-down.

Go for the idli sambar (£4). It's steamed rice cakes with a salty, soup-curry and coconut chutney. Or a tawa paneer (£7), a steaming plate of spices, tomato, and paneer. Or the pea kachori, a deliciously moreish type of Indian street food.

All the food is vegetarian and some dishes are vegan. And like the shop, it's priced below what you'd expect to pay. Our reviewer went to Lily's and had seven courses for under £35. Normal eaters will be full after two or three, making it a very affordable food treat.

Why not go this weekend? For directions and details of a £9.99 meal offer (two courses and a drink), visit our ASM and Lily's pages.

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