Asylum is the new the bar/restaurant at the Arcade Independence Square. They’ve got good drinks, great ambience and decent food, but their service is still not quite up to scratch. For now, go with time to spare.
Asylum, named after what the Independence Arcade used to be, is part bar/lounge and part restaurant. The bar itself isn’t open as yet, but we did get the chance to try out some of their cocktails and they were pretty good. Drinks here are pricier than the usual places but we were expecting that.
We were glad to finally see whiskey sours (Rs. 890) on the menu at a local bar. It’s not a very popular drink here but they did a pretty good job with this one with a good ratio of bourbon to lemon juice. If you’re a fan of lemon or lime based drinks, chances are you’ll like this one.
Their Strawberry Margarita (Rs. 890) also tasted good, something the ladies would probably enjoy very much. It’s quite sweet and the strawberry flavour comes through very well, but you still get a decent hit from the tequila as well.
We’ll probably be dropping in again for a more detailed review of the bar once it’s officially opened but for the time being they’ve given us reason to be hopeful.
The menu at Asylum is quite contemporary with a good selection of mostly western and continental cuisine, priced between Rs. 1300 – Rs. 3500. On average you can expect to pay around Rs. 3000 per head with taxes. We mentioned earlier that the food was decent. Some of it was good while others were ordinary or missing some elements. This was a few days after they introduced a new menu so some mistakes are understandable, as long as they work towards correcting them.
The pork roulade (Rs. 1750) was the better of the mains we tried. It’s essentially pork wrapped in bacon served with a pumpkin mash. The pork was cooked and seasoned well, with a great mix of textures between the crunch of the bacon and the smoothness of the pumpkin mash. One thing to keep in mind though, is that the pumpkin mash can be quite sweet, which may not be for everyone.
The fettuccinie alfredo with prawns (Rs. 1450) on the other hand, didn’t really impress. The only real positive here is that there were plenty of prawns in it. Besides that the dish was bland and under seasoned, which we managed to somewhat improve by adding salt and pepper. The alfredo sauce was also very runny as oppose to the rich, smooth texture we expected.
For dessert we tried the panna cotta with raspberry coulis (Rs. 700), which was excellent. The texture was perfect with just the slightest wobble when tapped with the spoon and the raspberry coulis was fresh with just the right amount of sweetness.
The strawberry cheesecake (Rs. 650) had good flavour, but the cheese itself was just a bit too dense and tends to leave a sticky texture in the mouth.
Ambience & Service
We’d say Asylum is one of the best looking restaurants to pop up in a while now. They’ve got a very chic, artistic interior that makes it a perfect setting for say a date. We also liked the fact that they strayed from the norm and chose a brown and beige theme, which works very well in this case. The light shafts streaming into the restaurant through the louvers also adds to ambience in a subtle way.
Service is where Asylum really let us down. When we sat down and ordered, we were the only patrons at the restaurant, but it took close to 45 minutes for our dishes to be served, which is too slow compared to contemporary restaurants. The waiters were polite and very friendly, but they forgot certain things we ordered and got our bill wrong as well. The older waiters were knowledgeable but the younger ones were not familiar with the menu at all, which we hope improves with time.
Asylum shows signs of good things to come with a classy atmosphere and good drinks, but they’ve still got a few kinks in their food and service that needs ironing out.