AASMA: A culinary delight in the clouds by Rita Trehan

There is a certain joy in eating outdoors while being close to nature seldom found in the confines of the cold walls of a commercial restaurant located within the stifling margins of a bustling city. Given the abundant natural beauty surrounding the cities of Chandigarh and Panchkula, one tends to wonder, is it possible to dine in a place close to nature and still have the comfort of a high class restaurant experience without breaking the bank? The answer as we, the members of St Johns Ex-Teachers Association (SJETA), found out was a resounding yes. This place was Aasma, the revolving restaurant.

Aasma is a casual dining restaurant located just a breezy 20 min drive from Panchkula, off the Kalka Highway number 5 in the peaceful Amravati Enclave. Its a unique structure, standing tall and majestic from afar, overlooking the verdant surroundings of the Shivalik range in the North and the Nepli Reserved Forest in the West. It is the brainchild of the Restaurateur family of one of our old boys Ainesh which leads me to think that St Johns could easily launch a great culinary management school one day, given the talent and sheer number of excellent places to eat being owned by our students. As I was reminiscing over these entrepreneurial thoughts, one of our teachers called out that we had arrived.

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Our large group of hungry eaters took the express elevators up the tall structure and were ushered into the restaurant which was unlike any I have ever been to. The space was colossal and I was told it could seat 128 guests. Each of these elegant mahogany seats with tasteful brown/beige dcor had an unrestricted view to the lush green hills and forests. The whole space was round as expected in a revolving restaurant, the pace of the movement very subtle making the panorama keep in step with each dish of culinary delights. We started out with our favorite Fresh Lime Sodas for the teetotalers and whisky on the rocks in elegant glasses served from the well-equipped bar. Spring rolls and Hara Bhara Kababs played their stellar roles as appetizers. The rolls were crisp on the outside and piping hot inside, the kababs were made to melting perfection. With the rainy humid season on song, it was time to bring out some monsoon heavy-hitters: the assorted Pakoras and Manchurian. Fried to perfection and reminding you of the times you spent on the verandah sipping Chai and eating fresh pakoras out of the kitchen, the taste was impeccable. The Manchurian was also splendidly satisfying. By this time, we knew we could not go wrong with whatever we order and that the menu seemed to be well designed and each dish coming out of the kitchen looked well executed. My theory was proven right by the excellent Pastas with spicy Aglio Con Pepperoncini and the classic Arabiata. The tomato gravy was cooked to nice savory sweetness and the spice kicked the taste up a notch. Many servings were had of the excellent Garlic Bread. After having our fill of the Entrees, it was time to indulge in the sinful Rasmalai and my favorite Kulfi. As I was looking up at the ceiling, perhaps praying to the culinary gods and thanking them for this excellent meal, I could not help but notice the mural and classical frescoes on the ceilings. It made me realize how much love and attention to detail had gone into making this restaurant an experience to behold. As the night set in, I saw the mesmerizing sunset and the shimmering lights of Barog and Kasauli slowly turn on like jewels on the hills. Aasma is as much a feast for the eyes as for the palate.
I highly recommend making a nice short trip outside the hustle bustle of the city and making a pit stop at Aasma. After all, all great journeys begin with an excellent meal.

  • Rita Trehan

    I am an enthusiast for life, passionate for teaching and motivated by excellence. I enjoy the small things in life that add to my basket of happiness. Having lived in Chandigarh for as long as I can remember, I love the city and its vibe. A true Carmelite at heart, I graduated in English honours from GCW and went on to do my masters in English from Punjab university. I found my calling in teaching and pursued Bachelors In Education which gave me the opportunity to join St. John's- one of the top schools in the tricity as a teacher and was a part of this amazing family for over 33 years. I am an avid reader and have read all the volumes of Shakespeare which I highly recommend.

    • Show Comments (7)

    • nishank

      Yet another Beautifully written article !
      You rock ma’am

    • Digvijay Singh

      Splendid! I look forward to reading your next informative work.

    • Gurnoor Sandhu

      Very well written article ma’am, you always put across your thoughts in a great manner.

    • Shivani Trehan

      great post 🙂

    • Mintoo

      We have altogether a different experience at Aasma, we visited this place with our entire family 13 members on Christmas, 2015, though the place was well decorated but the good stuff offered was not at all up to mark. The snacks served was accompanied with dry and stale salad, the chapati’ s were cold , though there was not many people in restaurant , still the service was delayed and very poor. The food served in any good dhaba would have been rated better than the food served here in quality. Your experience , I can not comment about but our experience was not good. Though the location of Aasma is good but there is much to be done by them in improving their quality of food to beserved and service being extended to clients.

    • Kamla Sharma

      You have a very good expression. You have given voice to the feelings of so many people. Go on a holiday and write a book.

    • Proshant Das

      Mrs. Trehaan encouraging review and the subsequent not so positive feedback, I trust will give food for thought to the patrons of Aasma..for you the only way is up….let the sky be your limit!!

      Mrs. Trehan we look forward to an encore from you with your vast experience in mentoring scores of young minds.

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