ASHEVILLE – Diners can fill their plates without emptying their wallets at a new authentic Indian restaurant in downtown Asheville.
After a soft opening, Mëhfil is now open regular hours at 5 Biltmore Ave., Suite B.
Mëhfil means “a gathering of friends and loved ones,” said co-owner Al Singh. He and his business partner, Raj Singh, invite guests to come together and feast on traditional, homemade dishes at a competitive price.
“I really think it was a need for downtown,” Al Singh said. “Not everyone can afford a $17 or $18 dish for lunch, so for an average person who is downtown, especially tourists who are here and people who work here, I think it’s is an excellent choice.”
Mëhfil offers a daily buffet lunch for $11.99 per person. Half discounts apply for children under 5 years old.
The buffet can hold 10 to 20 rotating dishes, he said.
Read more:Opening of a gourmet restaurant and wine bar in the village of Biltmore in Asheville
“No one does an elaborate buffet – no other restaurant does a buffet,” Al Singh said. “Throughout the pandemic, people have moved away from the buffet. But in pre-pandemic days, when you look closer, buffets are popular. They’re reasonable; you have a variety of food.
The a la carte dinner menu is available from 2:30 p.m. to end each day with many entrees under $20.
“The price – $16-17 a la carte – compared to what’s happening in the restaurant industry, I think is very fair,” he said. “Especially (since) grocery prices have gone up so much and continue to go up. Right now, that’s where we are. … We want to keep it reasonable. We want to have that accessibility.
Mëhfil’s dining experience is meant to be fun and laid-back, he said. The partners opted for a cheerful interior design plan consisting of brightly colored paintings and accent pieces to set the mood. Decorative umbrellas and draped scarves adorn the ceiling. A collection of 19th century doors made in India line the interior walls and mark the entrance.
For guests on the go, dinner menu transportation and delivery services are available.
On the menu
Al Singh’s passion for food led him to develop Mëhfil, he said.
“We wanted to have good Indian food, so we trained the chefs in New York in a high-class environment, so they knew what they were doing,” he said.
Traditional North Indian cuisine is the mainstay of the menu with dishes from other regions mixed in, including South India and Kashmir, he said. As an introduction to the menu, Al Singh recommends customers start with one of the korma or tandoori dishes.
Looked:4 chefs from Asheville will participate in a live cooking competition. Here’s how to taste and vote.
“For someone trying our Indian cuisine, I would say start with korma, start with chicken tikka masala, try a bread like naan or roti,” he said. “All of our korma dishes are absolutely must-try. In fact, our servers will also sometimes say, “Korma Money Back Guarantee”.
Three Indian desserts are on the menu. Kheer, a rice pudding, is made according to a house recipe, he said. Also, gulab jamun – fried balls of dough dipped in aromatic syrup – and “rich and sweet” ras malai.
Non-alcoholic drinks are available. Once the liquor license is approved, a full bar will offer beer, wine and specialty cocktails, including traditional Indian beer.
Or: 5 Biltmore Ave., Suite B, Downtown Asheville.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. buffet lunch, daily; Dinner menu from 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday to Thursday; Evening menu from 2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
Information: For more information and to order online, visit mehfilasheville.com or call 828-412-5151.
Tiana Kennell is a food and restaurant reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please help support this kind of journalism with a subscription at the Citizen Times.