Asta Luego’s – Wembley (Revisit)
Following our less than flattering review of Asta Luego’s in Wembley last year, we felt duty-bound to give this place another go after being informed of its recent change of personnel.
As a reminder, here’s an excerpt from the conclusion we drew the last time we visited, which led us to rating it 2/5:
What do you get when you cross a badly kept, i.e. dirt and grind along with bits of left over food stuck here, there and everywhere, and non-baby friendly restaurant with Central London prices? Asta Luego’s of course!
Ouch! A little harsh? Perhaps; but, given this post is being published during the fasting month of Ramadan, the idea of rectitude and self-improvement, as well as forgiveness and forbearance, could be said to be as much about the restaurant-critic relationship as it is for the Creator-creation dichotomy!
From the outside then, it was good to see that that distinctive red quad-bike still holds pride of place all prim and polished. We did notice, however, that the entrance had been improved with the addition of a second door.
As to the inside, then aside from how clean the entire place looked, two things stood out in contrast to the days of old: 1) some very tasteful and eye-catching artwork, 2) NEW TABLES!
Gone were those horribly sticky flat tops with four legs, replaced instead by these beautifully conceived square tables adorned with proverbs and aphorisms, such as: “Success is found in the hour before fajr.” Or this simple, though ironic, reminder: “Take care of your body.”
With so much food to get through though, taking care of our body was the furthest thing from our collective minds.
Perhaps we would take up the Pull Up Bar challenge when done!
With its strikingly distinct colours, this exotic looking cucumber and strawberry concoction certainly exuded that summery vibe. However, although the two flavours were distinct enough, they were far too subtle to leave any lasting impressions. And though relatively refreshing, we couldn’t pick up on the lemon that was promised therein.
The Oreo milkshake was true by name and true by nature. No skimping here on the Oreos that’s for sure! This was one of the better shakes we’ve had in a while. Thick, luscious and rich in consistency, this was a sugar overload with plenty of large chunks of Orea covered in delicious caramel drizzle. Superb!
The Snickers version was a solid attempt too. Again drizzled with caramel, you wouldn’t be left disappointed.
This was a refreshingly tasty drink. With loads of bruised mint leaves to chew on, along with the surprising addition of sugar granules to give it a pleasant sweet aftertaste, this Mojito delivered perfectly on the sharp flavours of mint and lemon. Certainly one of the better ones we’ve enjoyed.
Topped with pickles and fresh baby lettuce leaves, these chops weren’t bad except that these were more Desi in origin than anything else. Marinated in a strong tandoori-type masala paste, they were described by one Lion as “chewy”, and another as “tough”.
With the same marination as the above chops, these medium-sized wings were very spicy and heavily coated in marinade. They were actually pretty good with little jalapenos to add to the spice.
This, however, was, among the starters, the standout dish.
It was an assortment of flavours that ranged from the chilli delivered by the sweet jalapenos, to the gooey cheese poured all over, the crunchy sweetness of the red onions, and the flavoursome taco sauce underneath with chunky bits of beef and red beans.
We were thinking that perhaps the addition of tortilla chips might provide the textural contrast this dish was crying out for.
The donkey sauce was just mayo, albeit sweeter, sprinkled with chives.
NOTE: All burgers and wraps come with Asta Luego’s Signature Flavoured Fries – Salt ‘n’ Pepper, Mexican Chilli, Flame Grilled BBQ, Pepper Steak, Green Onion, Tomato Sauce, Cheese Snacks, Fruit Chutney, Boerewars Relish, Sour Cream ‘n’ Chive – which otherwise cost £2.50 each.
We all agreed, however, that the meat was on the dry side owing, we believe, to it being cooked well done. Unlike other burger joints who provide the option, we weren’t asked how we wanted our burgers cooked. As such, if cooking their meat patties well done isn’t part of any cooking policy, then perhaps they might consider either cooking it, at the very most, medium-well, or offer their customers the choice. Otherwise, what’s needed with any dry patty is more sauce. In this case, the sauce, along with the rest of the condiments, were tangy and tasty.
Having said all that though, the crispy turkey bacon rashers were perfectly made. And finally, more cheese would also improve this burger.
As for the Mexican Chilli fries, then these were crispy and well made, but very mild in flavour.
This seemed to be practically the same as the Signature except for the addition of a sweet BBQ sauce. Again, this lacked cheese, but with the BBQ sauce, this trumped its Signature rival.
Again, it would have been even better had the patty been cooked medium to medium well.
As for the Sour Cream fries, then we barely picked up any such alleged flavour.
The first attempt we received was woefully under cooked. The management, however, were quick to rectify matters and replace it with a second one where the chicken was cooked to perfection – moist and succulent.
What made this such a pleasant eat was the deliciously tasting sauce which, coupled with the beetroot House Slaw and lashings of cheese and garlic mayo, combined well with the huge slab of chicken.
The fries, this time Flame Grilled BBQ, again barely had any BBQ flavour to speak of.
This was a flavoursome alternative to all that meat. The generous filling of crispy falafel was properly seasoned, and the Halloumi cheese well cooked and tasty.
As to the Cheese Snacks fries, then these were, in terms of flavour, easily the best – nice ‘n’ cheesy.
The waffle here wasn’t bad in taste; it’s just that the texture seemed wrong. What we had here was a semi-crispy waffle that had an oily like texture on the inside.
The only redeeming factor was the sweet milk chocolate and white chocolate gratings, all of which combined well with the vanilla ice cream.
Again, the same oily-type waffle indicating a clear problem with the cooking process. And if you cover such a waffle with chocolate and toffee sauce along with whipped cream and bananas, then you end up with an extra soft waffle. Not a bad flavour combo; just needs to be properly refined.
- CHILD SEATING
- JUST EAT (FREE DELIVERY £12+)
The interior had been given a lick of paint; those horrid, sticky tables replaced with clean, exciting ones; and an intriguingly eye-catching wall mural added to the decor. In terms of first impressions, these additions made all the difference. What is more, there was also a marked improvement with the food.
Asta Luego's isn't quite the finished article yet. Improvements still need to be made, particularly with the desserts we ordered. However, things are definitely on the up and up here.
With a seating capacity of 45-50, a pray area at the back of the restaurant, and disabled-friendly toilets, this is certainly worth visiting if you're in the area.
Don't forget our 20% discount exclusive to The Pride.
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193 East Lane
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 12:00 – 23:00
T: +44 (0)203 556 6801 | W: www.astaluegos.com