Any day now we’ll be getting that cooler weather and subsequent comfort food cravings that come with every fall season. If you’re already deep in those PSL’s it’s time to get on board with some real savory snuggles. Fortunately, Ashling Kitchen & Bar is here just in time to provide the food and libations to go with all your favorite fall feels. 

Ashling (located in Crofton) celebrated their grand opening this past April. They have a sleek new interior with hip accents and a clear love for all things music. The space is as vibrant as it is welcoming– altogether familiar in that “coming home” kind of way. Elise and Saeed translated their years spent in the music industry catering for various music venues into a charming, laid back setting that’s perfect for a simple meal or boisterous gathering.

I was lucky enough to have somewhat of a posse for my visit. Since Ashling serves up their food family meal style it was a good thing I had the fine folks at Visit Annapolis with me to help chow down on the incredible spread Executive Chef Ahmed rolled out. All at once our table was brimming with gigantic portions of select dishes set to go on the new fall menu.

Ashling Kitchen & Bar

After getting acquainted with Ashling’s signature cocktail “The Ashling”, their take on a Manhattan complete with an ice globe, hand-stamped orange rind, and even a thank you note attached, I started in on the calamari first. Yes, it was a bounty of crispy golden rings, but what stood out to me were the fried caper berries and lemon slices. Not to mention, the little bursts of fiery sweetness from the petits poivrons (Sweety Drop Peppers).

Ashling Kitchen & Bar

Next, I was on to Chef Ahmed’s take on Bangers and Mash. All the main players were there: pork sausage, a dreamy bed of potato mousseline, and some buttered English peas for good measure. The cherry on top, however, was the little hunk of seared pork belly that ran away with the show, at least for me. Pork belly is one of those things that I will come running for and I was so grateful for Chef Ahmed’s stroke of genius in adding it to this dish.

Ashling Kitchen & Bar

Last, but not least was the five-hour braised beef chuck accompanied by heirloom carrots, fingerling potatoes, and a port & Guinness gravy. This can be your one-stop shop for all your comfort food needs. A generous portion of tender beef was rounded out by a choice vegetable selection, while the potatoes finished off any lingering hunger I may have had. By this point I was well into my food coma and finding it difficult to muster the energy for an interview with Elise and Saeed.

Ashling Kitchen & Bar

As expected, Elise and Saeed were nothing short of lovely with an obvious passion for what they do, as evidenced through an attention to detail in every facet of their restaurant. Get a taste of Ashling’s high-end Americana cuisine with a touch of Irish flare. They have a darling room that can accommodate all your private party needs and be sure to check out their catering, too!

Rhea Torreon

Rhea is a born-and-raised Annapolitan with Filipino roots and has been an enthusiast for all things food since childhood. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in English Language and Literature and has been working in the food industry for over 13 years. She believes bacon really does make everything better. She is a lover of pineapples and the occasional tequila. On her off-time, Rhea enjoys yoga and playing with her cat, Dinosaur.