My First Taste of Himalayan Cuisine!
My geographic sense has probably been long returned to my dear geography teacher in high school but vaguely I do know a little about Nepal. I know Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain is located in Nepal. Nepal’s capital is Kathmandu and the country is made up of high mountains and valleys with gorgeous picturesque sceneries, amazing ancient architecture and exotic myths. In fact, I have a very dear friend Sagina who is from Nepal and has the nicest personality I have ever met. However with all these said, I have never been to Nepal nor had a taste of its cuisine.
When I was told of a Restaurant Nepal that serves Himalayan Cuisine, located at Plaza Damas, is serving up authentic Nepalese cuisine, I admit to being a little excited. Other than dumplings that I know, I haven’t got the slightest idea what the cuisine is all about. A gracious invite from the owner, Robin, to experience an authentic Nepalese meal needed no second thoughts. A few of us gladly met up one evening and boy, were we surprised how much we all love Nepal cuisine!
Restaurant Nepal is not helmed by a chef but rather by Robin’s sister. Everything is homemade and many ingredients like chili or spices are brought imported from Nepal. To ensure authentic dishes, everything is made just like it is at home in Nepal. We were even asked how spicy we like our food and we happily replied with a ‘give us the authentic Nepalese heat!’
A quick Google search on Nepal cuisine shows that rice and grain are staples in their dietary consumptions. The cuisine has a hybrid of Chinese, Tibetian and Indian mix. Famous street food are Momos, dumplings filled with meat, usually chicken, goat or buffalo and can be served steamed, deep fried or pan fried. Lots of curries and stews are seen while Nepalese also eats a lot of vegetables and legumes. Meals are served in Thali, a large steel or copper plate with a little of everything piled on neatly around it. More exotic stuff are yak meat and butter tea but let’s not go there yet. You get my jiff and before I bored you to death, you can read more about Nepalese cuisine here.
Drinks tasted familiar that night. We had Masala Chyaa, Nepali Lemon Tea and Fresh Mango Lassi prior to dinner. I like how sugar is served on the side for individual preference. Took a sip of Masala Chyaa and it was a light flavoring of masala spices that makes one feel warm and fuzzy. The Fresh Mango Lassi is delicious, fruity and sweet with a creamy flavor.
Coined with a cute name like Momo, these dumplings are addictive! When the Deep Fried Momo landed at our table, the golden bundles look divine. Served with a side of curry sauce and two types of chili sauce, 4pcs of Momo are RM7 or 8pcs for RM12. The Deep Fried Momo has a lovely crisp pastry filled with juicy chicken filling spiced up. Savory and scrumptious, the Momo are just so good with each bite. While these didn’t need further sauces, I do recommend trying it with the served sauces simply because the chili sauces take these Momo to another level of flavors.
The red sauce is made from tomato and spices with less heat of chili while the yellow sauce is made with Nepal chili and renders a nice punch of heat. Curiosity got the best out of me and I requested for a look at the Nepal chili. If I am not mistaken, it’s named Dalle Khursani. It’s small and fairly round, the heat is intense while aromatic and flavorful. I love the yellow chili sauce a lot and practically swipe this clean, even wanting for more.
Pan Fried Momo came along, this time shaped in crescent. You get a nice crisp side plus a soft steamy one. Again, the filling is really delicious and so flavorful. I love these as it is and also with the sauces!
Named simply Snack Platter (RM24), the name did not do this platter justice! It’s a gorgeous plate of colors, flavors and ingredients. Snack Platter is perfect for those who love a taste of everything. It comprises of six dishes with Steamed Momo, Chicken Chili, Aloo Silam, Bhuteko Bhatmas, Nepali Salad and Chyau Mutter. While the name may seemed a bit funky, the dishes are delicious! Let me dissect this platter for you…
Steamed Momo, same as the other two earlier ones, are flavorful and juicy with minced chicken filling encased in a thin dough skin. It does resemble the famous Xiao Long Bao in my books except it doesn’t have that much broth spilling out.
I can certainly pop these by the dozens… deep fried, pan fried or steamed. Order more of the Momos, its superb!
Bhuteko Bhatmas are roasted soybeans spiced up with Nepalese spices, onions, tomatoes and coriander. We love this to bits the flavors are zingy and zesty with a nutty note while plenty of textures are perfect for munching, preferably with a big mug of beer or a glass of wine. I am labeling this as ‘Can’t get enough of this!’
The next one is my favorite too... since I practically wiped out this portion. Aloo Silam reads as boiled potatoes marinated with red onion and Silam in the menu. Silam are seeds of the perilla plant that are roasted and ground with salt. It lends a nutty aromatic flavor to the dish. Here, the potatoes are soft, creamy, nutty and aromatic. Apparently the version here is the Robin’s mom’s recipe… shows that mothers know best!
We had our Chicken Chili spicy. Pieces of lean chicken meat are battered and fried before being smothered in a spicy sauce with onions, bell peppers and coriander. This one is spicy so tell them if you can’t take the heat. Although the chili is spicy, there is a good depth of flavors and aroma in the chili. Coupled with the fragrance of onions and bell pepper, this one is easy to eat and the flavors are certainly great.
Chyau Mutter is pretty decent too. Sauteed fresh mushrooms and peas with spices, there is a toasty earthy flavors in the dish.
Nepali Salad is a take on cabbage slaw with a tangy vinegary dressing. Crunchy and tangy, this one is nothing to shout about.
Love, love, love the two sauces again…
This one is just so pretty in presentation. Chata-Mari is Nepalese’s version of pizza in a way. Instead of a bread base, this one has a crispy thin crust made from rice flour. Topped with minced chicken, chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander and egg, it’s a yummy savory appetizer. Flavors are delicate but add on a little of their awesome chili sauce and you get another level of flavors.
Mains arrived and we savored Jhwol Maccha and Fars Ko Daal Ra Khasi Ko Nali together with Chicken Thakali Thali Set. Jhwol Maccha, a fish curry that is tangy and robust. Its not the creamy kind but rather the sourish savory one that one can simply drown their rice in the lovely gravy. Using grass carp, the fish does have a lot of bones so it takes extra effort to eat this. We did tell Robin that maybe they can offer a fish with less bones but I guess it wouldn’t be authentic then. Oh well, it’s still a good curry and yes, I did drenched my rice with the gravy.
There is perfectly nothing to fault with Fars Ko Daal Ra Khasi Ko Nali, mutton bone marrow cooked in sweet pumpkin curry. Spiced up with timmur or Nepali pepper and more often know as Szechuan pepper, the curry has a light hint of the biting taste with a slight numbing effect. Very lightly used, it’s not overpowering and the pumpkin makes a great cover up for the spice. The bone marrow is cooked till soft and very tender, where one can really chuck away all utensils and just suck this clean. While others raved at this dish, the sweetness of the dish is just not my cup of tea as I am not really used to sweet spiced up curry. As we have always said, taste is really each individual’s preference.
Chicken Thakali Thali Set is a full meal on its own. Perfect for single diners or for those who loves a little buffet of dishes, this Thali set is just right for a nice meal on its own. Another one of the owner’s mom’s recipe, there are three kinds of Thali Sets that offers Nepalese Curry Chicken, Lamb or Mushroom served with various side dishes of vegetables and a black bean daal soup.
The sides are spiced up potatoes, sautéed greens, stir fried green beans with spices, achar and chutney. Again I must raved how good the potatoes are on this plate. I love the spice seasoning on it and the potatoes are cooked really well. The black bean daal is thick, creamy and a little nutty. We had Nepalese Curry Chicken, a fairly light curry that is delicious. It’s a really well-balanced meal here with plenty of greens for a healthier edge.
We had house pouring red and white wine together with a house signature, Shangri-lla with our meal. Shangri-lla is house sangria, red wine marinated with fruits. The version here is just good, so good I finished one by myself. If you like sangria, make sure to order Shangri-lla by the jug as a glass would not be enough. There is even a promotion for the house wines for the whole month of November as seen in Restaurant Nepal’s Facebook.
I am sold, I love Nepal cuisine, especially the Momos, Snack Platter and Thali Set. I also can’t get enough of the homemade spicy chili sauces. There are plenty of vegetarian options too. Food is very decently priced and one can certainly taste the warmness of a home-cooked meal here at Restaurant Nepal. In fact, I am already planning to bring my family back here for the Momos and Snack Platter. A lovely first taste of Nepalese or Himalayan cuisine…
F-0-6, Plaza Damas,
60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 6206 3904 / 016 9770 718
Mon – Fri 11.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm
Sat – Sun 11.30pm to 10pm