We can’t leave Katmandu Valley without a short blog on a couple of dining experiences.
Krishnarpan. We knew we were in for something special (although we weren’t sure what) when we were saluted upon entering the building that housed a hotel and restaurant. We were guided to the dining room and greeted by pictures of previous guests including Hillary Clinton, the King of Spain and even Demi Moore. This high-end, Nepalese restaurant offers prix fixe meals that range from six to 22 courses. We chose a middle course of 12-courses, which we found to be about three too many for our appetites and the time we were willing to spend (3 1/4 hours) given our need for an early morning departure.
The experience is as interesting as the food. You begin with a ritual hand washing, removal of shoes and being seated on very low chair, at a very low table with legs crossed beneath or spread in front of you. Service is generally very attentive, each dish is explained, although in English, we didn’t always understand what they were trying to describe) and the potent rice wine (in addition to an ordered bottle of Bordeaux) continually flows. And there is nowhere we can think where you get such variety and quality of food, this type of atmosphere and this quality service for a mere $50 per person. We just wish the service was a bit faster–and that we had ordered fewer dishes.
The food was generally very good. The appetizer course, consisted of seven tastes, three of which we found very interesting (beans, a water buffalo and some unusual dried fried rice). We also really enjoyed the three tastes in the next course (roasted mushrooms with cream, an amazingly creamy sautéed spinach, especially when we put them on the poori bread). Among other favorites through the course of the dinner were a spiced lamb, chicken cooked curry and some delicious minced meat momos (dumplings) and vegetable soup that tasted like a cream of asparagus. For our desert course, we enjoyed the dry milk pudding and a very unusual,emulsion of 5 essences of a very dense, sticky concoction that tasted something like unsweetened dates.
While we rarely take pictures of our food, we did this time and want to share….
Tamal House. A Nepali restaurant in Thamal offers a very low-priced (about $10) fixed menu (with a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian) that has a very good selection (both in terms of its breadth and its quality) of many types of local dishes. It begins with three appetizers: Momo steamed dumplings, fried curry potato and lentil soup. The entree included basmati rice, lentils with butter and herbs, mutton (lamb) with gravy, marinated,boiled and grilled wild boar and barbecued chicken skewer. Dessert was a thick yogurt with nuts and cinnamon. Over a course of two meals at the same restaurant, we also sampled a number of other dishes, including repeats of the very good mutton both with and without gravy. Our only mistake came in ordering the barbecued chicken on its, own, with no gravy or other sauce. The chicken and rice, by themselves, were a bit to dry for our tastes.