The Himalayan Kitchen

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date of visit: Saturday 20 July 2013

Time to corral the troops and head out for another big group meal. This is something that always ends up being surprisingly difficult and this time was no different, with last minute additions and amendments flying around as late as Saturday afternoon.

But at the last minute, everything came together and we (a group of eight) met at the Lord Melbourne for a pre-dinner drink (recommended by me for being cheap and relatively quiet at 6:30pm on a Saturday) before heading next door to The Himalayan Kitchen.

Andy and I have tried Nepalese once before (the Kathmandu Palace at Glenelg, a few years ago now!) and one other couple could even be considered veterans with two previous visits to the Himalayan Kitchen, but I think for everyone else this was a first. While Nepalese cuisine is easily described as ‘like curry’ I don’t think that’s entirely fair.

Because we are lazy (no, wait, maybe it’s because I’m lazy …) we opted for the banquet menu – available for parties of four or more. This removed any need for choosing dishes and, at $36.50 a head, was an absolute bargain.

While waiting, we started with a bottle of Fox Gordon Princess Fiano (very reasonably priced too) and it wasn’t long before our entrĂ©e platters arrived. The platters consisted of momo (Nepalese dumplings – very much like steamed gyoza/mandoo/jiaozi) served on a delicious, slightly spicy tomato sauce, spring rolls (chicken), onion pakora and sekuwa (chicken marinated in yoghurt, ginger and masala). For me the real star was the tomato sauce with the momo, closely followed by the momo themselves and the sekuwa. The spring rolls were highly rated at other parts of the table. I felt that the pakora really let the platter down as they were a little bit dried out in terms of texture (making them somewhat crumbly and claggy to eat) and unexpectedly bland in flavour.

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Main courses arrived and it was a very impressive spread of food: three meat based curries with a chickpea curry as well as dal, pumpkin, roti, pappadums and rice. The curries were fish, chicken and goat and the goat was definitely my favourite. There was a good level of chilli heat, as well as plenty of flavour and really tender meat. For anyone not getting enough chilli heat, some Nepalese pickled chillis were brought to the table – and when our waitress said they were hot she was NOT kidding. Proceed with caution!

Really, none of the main course dishes missed a trick. They were all delicious and worked well together and everyone loved the roti. There was a ton of food, with one of the waiting staff trying to make sure we all ate just a little bit more. But we did get to the point where we just really couldn’t finish everything off.

Our meal wrapped up with the owners’ daughter bringing out Nepalese singing bowls for everyone to try their hand at. I can quite confidently say that I was rubbish at it but it was quite a good laugh seeing one of my friends who is a bit stand offish with children be bossed around by a ten year old!

After our Entertainment Book discount, dinner, drinks and a generous worked out to a paltry $40 a head. Without the vouchers it would have been about $50 a head and still sensational value.

The Himalayan Kitchen is something of a trek if you live in the southern suburbs, but without a shadow of a doubt, it was worth it and I would return in a heart beat.

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