The Himalayan Kitchen


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 entrée 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.


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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Kathmandu Palace

date of visit:  Friday 13 November 2009

Never having tried Nepalese food before, I was keen to visit Glenelg’s Kathmandu Palace.  We were almost put off our visit by the hot weather but we were going to have to eat anyway, so we forced ourselves away from the air conditioner and down to the Bay.

Kathmandu Palace, the sister restaurant of the Kathmandu on Hutt Street, is housed in a lovely old building on Nile Street.  The restaurant occupies only the ground floor, so it is quite small, but it doesn’t feel cramped.  Crucially, the use of soft furnishings (carpet! soft chairs! table cloths! proper cloth napkins!) means that the restaurant is not noisy either.

We arrived late for our reservation (well, you try parking in Glenelg on a very hot Friday night!) and, things didn’t get off to a great start, as we had to wait before someone noticed, and seated, us.  Fortunately, that was really the only glitch in the service and it wasn’t long before we had pappadums and drinks and were facing the daunting task of choosing our food.  Throughout the remainder of the meal service was attentive, friendly and unobtrusive.

If I had to describe Nepalese food, based on this meal, I would say that it is like Indian but with less chilli and a different range of spices, with emphasis in different places, but many of the techniques appear to be similar.

To start, I was very tempted to order steamed dumplings, until I realised that that might not be so wise on such a hot day.  I opted for Chhwelaa Chiura:  a sort of stir fry of buffalo with capsicum, onion and tomato, flavoured with timbur (which you might know as Szechuan pepper!), cumin and garlic.  It was delicious:  the timbur gave it a gentle spicy heat but the other flavours could all be picked out.  It was served with flaky crispy rice (the Chiura) which certainly added textural interest and had a good flavour although some people could well find the flakes of toasted rice a little hard!

Andy started with barramundi fillets marinated in garlic, turmeric and lovage, and then grilled.  Lovage is something you see very rarely on menus and it worked well with the fish and garlic.  Andy thought he had won, but I disagreed!

For main courses, I ordered the Nepalese equivalent of chicken tikka!  Straight from the clay oven and served on a bed of spinach and rice, with a small portion of lentils on the side, it was the perfect hot summer night’s dinner.  The meat was moist and tasty, and again had gentle heat from the timbur.  The Nepalese spinach was delicious and, most impressively for a curry, the presentation was elegant!

Andy also ordered from the clay oven:  king prawns marinated in yogurt, ginger and chilli.  Again, the dish was attractively presented and came with a small selection of greens.

Luckily, for our bellies, we had not ordered any side dishes but we did have a lasun (garlic) roti on the side.  The bread was not huge – but, as with everything else, it was tasty.

We wrapped up the meal with cups of coffee and then ventured out in to the heat!

The meal came to just over $100 for the two of us – the includes the coffees, 2 James Boags and a glass of white wine.  If you have an Entertainment Book you will get a 25% discount.

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