The Buddha Palace is a Nepalese and Indian restaurant just outside Newbridge in Kildare. It is situated across from the big retail park to the south of the town that has Tesco as the main store.
The restaurant is in an older building just at Langton Cross and our friend Maureen laughed when she saw it – she lived in Newbridge for a time and always thought that this would be a great spot for a restaurant. From the outside the Buddha Palace is a vision in pink, with bright lights on a dark night, and there is a definite sense of Bollywood exuberance. Inside it is more tranquil, with dark red lamps providing the light, while the colour scheme is in creams and browns, with vibrant, colourful artwork and tapestries hanging on the wall, while at the back of the room an old carved alter stands against the wall.
The owners here are Padaam and Din, (Dean) with Padaam in the kitchen while Din handles front of house. Both from Kathmandu, they are passionate about Nepalese food, while being aware that Irish people have developed an affinity for Indian cooking as well. The menu reflects that and offers a good selection of dishes from both traditions. Expect to see most of the sub continents favourites as well as the Nepalese specialities.
We started as we meant to continue, with far too much food. We had to try the Nepalese Mo Mo, while the platter offered a selection of meats cooked in the Tandoor, and crab claws seemed like too good an idea to pass. Main courses were ordered with a view to their provenance, so Nepalese Everest lamb was accompanied by chicken Lumbini from western Nepal. From further south there was a king prawn Balti, an Aloo Gobi and a Daal. A couple of glasses of white wine and Coke for the driver completed our order.
Poppadoms were up first, and came with obviously home made dips, while the starters were fantastic. The chicken and lamb from the Tandoor was so perfectly cooked, the chicken retaining all its moisture, the crab claws were little morsels of sweetness and light, while the Mo Mo (think Dim Sum dumplings) were light and delicious and came with their own Nepalese dip.
Main courses were possibly even better; the Nepalese lamb was hot and spicy and packed a punch, the chicken Lumbini was milder, but was stuffed with cheese, onion, almond and raisins and so had no flavour deficit, while the sauce on the king prawn was a lesson in hot and sour. The vegetarian dishes were equally as good, but be warned; the lentils are eye wateringly hot.
We didn’t know what we were going to find in Newbridge that evening. This was a new find, a chance destination. It was better than good. It was great. The leftovers fed us the next day, and if anything the flavours had intensified.
Buddha Palace is serving seriously good Nepalese and Indian food in a funky restaurant, run by genuinely lovely people. There’s nothing not to like here, and it seems that some of the best ethnic restaurants are now firmly outside Dublin. They also do some ridiculously good deals – two courses for €14.95 including a glass of wine. Eating out is becoming cheaper than cooking.