Mount Everest of Kathmandu is at the top of Bray's main street opposite the old Town Hall. You can guess from its name that this restaurant specialises in Himalayan cuisine, with dishes from Nepal and Tibet.+
These Himalayan states border India on one side and China on the other, so there is some cross-fertilisation of culinary techniques. You'll find a definite Chinese influence in some of the dishes, such as sizzling platters.
On a Friday night we found ourselves in a long dining room with well-spaced tables. Towards the front, there's a bit of a theme – some carved woods on the walls and other ethnic wall hangings, but they're not in your face and you could easily miss them. It's the menu that tells you clearly what's in store.
We had a window seat looking out at the Town Hall, which is still a lovely building, even with a McDonalds inside. A plate of poppadoms and homemade dips kept us busy as we chose our dinner. We wanted to stay with the traditional Nepalese or Tibetan dishes; there is a selection of Indian classics as well, but that’s for another time.
Momo are a Nepalese speciality, they are Nepal’s answer to dim sum. There perfect little steamed dumplings stuffed with minced lamb are served with a spicy dipping sauce and are one of my favourite things; I have been known to get a portion as a take away on occasion, and just share them as a snack while watching a movie at home. These were delicious and a portion of Jal Pari – squid cooked in the Tandoor – was a perfect combination of starters.
Main courses brought us monkfish Tareko; pieces of barbequed monkfish with capsicum and crunchy stir fried onions. This was light and delicious and a great foil to my spicy Kathmandu chilli lamb, which was tender but fiery. Pilau rice and a thin and crispy coriander naan were perfect accompaniments.
We took a short break and decided a dessert would finish the meal off nicely. We shared a bowl of Kher, which is rice pudding flavoured with cardamom and cinnamon. This was a perfect comfort food dessert, very like the desserts of an Irish childhood, when all rice and pasta were cooked in milk and sugar, and were dessert items. It’s funny how the same basic dishes appear across the world, between cultures that had no direct links until relatively recent times.
Paolo Tullio headlined his review some years ago as Mountains of Taste. That much is certainly true. If you are a fan of Indian food you should really try these Nepalese dishes. There are some similarities, but they have some unique flavours of their own, and Mount Everest of Kathmandu is a fine place to start exploring.