Bhansa Ghar is an authentic Nepalese restaurant in Cabinteely village, just down from the cross roads.
Situated in a modern building, inside it is a mix of old and new, with stylish contemporary chairs and cool blues on the wall, combining with traditional Nepalese tablecloths and one feature orange wall. Mirrors adorn the back wall, adding to a feeling of space and there is a collection of Nepalese art and musical instruments on display.
The kitchen is clearly visible and the Nepalese chefs are hard at work, while the warm welcome front of house is one of the nicest things about eating Nepalese; the people are genuinely friendly and welcoming. On a cold January evening the restaurant is nicely busy, and soon is pretty full with what i assume are local diners out for a midweek treat and some quality home cooked food, albeit one from not around these parts.
The name means ‘home kitchen’ as a literal translation, but in Nepal people eat in the kitchen, much like we do here, and a more honest translation would be dining room or maybe even kitchen table.
The man behind BG is Jiwan Timalsina who has been in Ireland for thirty years and this is the realization of his vision to serve only authentic Nepalese food from all corners of his native country. He is ably abetted in his endeavours by son Chhitiz and son in law Sanjeeb, a chemist and accountant respectively who have taken some time out to help run the business.
The menu sticks to Nepal, so don’t expect to eat Indian here, there is no tikka masala or Balti, but what there is is authentic Nepalese dishes that we found to be quite delightful. We put ourselves in the hands of Jiwan who asked us what we liked and don’t and then picked some starters and mains based on that. I like eating this way; if the restaurant is good it is invariably a success. It’s no different really than eating from a tasting menu in a high end fine dining establishment, and it’s how Paolo would order sometimes in new places.
Starters brought is sizzling baby squid served on a bed of onion, the sizzle and steam rising from the dish as we picked out seared tubes. The squid was lightly dusted with Himalayan spices, cooked quickly in the hot tandoor oven and was fabulously tender and as healthy as can be.
During the summer we had lunch at the beach restaurant in Malaga, where you picked your squid from a platter before it was send outside and barbequed on an open fire. It was lovely but I did get a surprise at the €84 bill. These little squid cost us €9.50 and we just as good, if not better!
Next up came a plate of perfect little Momo, one of my favourite Nepalese dishes. These are little dumplings stuffed with chicken and spices and steamed, then served with a hot tomato based dipping sauce. They were perfect and we worried as we finished if we would have enough room for our main courses.
These can out on two large brass platters, with eight or nine little brass cups on each. This is a dal bhat tarkari can be described as the national food of Nepal. The literal translation is lentil, rice and curry. Traditionally dal bhat tarkari is served on a large plate called thali which contains several smaller plates that serve lentils, chicken or lamb, vegetables, pickles and a dessert. The rice is placed in the centre of the thali with the other plates surrounding the rice. You will find Thali across Nepal, Tibet and India and while different cultures have their own variations of dal bhat tarkari the essence remains the same.
Each little cup had a different ingredient, so we had hot lamb curry, chicken stir fry, lentils (Daal), potato and cauliflower Aloo, pickle and a spicy dip. A really light and soft GOC Naan came on the side and we managed tp mop up most of the varied flavours. I’d recommend this a lot, it’s a great way to experience Nepalese food, if a little messy. Probably not first date material, but delicious nonetheless.
Dessert brought us a homemade carrot cake which is different to the one you are used to, but was a perfect end to a lovely, honest home cooked meal.
Bhansa ghar is really very good indeed. They are still expanding the menu, and bringing on more of the sharing style of dining we have all fallen so in love with Spanish tapas.
Get along for a true taste of Nepal and experience something a little out of the ordinary. We loved Bhansa Ghar; it’s friendly. Informal, great value for money and most importantly serves delicious authentic food. What’s not to love?