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Hungry Eye – Kaiser Cafe, Thamel

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

It was Friday night, but early as we were, we had Dwarika’s Kaiser CafĂ© Restaurant & Bar almost wholly to ourselves. All the better to admire the simple, tastefully done two-storey building comprising outdoor and indoor seating.

We were quickly ushered inside, installed next to a gas heater, furnished with menus, and left to admire the framed, bookish demeanour of the previous owner of the complex: Kaiser Sumshere JBR. What would the Field Marshal, so admiring of European culture, have made of the continental fare available at the restaurant that bears his name today?

kaiser cafe and restaurant
kaiser cafe and restaurant

Armed with glasses of Chilean red, we tucked into the excellent Seafood Cappuccino, a rich tomato-based soup leavened with chunks of prawn and topped with a creamy foam. The Grilled Oyster Mushroom with Roast Cumin, too, was tasty, except for the fact that it was breaded and fried, and weighed heavy on our tummies. Would we be able to do justice to our mains?

The Steak a la King, accompanied with a mushroom basil sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables, put that question to rest. A crunchy crust gave way to tender, perfectly poised medium rare meat, and I could barely bring myself to covet my companion’s charcoal baked fish, though the sight of rapidly emptied plate was proof of the pudding. The tastiest meal in a long time, she declared. It was only for form’s sake that we shared a dessert, so stuffed were we. The light Lime Yoghurt Cake fit the bill, and we staggered out into the night.

Good portions, excellent service, and given all that, prices that don’t set your teeth on edge. Bravo!

PS It was with some annoyance that we forked out Rs 80 to be allowed to pass through the Garden of Dreams on our way to the restaurant. I agree that an excellent job has been done on the restoration of this historic garden, and that maintenance could use some form of public support. But can’t Dwarika’s come to an agreement with the government regarding separate access to the restaurant, so those only looking for food and drink aren’t compelled to subsidise the lip-lockers that have thronged the garden of late?

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