Nepali Times Asian Paints
Review
Dhaba

SOMEPLACE ELSE by NEPALI KUKUR


The Bagmati River is the antithesis of an appetiser on your way to dinner. But I couldn't ignore Kathmandu's culinary scene any longer, and Dhaba provided the opportunity to harken back to those days before Jhamel. Perhaps because of the latter, this upmarket resto loosely modeled after India's ubiquitous roadside establishments seemed quieter than I remembered it. But the cabin-like interior, with a thatch-roof, roll-up straw curtains, wooden furniture and flagstones, was as pleasant as ever (there's a spread of alfresco tables, too). With an attentive staff at hand, we were ready to peruse the extensive North Indian menu.

We tried to spread our bets as we downed summery masala cokes and jeera jals. A starter, a kebab, and meat and veg curries. It was just as well we asked that our dishes be delivered whenever they were ready, as Dhaba is not renowned for its quick service.

The Tandoor Shimla Mirch looked and tasted good, with grilled bell peppers stuffed with potato et al making for a nice texture, but it was a little underwhelming. Ditto for the Kastoori Kebab, despite the best efforts of the squeezed lemon and the intriguing combo of yoghurt-marinated chicken rolled in beaten eggs. It was almost as if the chef had got everything right – the presentation, the fragrance, even the taste …but the spark, what Nepalis label 'twakka', was missing. Perhaps more subtle palates would not mind.

We were repaid in full, however, by the Kashmiri Ghosht. This fiery dish had us reaching for the Roomali Rotis, and also wishing there was more mutton (off the bone) to accompany the reddish gravy. The Baigan Bhurta was milder, but the smoked and mashed eggplant was delicious and had a wonderful texture to it. We had it marked off for our doggy bag, but couldn't resist its charms. Not so much the pickle-from-a-bottle.

Dessert was a disappointment. The Phirni (nutty rice kheer) was indisposed, so we ordered the Kulfi, which duly arrived in halved slabs of thickened milk sans the rose syrup the menu promised. When we suggested it be returned, the waiter apologetically informed us this wasn't really done, that he could do so, but that it would go to waste. We consumed the dull concoction out of a sense of obligation. Free guilt trip with your meal!

Dhaba's certainly somewhere you can enjoy a great range of North Indian delicacies without five-starring your wallet. But if it wants to keep to its own high standards, it needs to pull up its embroidered socks.
Nepali Kukur

Coming from Maitighar, Dhaba is on the right next to a Chinese restaurant, before the Bagmati Bridge. From Patan, past the car showrooms, on the left.

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1. gajja
The breakdown of the cost of your meal would do wonders! Nice review for a nice restaurant... 

2. root
I second Gajja's comments above. Also, maybe something like Rachel Rays $40.00 a day would be nice. Most restaurants in KTM are beyond affordable :)

LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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