Nepali Times
Review
Dechenling

SOMEPLACE ELSE by NEPALI KUKUR


It's worth remembering that Jhamel traces its roots to Thamel, the first neighbourhood to attract young Nepalis seeking a little more than home dalbhat and Nepal Television for an evening's entertainment. Despite the proliferation of sleaze and poverty, there are still establishments here that are more about food than the happy hour cocktails, leaden rock classics, and popcorn baskets so beloved of backpackers. Dechenling Garden, right before you enter the maw of Thamel, is one of these.

The pleasant, spacious garden seating under canvas tops somewhat negated by the rattle of the generator and fluorescent lighting, we ventured further in to discover warmly lit indoor seating. But my attempt to recall the memory of a honeyed cocktail of a winter's eve didn't work too well. The Dechenling Special with vodka, gin, soda and honey, completely flat and unappealing in a wine glass with a straw, was only redeemed by lemon juice on demand. Beer please! And on to the Tibetan and Bhutanese specials the place is known for.

The Shapta and Shabhalay the waiters are happy to explain this is sliced and fried buff or chicken, and meat in a pastry were both scrumptious enough for us to save some for home. It was harder to choose between the mains, since there were so many intriguingly unknown quantities. But how could we resist the Bhutanese Erma Dhatsi, a chilli, cheese and mushroom curry? You'd not think it would work when you saw the creamy concoction but it does, though there could be more vegetables in the mix. The Tibetan Shabrel was as solid as only meatballs can be, but its compatriot, the Sha Tema Chentse, was wonderful, if only for the novelty of the celery with meat.

Dechenling has a fair bit more to offer, including Phing (rice noodle) combinations, more conventional Tibetan stews, and the ubiqitous momos. It could make more of a lovely setting by working harder on the presentation of its fare, and some might quibble with the size of some portions. But if you want a change from the usual continental mishmash, and be in Thamel without feeling like you're in the heart of the misshapen beast, then Dechenling's a charmer, and ideal for couples and big gatherings alike.
Nepali Kukur

Entering Thamel, cut right just below Himalayan Java and walk some way down the street to the entrance on your left.



1. notbhuganese
Sorry but the food is not Bhutanese tasting at all. It is definintely false advertising. Just cause you add cheese on chilly it don't make it a erma dhatsi.It tasted more like a cheese and chilli soup rather than a Bhutanese curry


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


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