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Salt and Pepper

SOMEPLACE ELSE by MARCO POLLO


The newly opened Salt and Pepper is the latest addition to the long row of cafes and pubs in lakeside Pokhara. The self-styled 'resto-lounge' stands out with a minimalist theme accented by recessed lighting, gray and red panels and cream leather booths. Its menu, however, is hardly minimal, promising a 'multi-cuisine' experience.

With neither description nor snapshot to gander at, long lists of noodles, starters and chicken variations have customers inquiring the distinctions between dishes like the Hong Kong Chicken and the Szechuan Chicken, Manchurian Chicken and Chinese, and Fried and Krispy (as cited). The waiter was impressively informative about the different sauces and cuts and preparations. As customary, we sampled the house specialties: Honey Chilli Potatoes and the Salt and Pepper Chicken for starters and the Hakka Noodles and the Chicken Kalifornia (as cited) for mains.

The potatoes are a cross between an aloo sandeko and a French-Canadian poutine. The honey chilli flavour is gratifying but the texture stale. In contrast, the Salt and Pepper Chicken is a sapid delight served on a wide platter with complimentary salads. For once, the dominant flavour is savory without the sweet and spicy so common of chilli appetizers, making it Salt and Pepper's go-to dish.

Grated ginger overwhelms the Hakka Noodles, an Indian Chinese fusion of egg noodles and mixed vegetables submerged in a brown gravy that is all but satisfying. The Chicken Kalifornia is a shake-and-bake cutlet battered, fried and served with a tangy barbecue sauce. Although the chicken is cooked well, the crunchy batter falls apart leaving a crumby mess to peck at.

For now, Salt and Pepper is in its formative stage and its prices are affordable for a café in the lakeside getaway. A dormant espresso machine sits in the entrance and a sign advertises pizza and other foods yet to be offered. An extensive list of whiskey imports is encouraging but desserts and cocktails are absent, waning its bar and lounge appeal. In time, one only hopes that it avoids becoming a run-of-the-mill Pokhara eatery.

Look for the lit red post along the Lake Side tourist district next to the Fishtail Bookstore opposite the Maya Pub



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


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