Nepali Times


If you choose the name Pumpernickel to sell bread and cake in Nepal, you better do it well. Pumpernickel, the popular German black bread, sets the bar high for all tourists, expats and well-travelled Nepalis, who miss their daily dose of good bread.

But Nurbu Shrestha, the owner of the long-established bakery in the heart of Thamel, knows what he is doing. He has been to Germany and Switzerland to learn whole-wheat and multigrain recipes, a profitable idea, for almost 35 years now.

I recommend trying one of the delicious sandwiches. They are quite expensive (Rs 140 to 195), but worth their price. The whole grain buns are homemade and a felicitous alternative to the flavourless white toast you often get in Kathmandu. Decorated with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cucumber, you can choose between tuna, egg, vegetable, and various kinds of cheese sandwiches. Go for the cheese option. Try to come before noon because the bread might be sold out by then and you need to wait quite a while for a new basket of freshly made bread.

A good Western breakfast needs croissants, proper croissants. Sure, the real pain au chocolat tastes better, but compared to the small boring pastries called "croissant" that are sold elsewhere in Kathmandu, the chocolate croissants at Pumpernickel (Rs 60) are big, have flavour and fill you up.

The croissant goes really well with a cup of delicious milk coffee (Rs 115). The mango lassi (Rs 140) could be a bit cooler but is otherwise also recommendable.

The honey pancakes (Rs 160) are ok, but nothing more. In fact, I've had better pancakes in Nepal and we better just trust the Americans on that.

A much better alternative is the broad range of homemade cakes. With classics such as black forest, cheesecake, carrot cake or linzer cake behind its counter, Pumpernickel is well equipped. I recommend the carrot cake (Rs 80). Baked with cinnamon and raisins, it tastes just like it would if you make it at home. And I have high standards, because carrot cake is one of my favourites.

The service is fast but a bit indifferent. And I was quite disappointed by the way the food was served, after all you eat with your eyes first.

You can get other kinds of breakfast cereal, porridge and omelette served in the homely decorated place that exhibits photographs by the owner's friend and renowned photographer Mani Lama. Customers, mainly chatting in English, French, Dutch or German, can use WiFi and take a break from city life in the welcoming garden.

I have been to many bakeries abroad to satisfy my craving for real bread and quite often left them disappointed. But I highly recommend Pumpernickel bakery for good breakfast, afternoon tea and cake or just a relaxing dose of caffeine. If only it actually sold Pumpernickel.

Walk towards the entrance of Mandala Street in Thamel, the cafe is on the opposite lane

1. Fab

I dont think that Pumpernickel will ever sell Pumpernickel in its store, because there is simply no rye in Nepal. Also Pumpernickel takes up to 12hours in the oven, thats quite long compared to the baking time of a normal bread.
Importing the rye and the long and quite difficult baking procedure of Pumpernickel makes it quite uneconomic to produce pumpernickel in Nepal, in my eyes.
And after all, the taste of Pumpernickel is very special. Even in Germany there are only few people who really like the taste.

I personally found out, that not every whole grain bread is really made out of whole grain. Some smart bakers in Nepal also use normal flour and mix it up with malt, which colours the bread to a whole grain tone.

During my stay in Nepal I started to bake bread by myself, with a bit of expierience and some spare pots you can even bake on a common gas stove.
And when I had not enough time to bake my own bread, I went to Herman Helmers Bakery in Jhamsikhel. In my eyes the best german bakery in Patan.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)