Housed in a refurbished old Newari building called Deva's Arcade, the Heriatge Kitchen and Bar is decorated in carved wooden pillars, red and black draperies and glossy brasswork. In the storeys above and below, there is an art gallery, a traditional craft store, and a newly opened pashmina shop, all of which offer a visual treat even before one enters the restaurant.
However, the two-year-old Heritage owes its popularity through word of mouth by satisfied consumers, and not the mock-cultural milieu. These days, it boasts a new menu that the owners hope will draw not only tourists and trekkers but also locals back to Thamel.
PICS: RUBY TUESDAY
While the faÁade suggests that the menu would be swamped by Nepali and Newari delicacies, this was thankfully not the case. The emphasis, surprisingly, was on Thai cuisine. The Thai beef salad (Rs 350) comes with marinated and char-grilled rump steak cut into slices into which are tossed cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mint and coriander, and mixed in a sweet and spicy sauce. The ground and roasted crispy rice on top adds an interesting texture to the dish.
Phokso (Rs150) or fried lungs in Nepali style was the other surprisingly good appetiser we sampled. Fried pieces of goat lungs slathered with tomatoes and chilies were a pleasant change from the regular versions we had elsewhere.
Since we were told Thai food was the chef's specialty, we ordered the Khao Pad Kapro Kai (Rs 325): minced chicken cooked with black mushrooms, served with plain rice and topped with a fried egg. The dish didn't quite pack the punch that is typical of Thai dishes but still stimulated our taste buds.
The Kang Phed Kai Nua (Rs 400) remained true to its Siamese roots, zinging about our palate with its vibrant flavours. This spicy curry cooked with coconut milk is seasoned with fish sauce, lemongrass and galangal, and goes great with plain steamed rice.