18-24 March 2016 #800

Thakali delights

When it comes to homely Nepali food, nothing beats Thakali cuisine
Ayesha Shakya

Situated next to Club 25 Hours within the Tangalwood Boutique Hotel premises, Nilgiri Thakali Delights is the newest addition to the Valley’s long list of restaurants specialising in Thakali cuisine.

With an extensive menu prepared by Chef Shambhu Basnet, who has been preparing this distinctive trans-Himalayan cuisine for the past 19 years, expectations were high from the start. Instead of jumping straight for the Thakali Khana Sets, we controlled our dal bhat urges and begun with a couple of Nilgiri’s specials: Kanchhemba (Rs 210), Sukuti Sandheko (Rs 770) and Sukuti Pla (Rs 590).

The first dish of Sukuti Sandheko was a slight disappointment, as it tasted like any other basic sandheko dish. Garnished with tomatoes, onions and coriander, the only distinct feature of the dish was the lingering aftertaste of the Chyangra meat.

Sukuti Sandheko. Pics: Ayesha Shakya

Contrary to its name, the Sukuti Pla comprised less of Sukuti and more of vegetables. Made up of potatoes, beans, sukutu and jimbu, it was more reminiscent of a humble meal made at home rather than a dolled up restaurant dish. Although the flavours were mild, it was better suited to be eaten as a main dish with rice rather than a standalone snack.

Kanchhemba.

While these two dishes did not really strike a chord, the Kanchhemba was a winner. With a crispy exterior and soft filling, the buckwheat fries were truly Thakali and a healthy replacement for the usual fried, oil-dipped snack options.

We then tried the Alankhu (Rs 450), a breakfast soup commonly made in the mountains. Extremely spicy and with a strong taste of the meat, a few sips were enough to leave us sweating and reaching for tissues. While the flavour was bold, this dish is not for the faint of heart.

Alankhu

Since no Thakali meal would be complete without everyone’s favourite dal bhat combo, our main course was the Thakali Chicken Khana set (Rs 510). The set came with all the essential elements of a Thakali meal: white rice, kalo dal, chicken curry, fried fish curry, rayo ko saag, alu simi, gundruk ko achar, mula ko achar, lapsi ko achar and golbeda ko achar. While the chicken curry was slightly watery, the thick Mustang ko dal more than made up for it. With two meat options in the same khana set, the variety of fish and chicken in the same dish is a delightful surprise for carnivores.

For guests not keen on white rice, the restaurant serves brown rice (Rs 75) and dhido (Rs 100) as well. Apart from chicken, they also have vegetarian and mutton khana set options.

Although slightly on the pricier side, Nilgiri Thakali Delights boasts good food and great ambience. With its brick styled walls and wooden interiors, the restaurant has a very earthy, Nepali feel, suitable for an upscale restaurant. With its vast selection of items, and mouth watering Khana sets, the restaurant proves that when it comes to homely Nepali food, nothing beats Thakali cuisine.

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Thakkola Thakali Cuisine

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