8-14 November 2013 #680


Someplace Else by Rainbow Diner

Every Saturday morning, 1905 restaurant in Kantipath hosts a farmer’s market that is a celebration of sorts. Fresh, organic  vegetables, high altitude rice and beans, freshly made mozzarella, goat cheese, mustard oil, herbs, organic tea, a variety of bakery items, pickles, apples from Dolpo, and produce from the Valley and its vicinity are all laid out in the open air sheds in a bountiful and colourful display. There is also a smattering of familiar international faces selling cheese, sausages, and pastas.

The rustic tables a few steps below the verandas of the bungalow are laden with a variety of breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes. You can choose from the table with items from the swarming market outside, or freshly cooked pasta, roasted chicken, eggs, and a wide choice of baked breads. Nepali tea or brewed coffee from the restaurant’s kitchen is always an option. There is usually a healthy mix of locals, expats, and tourists and the fusion of different languages and cultures reminds one of the taverns and bistros of Europe.

Part of the Bahadur Bhawan complex that was home to Boris Lissanevitch’s Royal Hotel for a while and now houses the offices of the Election Commission, the 1905 bungalow too, has had several avatars. It was a ‘pleasure place’ when first built in 1905, then a club house, the International Club after 1951, and now a charming eatery. The central point is the bar which is flanked by a few separate rooms and then the outer ring of the veranda. 

The starters or canapé (Rs 350-500) are arguably the best in town: one would travel miles for the smoked salmon packed with light cream cheese and fresh chives, and crab cakes with bok choy dressing, topped with pasta salad. Even the humble chicken, seared and smoked in Teriyaki style, and the vegetable brochette, drizzled with olive oil and vinaigrette and a mix of soft cheese vie for style and taste with the imported delicacies. 

If you still have space for mains, try the fresh grilled trout (Rs 995) from the rivers of Nepal. Delicately grilled and matched with lemon butter and herbs sauce, the fish was light and tasty, this diner’s personal favourite from the menu. The other two mains we opted for were herbed stuffed chicken breast in white wine sauce (Rs 800), which was juicy, and an eggplant manicotti (Rs 495) over in a homemade pasta and tomato gravy, which made for an ideal vegetarian dish. For desserts among several tempting choices, we ordered assorted fruits, grapes, apples, pears, and kiwis (Rs 305), which was given a tasteful zing by a pour of some fragrant liqueur. 

Within a decade of taking charge, 1905’s MD Shoba Rayamajhi has made a distinct mark in the Nepali hospitality industry. The enterprising and delightful businesswoman is always around to greet and meet her guests, so set some time aside to chat with her.   How to get there: from Darbar Marg head to Thamel Chok, take a right towards Kantipath at the four-way intersection. 1905 is on your right next to Global Bank.