20-26 March 2015 #750

Maan Nam

Enjoy a nice cuppa coffee in the lush garden or try out your golfing skills
Someplace Else by Ruby Tuesday

Opened a couple of years ago, Maan Nam was just another Korean restaurant in town but now under the management of a new team, it has evolved to become a multi-cuisine restaurant that also houses an indoor golf driving range with state-of-the-art golf simulation. But that is not all there is to this establishment, the dining room walls are adorned with old photos of Kathmandu’s bygone days to keep history buffs engrossed for hours; there is a little handicrafts outlet that showcases some of the finest craftsmanship being created by local artisans; and the restaurant hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday.

Maan Nam means respect in Sanskrit and meeting in Korean and that is the ethos that the owners aim to bring — a place for meetings of all kinds. This means that in addition to a regular ‘restaurant’ type eating space, they have a well-stocked lounge bar, an area for salsa dancing on Tuesdays live musical performances on Fridays, and a spacious, well-equipped conference room. Their driving range, Nepal Golf Zone, is extremely popular with people of all ages.

The golf theme is present even in the names of their cocktails — a Hole in One, a Birdie, or a Bunker Junker, anyone?

The food served at Maan Nam is still largely Korean, so we dived straight into our waiter’s recommendation - Mandu (Rs 395) or Korean momos. A plate of rather large steamed dumplings filled with a generous portion of very lightly flavoured chicken mince served with a piquant Korean sauce. It was filling and very tasty. They need to be eaten piping hot though for as they cool, the dumpling tends to become slightly tough and chewy. But that’s me being nitpicky.

While in restaurant that serves mostly Korean cuisine, you do as the Koreans do and enjoy a Samgyeopsal (Rs 600), or beautiful thin slices of pork belly grilled right at the table for you. They’re cooked with thick slabs of onion and garlic, pepper and button mushrooms and seasoned lightly with Korean spices including soybean paste, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. You take these and bundle them in lettuce pouches, add some of the charred veggies and sit back and revel in the explosion of flavours in your mouth. And as with all Korean food, the wide variety of accompanying side dishes make this a truly wonderful meal.

Their other bestseller is the Trekker’s Diet (Rs 1300) which is an entire chicken especially prepared to provide nourishment to exhausted travelers. Their secret ingredient? Himalayan Ginseng. Well, since I wasn’t hungry enough to polish off an entire chicken by myself and hadn’t returned from an arduous trek either, this dish will have to wait.

But I will go back and go back often, even if it is just for a nice cuppa coffee in their lush garden or to try out my golfing skills.

How to get there: Maan Nam is right across the road from the entrance to Naxal Bhatbhateni’s parking lot in a lane called Padma Marg.