29 March-4 April 2013 #649

Reggae Bar

This restaurant is a melting pot of sorts and a Friday night home for locals, hippies, embassy folks, bankers, and NGO crowd
Someplace Else by Tsering Dolker

The Thamel experience is incomplete without a visit to Reggae Bar. Started in 2008 by Jimmy Gurung, who once used to scratch discs for a living, Reggae is a melting pot of sorts and a Friday night home for locals, Lonely Planet loyals, hippies, embassy folks, bankers, and the NGO crowd. Unlike other joints in the Valley, which are complete bores during the weekdays, this watering hole is alive even on Thursdays as I found out this past week.

I have been a regular here for years, but never really bothered with Reggae’s menu. I usually just order my routine of momos and chips chilli and wash them down with rum and coke. Last week, after a long day at work, I needed something slightly more fulfilling.

We started our night with Jimmy’s recommendation. The chicken cordon bleu (Rs 300), a Reggae special, was in one word divine. The perfect finger food, the pieces of chicken coated in cornflower, deep fried with cheese oozing from the centre, was an instant hit among all five of us at the table, and many other hungry bar hoppers as the owner let us know. Next up we had every tipsy person’s favourite comfort food: salami pizza (Rs 250). A crispy thin crust pizza with generous toppings of salami and mozzarella went well with our drinks and was enough for three to share.

The highlight of our meal, however, was honey chicken with lemon sauce (Rs 280). Accompanied by a generous heap of sweet rice (almost like kesar pulao served during pujas), the deep fried chicken was crispy and well done. A side of cauliflower, cucumber, carrot, and fries which although a tad salty provided the much needed crunch for the dish. And if you prefer your chicken a little sweeter, you can drizzle the honey on the side.

In between stuffing ourselves, we dabbled in Reggae’s eclectic range of cocktails. Though sex on the pub (Rs 385) was too fruity and cough-syrupy for our liking, what followed was spectacular. True to its name, the shots of multiple orgasm (Rs 330) made us woozy instantly and the strong, but good burn of Baileys and almond liquor warmed us in all the right places. We kept the night alive with Cuba Libre (Rs 355) which means free Cuba in Spanish. The coca, lime, and white-rum mix, called rum and coke in everyday parlance, was as good at Reggae as one would imagine it may have tasted when first made in Cuba.

What makes this watering hole so well-loved is its chilled ambiance and music. Reggae’s house band, Plan B, plays on Thursdays and if you can coax the boys, they might just let you do your ‘happy’ rendition of Sex on Fire. If you’re looking for a good time and want to avoid underage brats who ambush Thamel every Friday, head to Reggae on Thursdays. Tsering Dolker


How to get there: find your way to Hot Breads at Thamel chok, then turn left. Reggae is located on the third floor opposite Aqua Java Zing, next to a book store.