Dabadali Restaurant not only provides a respite from the traffic noises of Thamel but surprises with the quality and variety of food.
Walking through Thamel can best be described as venturing though an obstacle course riddled with dangerous potholes, mad motorists, honking taxis and crazy bikers for whom traffic laws, basic courtesy and civic sense are concepts that are pointless and deserving of complete and willful disregard. Adding to this chaos are the touts and the drug peddlers and the vendors that take up half of the street – just trying to navigate through this nebula of vehicles and people is exhausting.
And yet we venture forth, not because we are gluttons to punishment but just gluttons tempted by a friend’s recommendation of where good food can be had. Enter Dabali Opened about a year ago in Mandala Street, Dabali provides a peek into what Thamel could be like if the authorities actually managed to ban vehicles in the area. Adjacent to The Last Resort’s Sales Office, the restaurant is reminiscent of outdoor cafes and provides a respite from the traffic noises outside.
PICS: RUBY TUESDAY
We started this foodie exploration with pork tawa (Rs 280), griddle-grilled strips of meat charred slightly on the outside and yet succulent and flavoursome on the inside. Iced Mint tea (Rs 165), a thick slushy of green goodness, and Cool me Cool (Rs 275), a mocktail with a mix of fruit juices, accompanied our tasty starter.
Moving straight onto the mains, we ordered the Bungy Jumper’s Chicken (Rs 565), just the sight of which will have you squealing with delight. and the Rafter’s Fish (both Rs 565 each), two of many other dishes named after adrenalin-fuelled activity.
Just the sight of the bungy jumper’s chicken will have you squealing with delight. A thick strip of omelette is skewered onto the chicken breasts rolled with ham and cheese that are set upright on the plate to mimic the pillars of the bridge. Not just fun and quirky but also very tasty. At other restaurants chicken breast is usually dry and tasteless, but at Dabali they cook it really thin and fast so it retains its moistness.
Another dish named after adrenalin pumping activities is the Rafter’s Fish (Rs 565): steaks of basa fish sandwiching a thick slice of pineapple. The tart of the fruit seeps into the flaky fish, creating a dish replete in deliciousness. The accompanying vegetables were steamed just right- retaining crunch, freshness and taste.
On learning that the restaurant also serves some excellent Indian dishes, we succumbed to temptation and ordered their specialty: the Chicken Patyala meal (Rs 520). Coarsely minced chicken was encased in a thin egg roll covered with a thick cashew nut sauce, and came with a mound of rice, two chappatis, and a bowl of tadka dal at a bargain price.
Considering the size of the kitchen they work out of, Dabali will surprise you with the quality and variety of food, including an impressive vegetarian menu. The owner is friendly and is behind the bar herself concocting juices and coffees to meet her patrons’ demands. The prices on the menu are inclusive of all taxes, the staff is friendly, the coffee freshly brewed and strong. Rep-eat guaranteed.
How to get there: Dabali is right next to The Last Resort’s sales office in Mandala Street, Thamel.