Long before Lalitpur became hip and Jhamsikhel turned into a restaurant lane, there was one establishment that diligently fed many hungry souls of the district on this side of the bridge. With competition springing out left, right and in-front, Downtown Restaurant continues to attract plenty of patrons who keep coming back for more of their tasty, reliable Indian cuisine.
Lunch is their busiest hour as most office-goers in the area come here. The atmosphere was the same when this reviewer went in this past Tuesday to sample more than their naans. It is fairly easy to find a seat as the restaurant is spacious. The brightly lit restaurant lets in all the natural light of the bustling street, but leaves out the noise.
But if you are in a hurry, it is best to visit the food stalls at Bhat Bhateni across the street because orders here can take up to 30 minutes to arrive.
Serving a mix of Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes, Downtown offers a wide selection from each cuisine. In an attempt to try something new and refrain from ordering old favourites, we asked our waiter for recommendations.
We settled for Mutton Biryani (Rs 350) from a handful of choices. This rice dish was definitely the best dish of the day. Topped with egg and tomato, the rice that could have visually passed for Spanish rice was fragrant and flavourful, with just the right amount of spice. The mutton was tough, and if you weren’t in the mood to attack its meaty defenses, it served more as an expensive garnish.
Similarly, the Chicken Tikka Masala (Rs 230) did not disappoint, and its tender chicken chunks were delightful when wrapped with the garlic naan (Rs 80). Especially when disguised in a dark, thick curry like the tikka masala, chicken too often still has bones hidden like land mines. But the Chicken Tikka Masala was pure meat, which facilitated the enjoyment.
Another curry dish Chicken Mughlai (Rs 210) was equally good. My companion, an Indian food lover was in the mood for some rumali roti that day. However, because this thin flat bread usually folded like a handkerchief didn’t feature on the menu, we had to make do with the Peshawari naan (Rs 80). The dry fruits filling made the sweet naan sweeter. A dish in itself, it was easy to forget about the curry and just go on nibbling this sweet, sweet bread.
Not wanting to leave the other cuisines out, we quickly spotted an interestingly named Asspolo Pizza on the continental menu. In homage to the back page, we ordered the eight-sliced pizza.
Unfortunately, the only thing interesting about the Asspolo Pizza (Rs 255) is its name. Despite already having a Chicken Pizza on the menu, this is essentially a chicken pizza. Unsurprisingly the cheese was yak, not mozzarella. Its crust was thick and a little dry, and while edible, it definitely cannot hold a candle to many better places out there.
Downtown has been a favourite for sometime now. Barring its continental menu, orders usually result in a satisfied tummy.
How to get there: Downtown is located in Harihar bhawan, right next to Saraswati book store.