19-25 May 2017 #859

Fine dining on Phewa’s shore

Dunga met all our needs after a week on the trekking tail
Someplace Else by Shreejana Shrestha

Culiniarily speaking, Pokhara always mesmerises, especially after a long trek with dal bhat as staple. Because of this clientele, Pokhara has earned a well-deserved reputation as a centre for fine dining. Dunga is the newest addition to the busy Phewa strip.

Uniquely designed on the theme of a boat (dunga), the restaurant offers a spectacular view of the lake, or guests can dine facing the busy street and people-watch.

We cleverly decided to sit in the middle section of the first floor, facing the bar, where we could breathe fresh air as well as listen to the live music. Settled into our comfortable chairs, we quickly decided to satisfy the carnivorous cravings developed during our week-long trek to Annapurna Base Camp with pork chops and Dunga Special Trout Salad.

Both were winners. We had been seeking out tasty pork chops for a long time and the well barbecued ones here were succulent. (The smell of raw meat had can turn one off at other restaurants). Served with boiled seasonal vegetables and French fries, the portion was ample for the price (Rs 620).

Recommended by our host, Dunga’s trout salad (Rs 430) delighted our palettes. It was simple yet satisfying: an amalgamation of home-made noodles, fresh lettuce, oven-baked trout flakes, gherkins, charred onions, pickled ginger and cucumber, mixed with miso sauce. Somehow ABC seemed very far away.

Extremely happy with the first two dishes, we sought to satisfy our thirst with cocktails, ordering a watermelon martini (Rs 450) and passion refresher (Rs 550) for a dining-in-a-cruise experience. Both drinks with their vodka base had a wallop. We were tasting the passion refresher for the first time, and the mix of passion fruit syrup, lime juice, egg white and pineapple juice gave us all a tingle. The bartender rocks.

We ordered chicken parmigiana (Rs 580) to go with our cocktails thinking that it would do justice as a pub- food classic, but but the dish turned out to be just pieces of crumbed chicken breast topped with mozzarella cheese. Aside from that, Dunga was full of tasty treats with a service to match. While service in some well-known restaurants in Pokhara tend to be lackadaisical, at Dunga the bar seems to have been set high for service -- starting with the smart uniforms of white shirt, black pants and waist coats.

We received our food within minutes of placing orders, possibly because the restaurant has two kitchens: the one on the ground floor cooking continental and the upper floor serving Nepali and Indian food. Thanks to the open kitchen concept, customers can inspect the construction process.

Dunga ticks all the right boxes. No wonder it has become one of the most popular new on Lakeside after just three months of opening.

World-class ambiance, great food and service make this place deserving of a visit.