14-20 November 2014 #732

Nanglo Café and Pub

Sampling the new buzz around Nanglo: ostrich steaks – supposedly the finest in the city
Someplace Else by Ruby Tuesday

Nanglo needs no introduction. An institution since 1976, it is rare to find someone who hasn’t eaten there or at one of their bakery cafés that dot the city at some time or the other. But the new buzz surrounding it these days is that they’ve started serving ostrich steaks- supposedly the finest in the city. And I wanted to go sample them for myself.

Ostrich meat is said to be low in cholesterol and fat and, despite being a bird, the meat is red. Also said to be very low in calories, there appears to be a lot to love about ostrich meat. At Nanglo, they serve two varieties of the fastest bird on earth - Grilled ostrich steak (Rs 650) and Charcoal ostrich Steak (Rs 650 too, but this is served only after 5.30 in the evening).The meat is sourced from the one and only ostrich farm in Nepal in Rupandehi.

Since I was there for lunch, I only had the one option - the grilled version. It comes with two potato patties, steamed vegetables and a chunky mushroom sauce.  It looks like a beef steak and surprisingly tastes like it too. It has a quite distinct, almost gamey flavour that might prove to be too pungent for those hoping to use it as a ready substitute for chicken. The beauty of chicken lies a large part in its blandness which makes it easy for us to pair it with practically everything.

Options are limited if you try to create Nepali-tasting dishes with ostrich meat. Sekuwa would probably work well, and I think it would hold its own in a nice wintery stew, but I don’t know whether it would hold up to the rigours of frying, pressure-cooking, and masala inundation we inflict on our curries. Ostrict meat is being hyped as the new ‘healthy’ meat and it is really lean. Over-cooking would turn it rubbery and chewy.

The steak we were served was decently sized and wasn’t as dry as it looked. What I like about Nanglo is their homogeneity with the flavours. The sauce on all three dishes we ordered - roasted buff slices with mashed potatoes and Italian steak were the other two - tasted the same.  The vegetable portions with all three meats were decent and the mashed potatoes were warm and creamy. And the potato patties that came with the ostrich steak were just deep fried versions of the same mashed potatoes.

Nanglo is so conveniently located and so deeply entrenched in the Nepali psyche as being a worthy dining experience that you feel an air of complacency. They know we will return, forgetting that the food won’t be quite as tasty as it was during the last visit, that the waiter dais (many of whom have been there since the 70s and deserve your respect) are a little snarlier these days, that there are way too many cats than are acceptable at any restaurant. And as for the ostrich, maybe I won’t bury my head in the sand and return one day for steak served at dinner.

How to get there: Nanglo is in Durbar Marg near the roundabout, next to KFC.

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