19-25 July 2013 #665

Lhakpa’s chulo

Someplace Else by PM

The cut throat competition among restaurants in Jhamel means only the fittest (or ones with very deep pockets) survive. Several have pulled their shutters down, only to be quickly replaced. Lhakpa’s Chulo is among a handful that has stuck it out for more than four years.

Nestled in a small lane off Jhamsikehl road, Lhakpa’s exudes a quiet and warm ambience, like an old inn. The restaurant has an indoor as well as a garden seating and true to its name, Chulo maintains traditional Nepali décor with earthy colours on its walls and lokta paper table mats. The menu, also made of local lokta paper, offers a modest selection of recipes from around the world. Nepali dal-bhat and Newari khaja alongside Swiss Rösti, Italian Risotto, and Thai green curry - take your pick.

For starters, we ordered fried prawn wrapped in bacon (Rs 550), one of the specials for the day. You can’t really go wrong when you wrap something in bacon, but as I took a mouthful I realised that maybe fried prawn is the wisest choice. The juicy and rich combination of the two was complimented by the Thai sweet sauce and the citrusy of lemon. Sadly, we had to savour every bite very slowly. The serving was only five pieces at Rs 110 each!

The menu for the mains read so good, it was hard to decide. Finally we settle for pork chops (Rs 590) and chicken schnitzel (Rs 550). The pork chops were topped with Sauce Robert and served with steamed vegetables and a choice of rice, home fries or mashed potatoes. As I chewed, I could feel the chops had been marinated well to let the flavours seep in. The portions were perfectly cut and the meat was cooked just right. My friend claimed that he had been on a failed mission in Kathmandu to find good pork chops, but was thrilled by Lhakpa’s creation and ate it down to the bones.

My chicken schnitzel with capers, on a layer of lemon and butter sauce, was served with home fries and fresh organic green salad. Coated with flavourful crumbs and pan-fried until brown, the chicken breasts looked like they would be a treat. I was quite wowed by my first bite, the chicken tasted mild and went well with the pickle-like sourness of the capers. But as I dug in, I felt it was too mild and could use a little spice.

We wrapped up our meal with dark chocolate cake served with vanilla ice-cream (Rs 250). The cake was warm, spongy and like dark chocolate, not too sweet. Combined with vanilla ice-cream, it was the perfect end to the evening. I am going back.

How to get there: Take the lane next the temple at St Mary’s parking lot. Walk straight and turn right, you will find Lhakpa’s Chulo on your left.