1 - 7 August 2014 #718

Samay by the Lake

Someplace Else by Louise Evangeline Ng

We found ourselves in the middle of Pokhara on a hot day, not wanting to do any touristic activities but desperate to have a cool sit down and relaxing meal out of the sun. So we made our way to Samay By The Lake, a small restaurant with a beautiful location right next to Pokhara’s languid, lagoon-like Phewa Lake.

Samay is primarily an outdoor restaurant, featuring a cosy and sheltered sit down area, with low tables and big cushions on the floor where you can stretch your legs out and lounge around. This is the kind of place where no one would bat an eyelid if you decided to lie down and take a nap before dessert arrives. This place takes the definition of ‘relaxation’ to a whole new level.

The tables in the lakeside dining area are only a few steps away from the water. A group nearby was actually fishing while they ate, and some of them jumped into the water mid-meal. With the searing summer sun beating down on us, it was difficult to resist the temptation to join them.

We started with a Banana Lassi (Rs 175) after reading on the menu that the bananas come from Samay’s own kitchen garden. The well-blended lassi was smooth and thick, and we were delighted to find that they did not skimp on the bananas.

The waiter recommended the Samay Buffalo Wings (Rs 300) - spicy, crispy chicken wings served with a side of yogurt, and we immediately got down to dirtying our hands. The wings were generously spiced, and the plain yogurt complemented the spices well, making it the right amount  of sweet and spicy needed to perk our tastebuds up for the rest of the meal.

Our order of Carp (Rs 380) grilled with sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes soon followed.

Samay boasts that the fish are fresh from Phewa lake itself, and indeed the fish was tender, and  went well with the mashed potatoes.

The fillet servings were non bony - a pleasant change from the trouts found back in Kathmandu – and we were able to enjoy the delicate meat without interruption.

The Lemon Chicken (Rs 370), however, fell short of expectations. The grilled chicken breast was barely visible, drowning in a thick yellow gravy, which we assumed to be lemon sauce. However, it turned out to be more mustard than anything else. Nevertheless, it was an interesting dressing for the meat, especially if you are partial to the taste of mustard.

Strangely, all our servings were served in portions of three – which happened to be the number of  guests at the table – but it may be useful to ask about size of portions before ordering.

Samay also has a bar, and we couldn’t help reflecting how perfect the place must be in the evening with the sun setting over the lake. We all raised a toast with our lassi glasses and agreed it would be worth coming back.

How to get there: Samay is located at the west end of Phewa lake, along the way to Pame. After entering Khapaundi, it’s the first restaurant on your left.