26 Sep - 2 Oct 2014 #726

Samurai

When you find yourself hungry in Patan or simply want your office lunch prepared with tender loving care.

Among things that remind us of Japan – cameras, cars, and quality electronics – nothing is as romantic as the samurai. The odd thing about the restaurant Samurai is that nothing here hints at the land of the rising sun.

The walls here are painted mostly orange. Profiles of Nepali musicians – not wood block prints of geishas, emperors or tidal waves – hang above each table. And the menu doesn’t stray beyond the Nepal-India-China axis. No wasabi in sight.

PICS: BIKRAM RAI

Forced to play it safe, we ordered the least fancy stuff. Our only vegetarian dish Crispy Potato (Rs 130) looked interesting, but that’s where its merits end. It looked like potato but tasted like pastry, thanks to the over-zealous coating of breadcrumbs. A better sauce would have salvaged this appetiser, but only ketchup and momo ko achar were available.

The Mixed Thai-style Chow mein (Rs 195), an ‘exotic’ dish we’ve savoured previously, was also disappointing today. Did the cook leave home for Dasain so soon? If it wasn’t for the crumbled peanuts, this dish would have been forgettable. Also, it didn’t help that they’ve been petitioned by patrons to go easy on the chili that set it apart from normal chow mein. We recommend the chicken variety (Rs 170) with extra spice.

The less we write about the Fish Cutlet (Rs 220) the better. Dry and crust-dominant, we had trouble finding the flesh. Again, we recommend opting for chicken (Rs 260), because it is done superb. Don’t bother with Veg Cutlet either, because that’s simply being euphemistic about Alu Chop /Tiki.

The 15 minutes it took to prepare Chicken Biryani (Rs 220) suggests you Samurai is not a dedicated Curry and Kebab hole. But by no means is that a waste. Spiced with the usual cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves, it comes with generous portions of proper, tender chicken. Keep this for the days you want rice, but not dal bhat. To wash down the residues of oil and starch, we chose some ‘safe for work’ drinks. Banana Lassi (Rs95) is a dense concotion of banana and milk, while Sweet Lassi (85), not as dense but tastier, came scented with familiar vanilla. Other beverages – alcoholic, carbonated or caffeinated – are also available.

The deal about places like Samurai is that you don’t go there with high expectations, because that way you can be surprised. That’s why we avoided anything out of the ordinary, like the distinctly suspect entries on the Chinese menu. If you find yourself hungry in Patan or simply want your office lunch prepared with tender loving care, you could do a lot worse than eating at Samurai.

Sisupal

How to get there: Right next to the Institute of Engineering gate on the Patan Dhoka-Kupandol lane, marked by a huge red board.

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