7-13 August 2015 #770

Tattva Bistro & Bar

A cosy place where food is served quickly and at affordable prices
Someplace Else by Stéphane Huët

Using vegetables fresh out of its own organic farm, Prithvi Café & Bar served only vegetarian dishes for almost three years after it opened in 2012. Now the cafe has changed its name, rebranded itself and added carnivorous treats and an attached watering hole. Besides the food, the setting inside the small café has also been slightly changed, cushions on the floor having been replaced by rattan seats.

“We had many foreigners coming, but we observed that Nepalis are meat-lovers,” explains manager Rishavh Shrestha adding that vegetarian meals were not particularly popular. In April, Tattva Bistro & Bar replaced Prithvi Café & Bar to start serving non-vegetarian food.

Discovery Channel is on tv, pictures with references to Western pop culture hang on the walls, and the playlist shifts from Eddie Vedder to Incubus – no wonder tourists love this place. Tattva has an impressive list of appetizers and entrées. Seeing Mustang Potato Fried (Rs165) on the menu, we wondered if it was actually from the Kingdom of Lo. Alas, it turned out to be regular fries, just thicker and generously peppered.

We moved on then to the next starter, Sukuti Sandheko (Rs200) which we were sure was the right decision: thin slices of dry meat with tomatoes, onions and chilli on a papad. It wasn’t just a visual but also a gastronomic treat. The onion and tomatoes complemented the taste of the tender meat, and the dish proved to be the best among those we tried.

For the main course, we wanted to test the born-again carnivorous offerings of Tattva and check if they met the vegetarian standards of Prithvi Cafe. The tofu curry was (Rs250) just fine. But it looked more like a daube (without wine) than a curry. We reckon the cook was careful because not all diners are used to spices. Maybe he should just ask the guests how curried they would like the dish.

Pics: Stéphane Huët

The Nepali-style pork curry (Rs320) was much tastier, although it could have been a little spicier. The spinach was impressive, and the dal was excellent, too. We found it strange that we were not offered more rice or lentils, as is the custom in other places. But the portion is adequate if you had starters.

For a smooth landing, the waiter suggested we end with the whip cream of mango – which was not on the menu. That was definitely a great choice. The cream, along the pieces of ripe mango, gave the dish perfect sweetness and taste. The menu also proposes burgers and pasta. But its strengths seem to be clearly in the starters and deserts.

Tattva (which means ‘element’ in Sanskrit) Bistro and Bar is a cosy place where food is served quickly and at affordable prices.

How to get there: from Jhamiskhel Chok, head towards Kupondole and turn left after Greenwich Hotel.