Nepal Himalayan Cuisine @ Plaza Damas, Hartamas
Situated conveniently at the Plaza Damas in Sri Hartamas, this restaurant is one that is worth every bit of travelling to taste authenticity of Nepalese dishes. Being very fresh and almost no knowledge of Nepalese food, the taste of the dishes here is something to look forward to for anyone with the slightest interest to the cuisine. There is so much to learn from their food and the passport to authentic food is right here at Restaurant Nepal where they serve almost the most common of Nepal cuisine. This place makes it even easier with the warm and welcoming layout and lightings that promises comfortable and cozy dining ambiance.
Despite being new and what may seemed peculiar combination of ingredients in the Nepalese dishes, Malaysians will find it easy to adapt to their palate. Nepal is located in the Himalayas and bordered by China and India which easily explains the influence of mixes of Chinese and Indian taste in their food. And because the flavours are so diverse, kick starting the meal with their Tasting Snack Platter (RM 24) was amazingly brilliant.
Serving a combination of Chicken chilli, Bhuteko Bhatmas, Nepali salad, Mushroom peas, Aloo Silam and Momo, this platter would be a must order as a tour for the Nepalese flavours. The Chicken Chili was what I reckon real similar to the usual sweet and sour chicken we are all familiar with. You get battered chicken pieces marinated in herbs, fried with onions, capsicums, green chilies and tomatoes in sweet & sour sauces. And next to the dipping sauces, there is the Bhuteko Bhatmas as known as the Crispy soya beans marinated in Nepalese spices. This is the first time I am having fried soya bean and it tasted nothing like peanut despite the resemblance in shape. It was lightly creamy and mellower than the aroma of actual peanut.
Then there is the Aloo Silam which is simple English is the boiled potatoes marinated with red onion & silam– a unique Nepalese herb. The closest I can describe this is Dahl with bigger potato chunk. But it definitely has a unique and divergent flavour of its own. This one is a mum’s recipe. You can’t get anything more authentic than home cooked recipe.
The champ on the platter has got to be the Momo which resembles Shanghai Dumpling but better with the blend of spices inside. Feel the burst of savoury stock oozing from the warm dumpling which doesn’t feel stodgy at all.
If you need more Momo, these chicken dumplings also comes with choice of deep fried or pan fried. Comes in serving of 4 for RM 12, these babies are equally good steamed, or deep fried. The sauces have been intriguing as well, with nutty creaminess to begin with and followed by a light touch of piquant.
And speaking of spiciness, the flavours of Nepal sway like a roller coaster when it comes to their chili. There is an unusual mix of sweet savoury and tangy spicy all together when it comes to their curry. The Spicy Thukpa sells at RM 9 and this is a bowl of real comforting dish so suitable for solo diners. Noodles in aromatic Nepalese curry soup base with option of choice of vegetables or chicken in it.
Another familiar flavour that is friendly to almost anyone is their Chow Mien (RM 9) and this is easily understood as stir fried noodles. Available in chicken or vegetable options, the flavour of generous capsicum gave huge contentment and a taste very close to home. The noodles might have been replaced with chinese spaghetti noodle, but the use of Nepalese herb and spices was nevertheless still intriguing.
Moving to more interesting dishes suitable for solo diner is the Khukurako Masu Ra Bhat which sells at RM 15. This Thakali Thali is more than enough for a filling meal and Thakali is the name of an ethnic group in Nepal. As mentioned earlier, there are authentic dishes of selected ethnic respectively but in general you get a taste of Nepal as a whole. Thali is this plate similar to the banana leaf rice we are all familiar with. Served on a steel plate with rice, black bean dahl, Nepalese curry chicken, curry vegetables, green spinach, chutneys, salad. The vegetables may appear dull by the looks of it, but the taste when they all combined was very exciting.
Also, the black bean dahl was yet another comforting addition to this platter. It was opposite of concentrate in texture as opposed to the usual dhal, and the flavour was vast yet distinct by itself while working harmoniously with the rest of the dishes and rice on the plate.
If eating in a group, Farsi ko Dal Ra Khasi ko nail makes a great communal dish. Translate the name of the dish into English and that is Pumpkin curry with mutton marrow for only RM 18. A luscious pumpkin curry with Nepalese spices cooked with mutton bone marrow to balance one another. For start, the marrow was awesome. It almost bring out the Paleolithic in me if it wasn’t because of my obsession to hygiene but I really think you’ll enjoy so much more if eating with hands, sucking and polishing every inch of the bone marrow inside out.
Also amazing for sharing as communal dish is the Tawa Maccha pricing at RM 14. This grilled mabong fish (a type of mackerel) marinated with blend of herbs and Nepali salad on the side would also serve as amazing starters. A squeeze of some lime juice enhances the flavour and slightly moistens the meat while helping to mask any fishy flavour.
Other great dish to share would be the Chatamari. It is almost a signature to Nepalese food, a traditional specialty and now is widely eaten as snack or starters. You can get this on the street in Nepal, and also known as Nepal pizza or rice pancake with minced meat, some veges and egg. At RM 12, they serve this battered rice crepes with minced chicken, spring onions, tomatoes and eggs along with unique dipping sauce to go with it.
When looking at snacks, the restaurant’s new menu launches the Khukura Tass. This is a pair of grilled chicken skewers marinated with Nepalese spices and herbs and selling at RM 7. Although using lean meat, the plump pieces of meat on the skewer were not dry or hard. In contrary, it was tender and juicy but don’t expect anything too flavourful like the local satay.
The choices of desserts are interesting although limited but make sure to try at least one of it before ending the meal. Also bear in mind the desserts are better to be shared as they can be quite filling if not relenting when taken too much. The Kheer is a rice pudding cooked in milk, bay leaves and cloves and topped with disperse raisins, and nuts. Selling at RM 8, the mild and creamy sweet flavour ensured a good closure to the meal. The milk is good to slightly press on the distinct aroma and fragrance of the bay leaves and the texture was really close to thick oats meal cooked with milk.
The Sewai is slightly cheaper at RM 6 each and this has a more intense after taste thanks to the aroma that roams from the coconut cream and milk used in cooking this vermicelli pudding. This one has more texture to contribute compared to the first. Both these dessert probably has more Indian influence in it so it really is not hard to adapt to the exclusive flaovurs.
The beverage menu is interesting and the Lassi were obviously filling and definitely delicious. Priced at RM 12 each, both the Mango Lassi and Banana Lassi obviously got my attention with the generous use of fruits making it lusciously thick and nutritional. And don’t forget the affordable house alcohol drinks selling at RM 9 in a glass or RM 40 in a jar. Shangri-Lla is the special house drink with a blend of red wine and fruit juices and sliced apples was a pretty refreshing mix.
Nepal is a veritable mosaic of many ethnic groups and they each have their own distinct social and cultural patters. This is a great place to start to get to know the palate and flavours of Nepal. The Nepal restaurant is located at:
F-0-6, Plaza Damas,
60 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1,
50480, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-62063904 or +60169770718
Mon – Fri: 11:30am – 3pm; 6pm – 10pm
Sat – Sun: 11:30am – 10pm
More photos on flikr here