Nepalese dining comes to Hobart
ANIL Shrestha, owner of TasSpice in North Hobart and for seven years manager of Annapurna, opened Kathmandu Cuisine a month ago where Gondwana, Piccalilly and Battery Point Steak House used to be.
As we’ve all seen, there’s been a veritable explosion of Indian eateries in the city over the past few years.
But this is Hobart’s first restaurant to be inspired by the foods and flavours of Nepal and Tibet and, while there are similarities, Shrestha says Nepalese spicing is much more subtle, milder and delicate than in India, particularly in the food typical of the southern part of the sub- continent.
“Where the Indians cook with ghee, we mostly use oil,” he says.
“Nor do we use as much cream, cheese, tomatoes and sugar in our cooking.
“And we compensate for the hot spiciness of Indian vindaloos, for example, with our pickles and chutneys.”
But, understandably given Nepal’s location, the restaurant’s menu features cross- over and derivative dishes inspired by the paneers of northern India, Chinese- like noodles, chow mein and momo – meat and vegetable
dumplings brought to the country with the infl ux of Tibetan refugees in the ’ 60s and now Nepal’s most popular street food and one of the restaurant’s specialties.
At a loss navigating my way through the menu’s list of 62 different savoury dishes, I simply asked Shrestha to bring us a selection of those that his young Gurkha- trained chef, Resham Lal Sapkota, considered would make up the most authentic Nepalese meal.
We started with assorted momo accompanied by a dip of mild sesame chutney, the vegetable momo with interesting, slightly fermented flavours, followed by a meal- in- itself beef thukpa, a deliciously rich and deeply flavoured beef broth with vegetables and thick noodles.
Then came a silver platter with four bowls containing a thick, soupy dhal; steamed rice with, as is traditional in Nepal, a saucer of ghee to spoon over it; khasi ko masu – tender pieces of braised goat in a thick, beautifully spiced curry sauce; and kauli aloo – a light, mild and dry curry of cauliflower and potato.
The accompaniments were a small bowl of potato, cucumber and radish pickles and thick, sweet/ sour yoghurt with cucumber and apple.
Both were appetisingly sharp and cleansing and would be must- order sides to whatever else I might have on my next visit.
When I later mentioned to Shrestha that the size of the menu was probably confusing to people who, like me, were trying Nepalese food for the first time, he said the kitchen was already working on a new, more concise and more traditional Nepalese menu of dishes.
Having had a first taste, I look forward to many more.
MOUNTAINS OF FOOD: Kathmandu Cuisine’s chef Resham Lal Sapkota prepares a feast; inset: sekuwa, a traditional Nepalese meat dish.