Nepalese know-how

We’ve had a few scat­tered Nepalese Restau­rants around Dublin over the years, but the new Thali on Popes Quay is Cork’s first, says Lucinda O’Sul­li­van, who couldn’t wait to drop in for a bite

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - THE WHOLE PICTURE -

Having worked to­gether in a Cork city-cen­tre res­tau­rant for 17 and 14 years re­spec­tively, broth­ers-in-law Bas­anta Ne­u­pane and Lok Nath Tri­pathi de­cided it was time to open their own res­tau­rant. Be­ing from Nepal, with its own dis­tinc­tive cui­sine, their new Thali res­tau­rant on Popes Quay cer­tainly adds a wel­come new di­men­sion to Cork’s din­ing reper­toire.

Peo­ple tend to think of Nepalese food as be­ing very sim­i­lar to Indian food, and while there are many sim­i­lar­i­ties, their cui­sine has lots of neigh­bour­ing in­flu­ences, in­clud­ing Burmese, Thai and, of course, Chi­nese. We’ve had a few Nepalese restau­rants here, par­tic­u­larly in Dublin, but this is a first for Cork, so I was in­ter­ested to try it.

The decor is rus­tic naive in style, with a colour­ful mu­ral of the Hi­malayas de­pict­ing ex­otic palaces and vil­lage life, which re­ally sets the tone. We were greeted warmly on ar­rival and seated on a long ban­quette, where we were soon brought pop­padoms and dips. Starters (€4.50-€8.50) in­cluded

which Indian afi­ciona­dos will recog­nise as those tasty lit­tle onion pako­ras that we all love. was breaded, deep-fried, home-made cot­tage cheese, while could be had as ei­ther chicken or lamb mar­i­nated in Hi­malayan herbs, green chilli, red onions, spring onions, gin­ger gar­lic, lime and mus­tard oil, and served on a bed of salad. Lamb ke­babs fea­tured too, but the most fa­mous Nepalese dish is — a must if you want to earn your Nepalese street cred.

Ba­si­cally, what

piyaz ko bhaji, Pa­neer tareko momo newari sadeko momo dim sum gy­oza

are to Nepal are to China and to Ja­pan: de­li­cious lit­tle stuffed dumplings, served steamed or fried with a dip­ping sauce. Tra­di­tion­ally, they were filled with buf­falo meat; nowa­days, chicken or veg­eta­bles are more com­mon. At Thali, five lit­tle (€5.90) were stuffed with minced chicken, tossed with gin­ger gar­lic paste,

momo THREE MONKS

4 Up­per Clan­bras­sil Street, Dublin 8 Tel: (01) 537-5060 three­monks.ie Three Monks serve food to go, in­clud­ing “tongue-smack­ing hot and spicy food from the Hi­malayas”. From momo to bhuteko jhinga (tiger prawns with sesame seeds and spring onion), their reper­toire also in­cludes a com­pre­hen­sive range of Indian, Thai and Ja­panese spe­cials, from tem­pura to katsu cur­ries to ra­men dishes. Daily bento boxes also. Price: €3.50-€9.50 Try: Ti­betan noo­dle broth with shrimps, tomato, bok choy and tim­bur (Hi­malayan pep­per), €6.99 Drinks: Soft drinks, lassi Raj Koirala has cre­ated an au­then­tic re­flec­tion of his na­tive Nepal with his rus­tic, colour­ful Kathmandu Kitchen. Indian menu also. From mo­mos to seafood siz­zlers to ledo bedo curry. Check out their Satur­day/Sun­day Feast from 1-7pm, €19.99; and their great-value week­day 2-course lunch, €9.99. Price: Mains, €11.95-€20.95 Try: Bhedako Karang — clay-oven-cooked rack of lamb with Hi­malayan spices, on a sizzling hot plate, €20.95 Drinks: Wine

MT EVER­EST OF KATHMANDU

51 Main Street, Bray, Co. Wick­low Tel: (01) 272-3331 mteverestofkath­mandu.com Mt Ever­est, which has proved pop­u­lar with lo­cals, spe­cialises in Nepalese and Ti­betan food as well as Indian, so there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one from that re­gion. Learn the lingo: su­ruwat, starters; mukhya khana, mains. From momo to chow chow (noodles with mixed veg). Price: €4.45-€21.95 Try: Monk­fish tareko — bar­be­cued spicy monk­fish with onions, cap­sicum and soy sauce, €21.95 Drinks: Wine, beer steamed and served with a home­made chut­ney; while a trio of great big (€8.50) — bar­be­cued jumbo prawns — served on crispy let­tuce with lemon and a lit­tle dish of were both fill­ing and de­li­cious.

An ex­ten­sive list of mains (€8.99-€15.95) cov­ered chicken, lamb, prawn and veg­e­tar­ian cur­ries, in­clud­ing — lamb curry cooked in a medium-spiced onion-based sauce with moun­tain herbs. Indian restau­rants are bril­liant for veg­e­tar­i­ans, and the same ap­plies to Nepal, where they more com­monly eat a lot of pulses and veg­eta­bles, and meat is a treat. Clay oven and Asian favourites in­cluded tan­doori chicken; lamb ke­bab; tan­doori prawns;

and a Thai curry. Thali spe­cials had the in­ter­est­ing­sound­ing which is a Nepalese-style pizza, con­sist­ing of a thin rice-flour pan­cake topped with chicken, eggs, tomato and onion. We, how­ever, shared a Thali set (€15.95), a selection of dishes served on a round plat­ter, which in­cluded rice; lentil soup; spinach;

chicken curry in a rich onion and tomato gravy; and salad with a crispy pop­padom roll, and a de­li­cious dip­ping sauce.

We were full at this point, so passed on Sweet Treats (€4.50€5.50) of (Nepalese rice pud­ding); (spongy milk balls); choco­late cake; or ice cream. They serve beers bot­tled and on tap, and they have eight mod­estly priced wines, as well as juices and mango We were driv­ing and stuck to water, so our bill, with an es­presso (€2) and op­tional ser­vice, came to €37.15. They also do fab­u­lous take­away food, if you want to en­joy it at home.

So, do a ‘Bing & Bob’ and hit the road to Nepal, via Thali, and try some­thing de­li­ciously dif­fer­ent.

masu jingha poleko raita, suey; chow mein; jom­son vedo chata­mari, kheer gu­lab ja­mun lassi.

Thali 30 Popes Quay, Cork. Tel: (021) 455-3389 tha­linepal.com

lu­cin­dao­sul­li­van.com chop

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