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
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.
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