Sunday, 13 April 2008

nepalese kitchen

481 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone (02) 9319 4264

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Nepalese Kitchen has been a Surry Hills stawart for quite some time. Amongst the flash and fanfare of many new restaurants in the Crown st precint, it has managed to remain constantly full with legions of dedicated regulars and curious newcomers wanting to discover what exactly Nepalese food is all about. ' Is it just a slighty different take on Indian? Is there any difference at all?'

One of the only Surry Hills restaurants where you can still book (bless them), they deserve kudos before I even mention the food.

The menu is simple. A great selection of entree dishes, introducing traditional Nepalese food - due to its geographical location, an amalgamation of Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern influences from the spice trail, creating a collection of interesting dishes. The mains consist of a selection of specialty curries (the house favourite is Goat curry), spicy salads and breads (from crisp papadums to flakey buttery roti and beyond).

They key difference is the inclusion 'achars' - small dishes of relishes, yoghurts and pickles, designed to complement the type of dishes you order - they have the mystical power to cool a hot palate, add some sour spice or add some sweetness.

The entrees were eyecatching and we decided to be a bit unconventional by ordering 4 entrees and just one curry amongst 2 people.

The spicy chicken momos - kind of like Chinese Siew Long Bao - meaty dumplings in a egg-pastry skin, there are vegetarian options also. Served with a mild chilli sauce, these were quite reminicent of Yum Cha fare.

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The stuffed, grilled eggplant was soft and creamy on the inside, if a bit oily, suited its cucumber and lime achar well. We also ordered the grilled beef salad, which came with a spicy vegetable pickle and crispy rice (it looks like coconut shavings or some curious cereal..) was great for texture and a bit of crunch.

Also on the entree menu was lime marinated prawns, dipped in a light batter and served with a lime and cucumber yoghurt. Honestly, a little bit pedestrian, however the prawns were rather large and the dish was executed well.

The highlight of the meal was most definitely the Goat curry - the house speciality - it was tender, full of spicy flavour and rich in taste without being overpowering or heavy. Make sure you order lots of roti to dip into the sauce at the end..its the only way to do it justice. Order the sweet apricot and raisin achar. This combined with the sour lime pickle that comes with the curry compliments the curry perfectly.

In the Nepalese tradition, the meal is better shared amongst many people - and I tend to agree. The more people you dine with, the more dishes you can try!

aniseed candy

p.s. the bill comes with tiny dish of delicious aniseed sweets that slighly resemble 'Nerds', those tiny candies you ate as a child. A Nepalese method of removing 'curry breath' or not..these are genius!

7.5/10

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