MEMORIES of Nepal and an enjoyable but strenuous hike up Mt Everest some years ago were recalled with a meal at Himali Gurkha recenlty.
Of course, we never reached the summit on our adventure: oh all right, we didn’t even make base camp, but it was Everest and we felt we could touch the snowy crags and see the ghosts of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay amidst the flurries.
Our welcome at this long-loved Ardross restaurant was as warm as the down sleeping bags we’d carted around, and a complimentary dish of roasted soya beans helped us focus on the extensive menu.
Momo dumplings are a Nepalese and Tibetan speciality so we kicked off with a vegetable version ($10).
At the practical suggestion of the waiter, half came steamed and half came fried.
I’d be hard pushed to say which was the better, but if you had me hanging off a cliff on the answer I’d say the chewiness of the steamed was a frost-bitten nose ahead.
The menu hadn’t stated the bhatmas sandeko ($8) was a salad so we were non-plussed by the arrival of cold-roasted soy beans, in tomato, onion and ginger, but after a tentative mouthful we hoed in like a horde of hungry locusts. Surprise can be fun.
There’s a choice of large or small for all dishes, which is great if you want to taste as many as possible.
Maccha ko burry ($18/$20) is a Nepalese version of fish cakes. Freshly made to order they’re not available on busy weekends so we thanked the gods it was Friday while devouring the delicate balls of minced fish fillets encased in breadcrumbs.
Bearing no resemblance to the ghastly creamed corn of UK school canteens, makai ko tarkari ($12/$15) is corn off the cob and the sweetness of the slightly crunchy kernels was off-set by the spices it was marinated in, which include clove and turmeric.
Could we fit more in? Too right, and we dived into a thick potato and chickpea curry ($12/$15) with chunks of crisp and wonderfully oily puri.
Linda and Eliot Ward have been regulars at Himali Gurkha for years: “It’s fabulous,” they gushed. “The best gluten-free food going,” coeliac sufferer Mrs Ward added.
by JENNY D’ANGER
17 Kearns Crescent, Ardross
open Mon–Sat 12noon–2pm, and 6-10pm