Feeling a bit adventurous one night, Zen and I explore a new local Himalayan restaurant with our dear friends Nora and Yaz.
Auburn is a suburb in Western Sydney, well known for its saturation of Middle Eastern and Asian supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants. In the last couple of years, I've also noticed an increase in the African and Himalayan communities. The wonderful thing about being in such a diverse country is being able to taste these new cultures without driving very far at all. I still haven't tried African food yet but really enjoyed this gastronomic journey to the Himalayas.
The restaurant set up is like an extended living room with traditional artifacts hanging on the walls. The booth style seats seem perfect for the young families seated around us.
Everybody starts with a round of mango lassi ($2.99) and I have the hot milk tea ($2.99).
While the menu does feature English descriptions of each item, we decide to only order the dishes with funny sounding Nepali names. So the first dish we have is the aloo dum ($4.99). Bite sized potato pieces are simmered with onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and other herbs and spices. There's a delicious rich and creamy taste that is aromatic with notes of garam masala.
We also have the alu tama bodi ($10.99), a classic Nepali curry made with a mix of bamboo shoot, black-eyed peas and potatoes; and the chicken chilli momo ($7.99). We couldn't resist not ordering a dish named 'momo'! These turn out to be potstickers served in a chilli and slightly tangy sauce. It is punchy and full of flavour... The kick of the chilli (the hotness varies from a choice of mild through to atomic) warms us up instantly.
Following that, the chicken chowela ($8.99) and the chow mein ($8.99) are served. The chicken chowela is beautifully marinated and grilled, and plated with some amazing sides - spicy fried soyabeans (bhatmas sandeko), pickles and chiura, which is simply rice that has been pounded and toasted! The different textures and flavours play with each other really well. The chow mein is also scrumptious, showcasing the Himalaya's cultural influence from Tibet.
And lastly, we are given some fennel seeds as an after-meal digestive and breath freshener. Like chewing gum after a meal, it kills off any desires to have dessert, which works splendidly with my new weight-loss goal.
Overall, I thought the staff were really courteous and passionate about introducing Himalayan cuisine to us. If you love your spices, you'll love the Himalayan Fusion Cafe.
I think it has to be one of the newest best cheap eats in Sydney.
Himalayan Fusion Cafe
73 Rawson Street Auburn, NSW
Phone: (02) 9643 5660