Nepalese cuisine has always been an area of intrigue for me. I love that it showcases the geographical influences from China and India... It always tastes a little bit familar, yet different.
I used to walk past The Nepalese Kitchen daily when we lived in Surry Hills, but it wasn't until we decided to move that we made an effort to dine there. It was one of those places that always looked too crowded to accomodate our spontaneity. Thankfully on this particular night, we manage to nab the last available table!
The menu is designed to be shared and features an extensive selection of starters, curries, side accompaniments, salads, rotis, and relishes.
We start with the maacha pakauda (4 pieces, $9) which is a choice of either fish or prawns, marinated in chilli and lime and deep-fried in a high besan (chickpea) batter. Of course we go for the prawns. The crisp golden brown chickpea crust is piping hot and so inviting. We lather each piece with lots of the accompanying yoghurt achar. Delicious!
The momo (4 per serve, $9) is available in either spicy chicken, vegetable, or cheese and spinach. Our choice of spicy chicken is divine. I love the slight chew and silkyness of the dumpling skin and the gorgeous deep tomato flavours of the tomato relish.
Steamed basmati rice is $2.50 person, but I also add on the roti paratha ($5), a flaky, crisp bread, and some papadams ($3) which offer extra crunch and textural excitement to the meal.
The relishes are a stand out for me - each one of them reads as enticing as the next. Our nariwal achaar ($4) is a delectable combination of fresh coconut with coriander, green chilli, lime, mustard seeds and curry leaves and is just so fragrant and lush.
The bhanta ($12.90) is a must order - it's a curry of eggplant, potatoes and cherry tomatoes sauteed with cumin, garlic, ginger and chilli. It's not the wet curry you'd expect it to be but it has a beautiful depth of flavour which pairs brilliantly with the kukhura poleko ($17), chargrilled chicken fillets which have been marinated in a house blend of spices.
All in all, the menu is very affordable and there's a great balance of textures and flavours. I especially adore their extensive vegetarian options (but meat eaters won't go hungry either)! This is definitely a place worth returning to.
The Nepalese Kitchen
482 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: (02) 9319 4264