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Namche Bazaar, Gurgaon – Nepali Nihari

Namche Bazaar, Gurgaon – Nepali Nihari
[Rated: 2.5/5]

Namche Bazaar, a town in north-eastern Nepal, is the gateway to the high Himalaya, and popular for Chinese goods and internet cafés. Now it is also the name of a newly opened restaurant at Gurgaon’s Golf Course Road. Intrigued by the name, I am here to check this eatery out.

The interiors seem to be a Disney creation of Tibetan Nepal. Overrun with Tibetan prayer wheels, low seating, and strapping Punjabi lads dressed as Nepali serving staff, with their Nepali topis and colourful Indochine attire. The theme, décor and attire are clearly in sync, assuring me that so will the food be.

But as I start going through the menu I am brought down from the heavenly heights of the Himalayas into Bhatinda. The restaurant serves hard core North Indian food, with not even one dish from the Himalayan Kingdom. I ask manager Rahul Dalalto solve this mystery for me. From what I gather from our conversation, the owners of Namche Bazaar are fascinated by the beauty of Nepal and this restaurant is a tribute to that. At some later date, they also plan to introduce some Nepalese dishes.

Deciding not to be confused by such contradictions any further, I decide to place my order, and wait for my food, enjoying the lilting melodies of Kishore Kumar (I am still googling the singer’s Nepali connection). Some half an hour later, I get the complimentary papads, chutneys and pickles, which I polish off over the wait.

Another half hour later, the starter kabab platter (Rs 495) arrives.  While most of the kababs are ordinary and overcooked dry, two still stand out. Crispy stuffed mushrooms have a beautiful spinach and cheese filling and have been batter fried to perfection. The colourful gilafi seekh is soft and yielding. The rest of the kababs are avoidable, though the accompanying baby onion salad is addictive.

To my relief, the main course arrives soon thereafter. Gosht nihari (Rs 425) is a delicacy with its roots in the Muslim nawab kitchens. Today, it is regarded as the national dish of Pakistan. The dish is known for its spiciness and taste. Nihari is cooked overnight which results in extremely tender morsels of meat, including the flavourful bone marrow. The dish that is served here meets all expectations, and is as soft and well spiced as what one would expect at the Urdu Bazaar in Lahore. The only thing missing are the traditional garnishes on the side, like fresh lime, fried onions, ginger juliennes, onions, chopped chillies and coriander leaves. The dessert is kheer (Rs 150) cooked the traditional way and is comforting as it should be.

The restaurant is in its second month of operations, so I can understand some glitches like the lackadaisical service. However, the name is misleading, the décor is incongruous to the cuisine served and some of the dishes served are below par, which could leave diners here feeling a bit short-changed.

Ratings out of 5

Food: 2.5 | Ambiance: 3.5 | Service: 2.0 |Overall: 2.5

Meal for Two: Rs1200| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes| Timing: 12noon – 11:30PM

Address: 1st Floor, Global Foyer Mall, Golf Course Road, Sector 43, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124 404 0707

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