What do you get when you have 12 migration agents dining together? A lot of noise, shop talk, drinking, laughter and proffering of advice. So we have to ensure we find a relaxed venue that caters for our unruly mob and where our noise level won’t be that noticeable. Enter the Himalayan Nepalese restaurant. Always busy on the weekends, our large table smack bang in the middle of the room morphed seamlessly into the melee and all was good. I’ve dined at the Himalayan Nepalese in Inglewoood several times and always enjoyed the meals and the BYOB policy, and its central location for my pals living both north and south of the river made it accessible to all.
We were kindly presented with a complimentary plate of momo chicken dumplings to get things underway while we waited for the last few stragglers. There’s always one or two. With bottles of red and Prosecco flowing, we decided we’d pace things a bit and order some entrees. Instead of doing a group share thing, we paired off with our selections and shared with the person next to us. Easy peasy. It’s impossible to share everything with 12 at the table.
And so Jess and I decided on the Jhinghe Machha Poleko to start; prawns marinated in Nepalese spices and cooked in a tandoori oven. This $15 dish was a mildly flavoured but tasty entree; the prawns were firm textured and juicy and served with a dish of mint chutney. The prawns proved a popular choice with two other plates ordered on our table, along with plates of the mixed entrees featuring five different items to taste.
For mains we decided on Chara ko Sekuwa, an oven-cooked chicken dish at $23 that tasted slightly similar to tandoori chicken, but not as strong flavoured. The chicken thighs, albeit a bit salty, were succulent with a pleasant chargrilled flavour and were served with a mint chutney.
Our second main dish of Saag ra Paneer at $18, was a creamy mix of paneer and spinach and a good foil for the chicken dish with all that gravy, but we managed to eat only about half of our generous serving.
Further up the table, happy people were relishing their Chef’s Special Goat Curry for $22.50. Cooked on the bone, this tender curry was well received by a few of our diners but as a non-goat eater, I can’t personally vouch for it. But the big hit of the evening proved to be the lamb chops, or Khashi Sekeko for $25.50. Three plates of these tender marinated little babies cooked in the tandoor oven were devoured around the table.
For the uninitiated, Nepalese cuisine is milder than Indian, with spices and chillies used more sparingly. This cuisine is the result of a blending of Indian, Chinese, Tibetan and Burmese cultures, and its food reflects this. If you come here expecting robust and strident Indian-style curries, you will be disappointed. You won’t get the extensive range of vegetarian dishes, but you will get a good selection of meat and chicken curries, naan breads and rice. Dishes like butter chicken that you may order in an Indian restaurant, may not be the best choice here as the taste won’t be as full flavoured as you expect.
The Himalayan Nepalese is a busy spot on weekends and whilst you may jag a table for two without a booking, I’d recommend you book for any groups large than that. Our service was good with friendly staff, water topped up regularly and food presented without long wait times. Large groups are well catered for, but I’ve also dined here with just one friend and the experience has been equally positive. This venue is in the Entertainment Book, so it’s a good excuse to use a voucher and enjoy some warming Nepalese food in the upcoming colder months.