Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant, Victoria Park
Jac: You have to try the Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant in Victoria Park.
Me: Sure... What's it called?
Jac: The Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant.
Me: Yeah...what's the name of the Himalayan Nepalese restaurant?
Jac: That IS what it's called - it's called the Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant.
And why not - we have That Little Mexican Place, why not the Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant?
For the past few months, Jac's been telling me how much she loves the Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant in Victoria Park. She's been there a number of times with her workmates and has become one of their biggest fans. I'd never eaten Nepalese food before and recently got to try it for a Saturday lunch with Jac.
Our waiter gave us menus, took our drink order and placed a little dish of complimentary fried spiced peanuts and soy beans on the table. They were extremely moreish.
I think serving guests a complimentary savoury morsel is a great way to make them feel welcome and excited to be in a restaurant. It's a gesture of generosity on the part of the restaurant/chef. It can be as simple as a plate of fresh prawn crackers in a Chinese restaurant, or the much beloved cheese bread you get at Sizzler (yes, I just referenced Sizzler!) ... or an amuse-bouche in a fine dining restaurant, a tantalising little teaser that whets the appetite, like the steak tartare we were served at Jonah's on the Beach in Newscastle - a delectable bite of finely chopped raw steak mixed with just the right amount of finely chopped onion and gherkin, finished with a squeeze of lemon juice, served on crisp mini toast - or the tiny perfect cup of hot gingery crab miso broth we enjoyed upon arrival at Red Cabbage in South Perth. For the first-time diner at any restaurant, a delicious, unexpected freebie always makes an excellent impression.
There was no way I could open a menu, see the words "lollipop chicken" and not order that dish! A couple of readers had also already told me to make sure I tried the lollipop chicken - so for our starter, we shared a serve of lollipop chicken - deep-fried chicken wings, the meat pulled to one end of the bone to create the lollipops, marinated with Nepalese herbs and spices and served with homemade mint sauce (AU$10).
The lollipop chicken was delicious and fun to eat. The creamy mint dipping sauce was perfect for the crispy, well-spiced chicken.
While I was excited about lollipop chicken, Jac was excited about the garlic naan, which was studded with chopped fresh garlic. It was wonderful to pull the hot fragrant flatbread apart with our fingers to dip into curry and mop up the gravy on our plates.
We ordered two main dishes to eat with steamed basmati rice. First, the machha tareko (AU$19.50) - pan-fried fish fillets marinated in special seasoned sauce with Nepalese spices and herbs. The fish was flaky and moist, the seasoning tangy and tasty.
We were both eager to try the chef's special goat curry (AU$20) - goat on the bone cooked traditional Nepalese style in a delicious savoury gravy with onions and tomato. The goat curry made us very happy. The meat was tender and fell off the bones, and the gravy was rich and utterly drinkable. Jac ate garlic naan soaked in curry gravy while I drank spoonfuls of gravy, relishing every drop.
This was one of the tastiest lunches I've eaten so far this year.
So what does Nepalese food taste like? From this initial tasting, I'd say it's similar to Indian but has its own unique herb and spice combinations and strong spicy flavours. Obviously, I need to eat a lot more Nepalese food to get to know the cuisine better.
I realised later that we'd been given the dinner menus to choose from even though we were there at lunch time. The missing element on the dinner menu is Nepalese thali, available only at lunch time in vegetarian, meat and seafood varieties. I'd definitely like to try the thali next time.
Next time I also want to try the momo - Nepalese-style chicken, lamb or vegetable dumplings. From what we could tell from the tables around us, they are a very popular item and look like a Nepalese version of the famous Chinese xiao long pao dumplings.
If you like Indian, curries or spicy food (I mean spicy-flavoursome, not just spicy-hot) - it's definitely worth trying Nepalese food. Service was friendly and efficient. I'll definitely be back to the Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant.
Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant
419 Albany Highway (corner of McMillan Street)
Victoria Park, WA 6100
Telephone: (08) 61618645
Open 7 days a week
Lunch: 11am – 3pm
Dinner: 5am – 10pm
EFTPOS and all major credit cards accepted