WITH the cooler weather arriving this week and Autumn beginning to bite, there was only one thing on my mind – curry.
I’ve always liked the Nepalese take on curry, but every time I’ve driven by Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant and Cafe in Inglewood, their sign has put me off.
I’m sure it wasn’t cheap, but the bold letters and colours have a bit of a fast food vibe, so I’ve never hit the brake pedal.
On Tuesday night I finally put my sign prejudice aside and took the family there for a meal.
I was pleasantly surprised – The interior was bright and modern with loads of spaces between the tables and a neat bar at the end of the dining area.
There were a few photos of Nepal and some vintage face masks on the walls – a nice nod to the homeland that wasn’t too ham-fisted or hokey.
The restaurant was also super clean (sounds like a basic requirement, but I’ve been in some real grubby ones).
The waitress was super friendly and gave us a pitcher of tap water straight away, which is always a bonus as some highfalutin places make you pay for bottled.
The menu had a nice range of tandoori and curry-style dishes with chicken, lamb, goat, beef, fish and prawns.
Highlights included Khasiko Sekuwa (French lamb cutlets marinated with yoghurt and spices and cooked in a tandoori oven) and the Chef’s Special Goat Curry (meat on the bone cooked in a traditional Nepalese style sauce with onions and tomatoes).
They also had a great range of veggie dishes including one of my mum’s old favourites Pancha Mukhi Daal – lentils, seasoned with cumin seeds, ginger and garlic – which I hadn’t seen on a menu in a long time.
The smiley waitress was soon back with my Khasi Ra Saag ($24.50) featuring tender diced lamb in a rich viscous sauce with dark green flecks of spinach.
The sauce was thick and addictive, with the gamey lamb and fresh spinach combining in a strong burst of flavour.
Rounding things off were some exotic spices and the odd cardamom seed to keep your palate on its toes.
The thin, crispy tandoori roti ($5) was perfect for dipping in the moreish sauce, while the steamed basmati rice ($5.50) was super light and fragrant.
A delicious dish that would be Popeye’s go-to if he ever climbed Mount Everest.
Across the table my wife was tucking into her creamy chicken ($24) – a benign and comforting dish with boneless chicken.
“The sauce is perfectly balanced and the cream isn’t too sweet or sickly,” she noted.
“I love the subtle addition of cashew nuts and the chicken is super tender. A very pleasant and tasty dish.”
She washed down her meal with a “deliciously thick and fruity” Mango Lassi ($6).
Hats off to Himalayan Nepalese for having a kids menu, as not many curry-style joints do.
We got our young nippers the butter chicken with a soft drink and ice cream for $16. I thought the price was slightly steep for a kids dish, but it was high quality and there was lots of it. A good way of introducing children to spicer food.
I’ve definitely overcome my sign prejudice and will be returning to Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant and Cafe for more delicious meals during the winter months.
Himalayan Nepalese Restaurant & Cafe
840 Beaufort Street, Inglewood
by STEPHEN POLLOCK