Dinner at Thamel House Restaurant or How I Turned From Backpacker to Flashpacker

No Christmas Eve  celebrations for me other than praying and wishing people at FB.  Normally, I would go out and have a good sumptuos dinner but since I was still full from the filling lunch I had at Thamel Kitchen, I decided to just have a Christmas Day dinner.  After being out the whole day in Pasupatinath, Boudhana, Bungmati, and Kokhana and skipping lunch due to tummy problems, I thought of trying out Thamel House Restaurant.  Trip Advisor reviews were positive, albeit mentioning it was a tad expensive.   However, what really got me was the nice wooden exterior that along with a signage promised of traditional Nepali and Newar meals.

Entered the restaurant and was promptly escorted by a waiter in Newari wear to a seat at a table.  Seeing the white tablecloth and the candles, I braced myself for the prices. 

Out came the menu printed on fancy paper with an even fancier script.  Momo for Rp 300?  Rice for Rp 175? Wildboar meat for Rp 450?  Seeing so many good stuff in the menu, I decided to just go with the non-vegetarian full course meal at Rp 1,100. Might as well indulge.  So I straightened my shirt, tucked my feet under the chair, and tried to look respectable when the waiter who was more smartly dressed than I am came around to take my order.

A few minutes later, the first appetizer appeared, a salad of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro with crunchy peppercorns served on a small brass plate.

Next came a small bowl of hearty dahl followed by a perfectly crunchy potato pakora and three pieces of buff momo served with a delicious semi-spicy sauce.  The appetizers came from small stainless steel bowls and served directly to my plate with a flourish as the name of each was announced. 

As soon as I was finished, the plate was removed and the waiter announced, “You’re ready for the main course.’  Aaahh.  I felt so …. high class! 

Out came a large brass plate and a small clay saucer upon which the waiter poured alchohol from a bottle anmouncing, “The local wine, rakso.” Again with a flourish.

Spoonfulls of pillowy basmati rice was served on my plate followed by a serving of mutton stewed in tomatoes, wildboat meat sauteed in onions, sauted vegetables, chicken with bell peppers, steamed spinach, and black beans.

I didn’t expect the food to be that plentiful.  I dug in and it was delicious!  The dishes all complemented each other.  I especially liked how the black beans which have been thickly pureed provided a counterpoint to the stir-fried meats.  It tasted like a Mexican mole.  I really really enjoyed it.  But the best part was yet to come.  Seeing my nearly empty plate, a waiter approached me and asked if I wanted some more! Of course!  Out came servings of everything again!  I was so happy.  You know that feeling your getting really good value for your money?  I was offered a 3rd serving but turned it down as I was so full already.

The table was cleared and I was served a cup of thick yogurt sweetened with cinnamon and sprinkled with nuts.  Delicious!  Capping the course was a choice of black tea or coffee.

This was my best meal in Thamel so far.  The wooden interiors were lovely and the waiters looked good in their Newari uniforms and were very attentive.  For just around Php 550 I had a fantastic gastronomic experience that satisfied my desire to taste Newari food and filled my tummy.  

After paying at the counter, as I turned to exit, the person manning it pointed to a bunch of small decorative masks and asked me to take one as a souvenir! Another surprise! What more could you ask for in a restaurant, especially one in a tourist ghetto that is Thamel.

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