While the outside of this restaurant may be nondescript, the food inside is anything but.
Given Nepal’s close proximity to India and China, it’s no surprise that the dishes we ate at this new Peterculter venture skipped delightfully between borders at regular intervals.
To start we ordered one of Nepal’s most popular street foods – MOMOs. Turns out that’s short for “mog mog”. (Thanks Google!) What does “mog mog” mean? I’ve no idea. (Thanks for nothing Google!)
If I were to guess, based on taste alone, I’d say ‘little bundles of juicy perfection’.
Soft pleated dumplings filled with chicken and lamb mince, they were like baozi, the Chinese steamed bun, or – if you want to go even further east – Japanese gyoza.
Any fear that the mince filling might make them a little dry disappeared the second my teeth bit through the delicate glistening dough and rich, clear broth filled my mouth. Moreish is not the word. If this is Nepalese street food, I can’t wait to taste what they serve indoors.
My wife’s Phewa king prawns were everything she loves in a king prawn. Named after the second largest lake in Nepal and cooked on a large cast iron frying pan called a tawa, they were spread-eagled and ripped free of their beautifully-charred bright orange shells with a satisfying tug of the fork.
The garlic and mustard marinade was heady – and I mean heady – with garlic. To some it might be too strong, but to my wife it was perfection. “I’d come back here again and just eat these for a main course,” she said.
Garlic chilli lamb is one of those vague-sounding dishes that you always find on Indian menus, so I was intrigued to see what side of the border the one at The Himalayas fell on.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten garlic chilli lamb/chicken/prawns that lived up to the name. Ones I’ve tried in the past always underplay one of the key ingredients (normally the garlic). The Nepalese one was exactly the same, except it was the chilli that didn’t quite live up to the title billing.
That said, I really did adore how unapologetically garlicy this version was – to the point I forgot it was supposed to be delivering a chilli hit too.
The chunks of lamb were slow-cooked and broke apart with the gentlest press of the fork and the beige-coloured sauce was light years away from the heavy, rich ones over the border in India. It almost tasted healthy, although don’t quote me on that.
Over the table on my wife’s plate was guliyo piro – sweet and hot – king prawns. This was when the meal firmly landed on Chinese soil again, as these were like sweet and sour king prawns in everything but name.
The large prawns were perfectly cooked and bright blood orange-coloured sauce just about managed to stay on the right side of cloying. Since neither of us have much of a sweet tooth when it comes to main courses it’s maybe not something we’d order again, but for those who do it was an intriguing new spin on the ubiquitous Asian staple.
The side orders were pure Indian, from the poppadoms and dips to start, to the basmati rice and fluffy garlic naan bread.
Service was impeccable throughout, with our enthusiastic waiter giving us the background on almost every course. Food somehow always tastes nicer when it’s served by a foodie.
Getting to Peterculter to sample the The Himalayas might seem like a bit of a slog to some, but it’s worth it. The passion from both the front of house and kitchen shines through.