If you are stuck in Asian food ennui (“Thai/Sushi/Vietnamese again?!”), I have the perfect solution – Namaste Nepal Restaurant & Bar.
This new Indian and Nepalese restaurant will revive and intrigue your palate with its vast menu selections and unique flavour profiles (Both countries use the same spices, but there are a few differences here and there – Nepalese food is usually lighter, as there is no cream or milk).
The red dining room is simple and inexpensively furnished. Tonight it’s filled with neighbourhood folk – located close to Pape station, Danforth folks must be pleased for option of yet another cuisine.
Go ahead and have the old classics, if you want – mulligatawny soup ($3.95), aloo gobi ($8.95), chicken biryani ($10,95) – but I recommend trying something new as well such as khasiko sekuwa ($11.95), goat marinated with traditional Nepali spices and cooked in a tandoor oven, or the Mauritius-style fresh lobster ($26.95),a dish filled with lobster meat, matured with dill, sweet chili and Grand Marnier and served with herbed pulao (rice) in a Kashimiri-style fruity sauce.
Vegetable samosas ($3.95 for 2), the size of Idaho are filled to the brim with spiced potatoes and peas, and finished with a dense crust, like deep-dish pies.
Chicken momos ($10.95 for 10) are Nepali-style steamed chicken dumplings. Momos are very similar to Japanese gyoza, though this dough is quite thick, similar to the samosas, making it more like dim sum than a delicate pocket. The filling however, of chicken, fresh coriander, ginger and garlic is sumptuous.
Goat vindaloo ($11.95) is a Goan specialty and Namaste’s version is sublime. Tender goat and potatoes are soaked in vinegar and hot spices then cooked with onion, tomato sauce and a touch of lemon. Fall-off-the-bone soft meat with its rich, thick, spicy tomato sauce is quickly sopped up with paneer kulcha ($3.95), a completely-addictive puff pastry-like bread stuffed with cottage cheese and cumin seeds.
Argha chow mein ($10.95 with chicken, $9.95 vegetarian) is an Arghakhanchi (one of the districts of the Lumbini Zone in Nepal) specialty of soft fried noodles with mix veg of white and green onions, and carrots. What makes this dish special and rise above your usual Chinese version is a Nepalese spice similar to black pepper (also used in the momos). It’s got a depth to it that is similar to Grains of Paradise but has more pepperiness to it. I absolutely love it as it adds a peppery heat that isn’t a spicy – a hard combo to come by.
Namaste Nepal Restaurant & Bar may not be fancy or a trendy hipster hangout, but their food is fantastic. Isn’t that what really matters?
Namaste Nepal Restaurant & Bar
596 Danforth Avenue