Monday, April 6, 2009

Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki

I really give this young couple from Nebraska, but originally from Nepal, credit to open a new restaurant in this climate of uncertainty and in Hawaii. A friend of mine was told by his friend that she had the best service at this new restaurant in Kaimuki last night, so we thought we would try it out ourselves.

Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki behind of Happy Day & Cafe Laufer. It used to be the New York Deli (upstairs location) and before that a little cafe.

The decor simple, but warm and cozy, yellow and rust walls. Seven to eight tables inside and four 4-tops outside on the lanai - cute. We sat outside, because the sun was setting and it was a beautiful time to be sitting in fresh air. Though your view is 11th Avenue, it was nice.

The food is marketed as Nepal and Indian cuisine. I am new with Nepalize food, but I am a lover of Indian. We were really ready for something different like food from Nepal, but we went with what we know and ordered Indian. We started with two appetizers: veggie samosas filled with potato chickpeas and peas. Very plump and flaky, the inside smooth and perfectly seasoned and spiced. Our second appetizer a paneer pakora and their house chutney. They looked like fried sausage, but they were mashed paneer cheese mixed with seasoned bread crumbs and deep fried. Flavors pretty mild and pakora not too exciting, but still tasty for a little snack.

They also gave us a complimentary garlic naan, since we did not order one. I loved it because it had fresh garlic and parsley dusted on the homemade naan with their house chutney - very good. Their house chutney, I believe was a mint chutney, spiced just right and very flavorful. It accompanied every appetizer and naan.

For dinner we ordered the Navratna Biryani - yellow spiced rice with fresh vegetables (eggplant, cauliflower, peas, carrots, zucchini, and a special surprise of diced pineapple and cashews)...this rice was delicious, a great accompaniment with any main entree, and this came with a small salad with lettuce, cucumber and tomato with a light yogurt dressing.

Our entree was a Lamb Bhuna - tender pieces of lamb with a creamy garlic yogurt sauce. This was not a spicy sauce, but it was a very tasty and spiced filled sauce - yummy and I would order this again. This came with basmati rice and a small salad, a meal by itself.

I really want to try their Nepalize dishes and let the owners pick what we should eat the next time we come back and yes, I will be back. The owners introduced themselves to all of their guests and were very engaging and welcoming. I packed the leftovers for lunch tomorrow and they gave me a whole naan bread to go with it.

For dessert we had chai and their Mango Kulfi. Frozen mango flavored with condensed milk, well that is what it tasted like. It was a Himalayan style ice milk. It was in cubes and can be shared, it was good, but a little sweet for me. The chai needed a little more spice and black tea, I like my chai strong. They let you sweeten your chai, which is a great idea, because sometimes chai already sweetened is too sweet. I did not need to sweeten the chai, because the mango kulfi was sweet enough.

I would definitely come back for some Nepal dishes and I would bring some wine, because it is BYOB - good deal. Our whole meal cost us $50.

Ambiance - 3
Service - 5
Food - 3.5

Try them.

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