Hitting the Heights of Himalayan Cuisine
My first impressions are favourable as I walk into the Nepal Dining Room, located at 156 Waverley Road, Malvern East. It’s a long and quite large space, sporting a well stocked bar and beyond it, the kitchen. Nepal Dining Room has been operating for about 12 months, and owners Hem Ghale and Shabnam Maden designed and renovated the premises from scratch as it was previously a retail store. The space would easily cater for 50 covers, with enough room around the tables that patrons wouldn’t be sitting on top of one another.
We are greeted by Shabnam, whose friendly manner makes us feel instantly welcome. She runs through the menu, suggesting dishes we might like to try. By the time she’s finished the run-through, my mouth is watering – it all sounds so delicious! Noting that there are several pork dishes on the menu, Shabnam explains that while pork is not often considered to be part of the traditional Nepali menu, in the region from which she comes, pork is very much part of the cuisine, and hence it’s been included on their menu.
As we were progressively tasting these dishes, what came through was the freshness and well-balanced flavours. Everything served is made in-house, and having Hem on site ensures a high level of quality control. As I tasted each dish, I was thinking – ‘that’s going to be my favourite…’, then I’d taste the next, and think the same thing! Of the entree dishes we tasted, it was the pork belly choila I liked most – the pork was tender and juicy, and the spicy hit that came with it was – for me anyway – perfectly tuned to leave the mouth tingling without being overpowering. I would definitely go back for that dish.
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