Miracles do happen in an otherwise mundane life... there was this email from THT assigning me to be a Food Spy. I have always wanted to be 007, and now I was not just an ordinary spy but a food spy.
Among the many passions I have, food certainly is one. So my stomach began growling and images of all sorts of food, right from our everyday momos to delicate French cuisine floated through my head.
So I was assigned to spy on Manny’s Eatery and Tapas Bar. I chose to be there this beautiful spring Saturday night. And I took my entire family with me. The eatery is located in Shaligram Complex in Jawlakhel. We were greeted by beautiful lighting all over the place, especially the blue lighting that goes like a creeper all over the trees at the entrance. The huge parking space is certainly an asset. The space is so big, we could almost have a small kids’ football match here.
As we entered the restaurant complex, we had just too many choices. Our options were — do we sit inside ‘The Tapas Bar’, which offers real well cushioned sitting arrangements with walls adorned with real art works, and classic rock and blues playing in the background, or do we sit in this beautiful central room that looks like a magical glass house?
We finally decided to sit outside. And outside there is this lush green lawn, surrounded by flowers, also a tiny pool with carps in it and a few funky earthern frogs in real chilled out postures. The furniture outside is total wrought iron. There was this huge screen with a movie on. Life could not get better but I sat with my back to the screen — I wanted to focus on the food!
The waiters came to greet us and I noticed they had real clean uniforms on. The one thing that really turns me off in restaurants is waiters’ bad hygiene. They were smart and polite. When I opened the menu, I realised how difficult my mission had just got. How can you choose when you like everything? Eventually we decided to kick it off with Corn Fritters and Fried Calamari. They arrived soon. The Corn Fritters were delightfully light and soft and served with basil mayonnaise. Magically crunchy. And Fried Calamari were little pieces of squid deep fried to perfection. You pop one in the mouth to a delightful little crunch and then it melts away to heaven.
After that we ordered Spicy Buffalo Wings. Now there is no buffalo involved in this. It is chicken all the way (buffaloes don’t fly, stupid me!), cooked in this real nice tangy sour flavour.
When it was dinner time, we ordered Grilled Pork Chops, Pra Kra Jien and Pepper Steak. The Pra Kra Jien is the fish of the day, marinated and frilled in a foil pouch and today it was trout! It was served with fries and noodles. One word to critically analyse this food… “ Yummy!” Soon what remained of it was just the bones. Quickest metamorphosis ever!
And when the Pork Chops arrived, I did not know whether I wanted to look at it all night long or frame it and hang it on my bedroom wall or dive straight into it. My salivary glands took over and with my steak knife I played the sculptor, dipping the pieces into this sauce and relishing the entire thing. The mashed potatoes and the vegetables at the side made a perfect combo.
My uncle enjoyed the steak, as I do not eat beef. It was tender fillet coated with fresh peppercorns and pan seared to perfection and served with roasted potatoes and vegetables. He told me it tasted as good as it looked. We did not order any dessert, full as we were.
Now my final test, I went to check on the restrooms. There are many times when good restaurants overlook the restrooms, and a trip to the toilet can be so bad that you want to throw up what you paid for inside. But this time, the toilet was very clean, with ample paper towels and liquid soap. Eric Clapton played some spicy guitar lick in some corner.
Manny’s Eatery and Tapas Bar is an excellent restaurant and I am so glad we spent the evening there. Over and out.