Boulevard Bliss

KATHMANDU: On my street eating places grow. There is in Jhamsikhel, The Ghangri Café, the famous Herman Helmers, a Thakali Restaurant, a small Café

Manna that does aroma

therapy and serves waffles (all these I must visit). And

200 steps up the road is Café Bliss, where I went.

A veranda separates the road with wrought iron, a few tables. Inside is warm, cosy, colourful and inviting (it even has a

small library) with deep couches and more conventional

tables to eat at.

Unish Shrestha said that friends who used to hang out together liked food so much they started Bliss. One of them is Ravin Man Bajracharya who is also COO of the famous Lalit Mandap Travels and Tours and Tilli Raj Ghale (whose father has been a Japanese Chef in the USA for the last 14 years). Tilli got hold of an art student, Raj Bhandari, and Bliss was designed.

They have a foreign friend who is a tourist to attract other expats and he does. He calls himself a sort of mannequin in a sort of self deprecatory way.

Two Chefs created an essentially lounge menu with a few main dishes. They are Manoj Dongol and Raj Jirel.

While waiting for what we wanted to sample my granddaughter Duksangh Dolma Sherpa who knows these things declared the vanilla thick milkshake blended to perfection. And Duksangh made rude noises as she slurped the last vestiges of the beverage. It was sweet and did the Aztec goddess Vanilla who came down to Earth as an orchid to be near a handsome man, proud.

A friend of mine Bishnu Surkheti had a little Miss Bliss thick milkshake which combined thick chocolate, coffee covered with a sprinkling of chocolate which was again Aztec in origin and was attributed to a God who stole a cacao tree from heaven on a beam of a morning star. Not only was it bliss, it was heavenly.

By then the Negima which is a chicken Yakitori served with negi, a kind of leek or onion (but Manoj Dongol and Raj Jirel had used capsicum instead) arrived. The Yakitori was sweetened as it traditionally is with sugar and the chicken and vegetables are served on skewers.

Said one of the partners, “In older times, skewers weren’t allowed since emperors might have been blinded”.

Our favourite is the chilly chicken at Bliss. Okay everyone has chilly chicken but the Chefs while using the traditional onion, tomato, green pepper added a little chilli magic to engulf the chicken. I often order it home still piping hot.

Bliss’s footlong is about technique over size. Covering the bread is Salami, vegetables that include capsicum, onions and olives finished with Parmesan cheese and grilled. It’s close to the Hero Sandwich which was first made in 1905 by one James Manganaro who used ham on French bread to nourish himself on fishing trips. Bliss achieves a toasted taste somewhere between pizza and hero avoiding the cliché of mayonnaise.

Duksangh loved the Pork Chops in a mushroom filled sauce and there are large tongue tingling signature Pakodas and a glorious signature chopped fruit in gently spiced yoghurt dessert and a signature Tilli Ghale chicken curry that would please CoAS General Gurung were he to drop in on his way home.

Bliss is where the older people drink, youngsters meet and occasionally you hear whispers of a planned future of happy ever ‘afterrings’. One recalls a poem by Chateaubriand who said in 1789, “It was bliss to be alive, / But to be young was very heaven.’” I now Bliss out all the time. Call 5528732.