La’ Drool at La’ Soon

Dubby Bhagat


Maria Zimmerman, who along with Prathiba Yakthumba owns and runs La’ Soon in Pulchowk, Patan said of a recipe in the many-course meal we had at the restaurant, ‘’Yes, we took the original and had fun with it.’’

The eclectic menu at La’ Soon is about having marvelous interpretations of well loved dishes and delicious variations of unusual fare.

The nachos, impeccably presented were a delight with their tangy mixture of chicken, salsa flavoured with herbs like cilantro and thyme, on fine slivers of crisp tortilla which would have pleased Ignaco Anaya who created the dish in 1943 for Texan ladies on a shopping trip to a small Mexican town. Green shredded salad added coolth. It was 12-year-old Duksanghs favourite vying for her attention with the La’ Soon Hot Dog.

Even the hot dog gets an unusual and memorable workover at La’ Soon with bread rolls served hot and the frankfurter sausages caressed with cole slaw and made tangy with a touch of mustard. It was Henry Stevens in 1901 who started selling ‘’red hot dachshund sausages’’, at a New York baseball game and a cartoonist who couldn’t spell ‘’dachshund’’ ended up capturing the sale using the word, ‘’hot dog’’ which caught on instantly. La’ Soon’s haute creation would have both salesman and cartoonist going back to their drawing boards.

We shifted continents with the Vietnamese pork dumplings which looked like momos but the similarity ended there because as the well versed Uttam Balami said, ‘’They’re flavoured with crushed pepper, herbs, and chilies which combine to give a lingering aftertaste.” I felt like the mid 19th century Emperor Franz Joseph whose first words on assuming that exalted post were, ‘’I am the emperor and I want dumplings.’’

From Europe we ate spaghetti with gorgonzola cheese perfectly complemented with ground black pepper so you get two distinctive kinds of sharpness both melding

together. The Gorgonzola had traveled well in both time and distance. The cheese dates back to the ninth century and the village of Gorgonzola, north east of Milan, where migrating cows rested. Nothing has been lost in translation.

Strangely spaghetti was first produced on wooden presses as late as 1800 in Naples, at the same time as chutney had been, discovered and enthusiastically adopted by the British in India. Two brilliant chutneys grace La’ Soon, one made from chilies and the other from peanuts. I wonder why Maria and Prathiba are’nt bottling and selling these bits of fire.

Two famous chefs, Mrs Beeton from the 19th century and the Rombauers from the 20th are in perfect accord with the creators of La’ Soons, Boeuf Bourguignonne. Onions, meat, pepper corns, dry red wine, garlic, mushrooms, thyme... and you have bliss. The meat is tender, the mushrooms burst with wine and the cooked onions add a touch of sweetness. La’ Soon serves this wine stew with the best roast potatoes I have eaten in town a brilliant substitute for noodles, mashed potatoes or French bread.

To La’ Soon, soon call 5537166.