The moveable feast: Melting pot of international cuisine
In the heart of Thamel, away from the cacophony of touts and tourists, is an oasis that is known for its pizzas which are wood-fired and a proud 30-cm in circumference. The Roadhouse Cafe have all the pizzas you could dream of, and then some.
Present is the Margherita, which has tomato, mozzarella and basil to represent the Italian flag. The pizza’s colours were created by Raffaele Esposito from Naples in 1850 AD when Queen Margherita of Italy came visiting and it became her favourite dish as it became ours. You get different tastes with every bite.
From there the Kayastha brothers, Ranjan and Chandan, owners of Roadhouse Café, have let their creativity go wild on the other pizzas which have come a long way since 997 AD, when once again in Naples the first pizzas were made covered with herbs and spices.
Guests practically overflow the comfortable and elegant restaurant because Chef Sijapati never sends away a dissatisfied customer. But Ranjan and Chandan have a menu that is extraordinary in its variety. Said Chandan, “We specialise in pizzas but we have a range of multi-cuisine items to satisfy all our guests.”
The manager of the restaurant, the ever efficient Ram Pd Bhattarai whom I have known for 20 years, helped us to all our favourites. The tomato and coconut soup was blissful with the slight touch of chilly. A very unusual combination — a particularly Roadhouse twist.
Our waiter Deepak set several continents of food before us. The Satay on sugar cane skewers
was far removed from the bamboo skewers of Indonesia, and instead of flattened pieces of meat, we had the original 17th century Arab import into Indonesia — minced meat which was as succulently delicious as Seekh Kababs from India. Not only does one delight in the Satay, one chews on the sugar cane.
The Roadhouse Club Sandwich is delicately sweet and has as many textures as there are fillings like smoked chicken, bacon, and curried mayonnaise. The Hamburger was first created in America at the St Louis Fair by Davis Fletcher, and from the early 1900’s it swept the world. At Roadhouse there is a taste of the ginger balancing the sweetness.
The white wine, the butter sauce and parsley the tenderness of the chicken makes the Austrian Weiner Schnitzel taste of a waltz by the brothers Strauss.
You get slightly dizzy on its delicate taste.
We revisited Italy with the moist, extraordinarily flavoured Penne, which is like a larger macaroni and which magically mixed roasted Shitake mushrooms and cheese bound together by a parsley pesto sauce.
It was a many flavoured delight.
Whereas the other food we ate was slightly chillied, our pork chops were at first taste sweet as the historical tradition of eating pork with apples or a sweet cider glaze. After the initial bite, there is a touch of heat.
Said Ranjan, “Its not apples but it’s a sauce that we at Roadhouse marinate our chops in.”
How chops got so tender is a mystery to rival the Da Vinci Code.
Said Ranjan, “We serve Lawaja — Italy’s favourite coffee, Baskin and Robbins — America’s favourite ice-cream, and a Chocolate Mousse that has three layers which in its one layer incarnation is a French favourite. Our Chocolate Mousse is made of brown chocolate, white chocolate and black chocolate.”
It tasted subtly divine and the effect is like the old saying, “I died and went to heaven.” But then you can depend on the Roadhouse Café (all three branches) for originality.
To get there before all the tables are booked, call 4-267885 Thamel, 5521755 for Pulchowk, and 4-26587 for Bhatbhateni.