It is thrilling when there is a new twist to your regular Friday, and more so when things have to be done the James Bond way. I was assigned to be the Food Spy for The Himalayan Times and this is how the story unfolds. I set out with a friend towards Babarmahal Revisited to hungrily spy on Mulchowk Restaurant. We were generously guided towards the parking area by the security guard, who thoughtfully opened the car doors and ushered us inside with a humble salute. Indeed, a befitting gesture to a place that oozes majestic and historic Rana period royalty. Walking towards Mulchowk, you cannot help but admire the immaculate alleys and courtyards inside the heritage complex, which are filled with various boutique stores and high end eateries. The restaurant is a wonderful set-up with its old world charm and rustic elegance. We sat in the courtyard and had to wait for about 10 minutes for a waiter to attend to us. If not for the serene ambience of the richly artistic courtyard, we would have definitely moved towards the more comfortable and cosy indoors as the outdoor seating arrangements could have been a bit more comfy. As we browsed through the menu, we asked the waiter for his guidance. To my utter surprise, even in a restaurant of this calibre, the waiter had no idea. Thankfully, we were quickly attended to by another waiter, Bhim Giri, who to our delight was well versed with the entire culinary provisions of this restaurant. My friend ordered a Vesper Orvieto white wine and myself being Bond for the night, decided to go for the classic Martini, shaken not stirred. The wine was presented in an elegant wine glass and the Martini set the mood perfectly for the night ahead. As suggested, we went with the Spicy Ginger Fish and Crispy Fried Kernel Corn for starters. The fancy corn turned out to be just some sort of pakoda in disguise and the spicy fish could do better with more portions of the tantalising fish on the plate rather than the excessive onions and tomatoes. The starters definitely left us longing for more, and the Black Pepper Prawn Singaporean Style, Roasted Pork Belly and Spaghetti Carbonara for main course arrived just on time. The prawn was impressive as the black pepper compliments the sweetness and juiciness of the prawn. The tender pork belly marinated in fresh herbs, which was served with mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables, was one of the juiciest I have ever had. The spaghetti Carbonara was all right with the moderate blend of bacon and cheese. For desert, we ordered a Blueberry Cake and Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice-cream which was fresh, yummy and soothing. But the yoghurt in the end was a bit on the sour side and seemed stale. Overall, it was a good dinner. I think Mulchowk Restaurant already has a major advantage being housed inside one of the most fantastic properties in Kathmandu. It is a perfect place, be it for a romantic dinner date or a lazy family lunch. And with their well stocked bar, you could not go wrong with a gathering with friends either. But I have frequented this place more than a couple of times since its inception and from personal observation, I can tell that this place has lost some of the enthusiasm and fine dining objective it started out with. The culinary expertise is already there, but with more focus on training their waiters and a little bit more food on the plate for the steep pricing, Mulchowk could do better and have more patrons thronging the courtyard.
Mulchowk Restaurant Ratings Ambience: 6 Food Quality and Presentation: 8 Quality of Service: 6 Hygiene: 7 Value for money: 6 Overall satisfaction: 7
Sohyal Karki is a Real Estate and Constructions Investor, director at Tropical Exotics Trading Pvt Ltd, owner of Sunrise Boarding School and an A-Levels facilitator. He loves reading, travelling, meeting new people, taking on challenging adventures and trying out new cuisine from around the world