I’m a big fan of ethnic food. And when I say ethnic, I mean anything that is non-western. So no burgers, no pastas, etc. Tonight, my friend and I decided to try a Nepalese/Indian restaurant in Berkeley, California, USA. The name of the place is called Taste of the Himalayas.
Indian influence is all over Nepalese cuisine. This is not surprising considering Nepal borders India to the north. If you are familiar with Indian cuisine, then you are familiar with the curries and spices and Nepalese food is almost the same thing.
The menu was a mix of Nepalese and Indian menu items and asked the waiter which ones where the Nepalese dishes. He said that ones that doesn’t have English words in the name are Nepalese. For example, Tandoori Chicken is indian because “chicken” is English, bhera saag is Nepalese because there are no English words in it. Aah, makes sense.
We did not order much varieties since it was just the two of us. We chose two entrees with the same amount of spiciness: medium.
- Chiyau Kerau – fresh Mushroom and sweet peas cooked in Taste of the Himalayas special mild creamy sauce
- Bhera Saag – Boneless lamb pieces cooked with fresh spinach along with different herbs and spices.
- Naan – Baked bread in a tandoor oven.
Each of the entrees came with lentil soup and basmati steamed rice. We were given the soup before the meal which was why I had forgotten to take a picture of it. The soup was OK. The texture was fairly smooth with a little chunks of lentil, making it easy to drink. Creamy yet not too heavy which was very different than most lentil soups I’ve tasted. Most are really thick and you’d have to chew the lentils. I’m guessing they submerged a hand held blender to blend the soup.
After our soup, the entrees came out with our naan and rice. Glancing at the dishes, I noticed that it looks exactly like an Indian curry. However, the difference would be that the curry is more liquid than thick. I wish I had a more experienced palette to list down exactly what herbs and spices I was tasting. But the aroma of these curries was intoxicated. I love it.
I scooped some rice onto my plate and scooped our entrees along with the sauce over the rice. The naan, which was light and fluffy and brushed lightly with butter, was an excellent compliment to this already flavorful plate. The naan’s purpose was to soak up all that leftover sauce that seeped through the rice and can not be picked up with the fork.
Though both the entrées looked similar, the taste couldn’t be anymore different. For the Chiyau Kerau, the sauce wasn’t as intense as in the Bhera Saag which is expected since you do not want to overpower the taste of mushroom and peas. In the Bhera Saag, the intense flavor go well with the gaminess of lamb which basically cuts the aftertaste that lamb usually has.
If the food is too spicy, order a mango lassi. It’s a drink consists of yogurt, milk and mango puree. The milk and yogurt will help neutralize the acidity of the spices. Ok, that was a little nerdy fact. We ordered one.
The service was great and even the manager came out to talk with us. The waitress was nice enough to take a picture of us when our food came out. All in all, I was very satisfied with this restaurant and will want to visit again. Namaste.
Restaurant Website: http://tasteofthehimalayas.com/