07 Aug 2017
3 min read
Still in its first few months of business, Temptino Restaurant is the newest addition to the cluster of restaurants lining the streets of Jhamsikhel. A franchise of Ghangri Café, Temptino offers both Italian- and Continental-style foods, distinguishing itself from its counterparts.
A modern taste
After running Ghangri Café for 12 years, the establishment’s owner, Suroj Rajkarnikar, wanted to work with other cuisines. From his experience at parties and get-togethers, he had noticed that people had developed a palate that sought more modern and varied fare. Typical Nepali foods, such as momo and chowmein, he learned, simply didn’t suffice anymore. So with Temptino, Rajkarnikar decided on an Italian and Continental menu to cater to adventurous foodies, with a few Nepali specials on offer for those who still relish the classic dishes.
Wordplay with ‘Temptino’
After struggling to find an original yet catchy name for his new restaurant, Rajkarnikar decided to turn to that feeling that makes most of us, if not all, give in to food: temptation. Temptation is a word that speaks volumes about our relationship with food, especially about how we’re hardly able to resist it. To align the name with the Continental theme of the restaurant, he decided to give the word a noticeably Italian spin: Temptino.
Indoor but still outdoor
One of the unique aspects of this restaurant is its architecture; from the outside, it looks like an indoor restaurant with tinted windows and towering walls. But the thing here is that you never actually realise when you’ve stepped inside. It’s a semi-outdoor venue with walls running halfway up before the roof starts. Furthermore, there is a tree right in the middle, its branches extending beyond the premises, adding to the outdoorsy feel of the restaurant. Rajkarnikar credits the interior decorator, Siddhartha Gopalan—who also designed the Shambala Hotel and Temple Tree Hotel—for incorporating Italian decor such as string lights, wooden furniture and potted plants into the restaurant design. As a result of these inclusions, the ambience of the restaurant is incredible and is what keeps the majority of its customers (expats, people working in the UN, tourists) returning. With its relaxed and tranquil environment, coupled with the brilliant food, Temptino is certainly the place to be to combat the heat this summer.
Stay for dessert
Nepalis don’t often try new desserts in restaurants because appetisers and main course dishes are usually enough to satisfy their cravings. But at Temptino, Rajkarnikar wanted to encourage the curious or the sweet-toothed to give his Italian creations a try. One highlight is Zuccotto, a dome-shaped ice-cream cake stuffed with whipped cream and chocolate, which is then soaked in liquor.
For now, food is draw enough
The restaurant has built its reputation on its refined ambience, good food and service. So when customers suggest that live music would add to the ambience of the restaurant, Suroj Rajkarnikar admits that he gets apprehensive. “Why live music?” he asks. His previous restaurant, Ghangri Café, was commercially successful without live music, so he does not see a need to change what has already been proven to be a good thing. “That would be my last option, something that I will opt for only if my restaurant is not doing well at all,” he says. “I hope I never have to end up like that.” He also says that incorporating music might attract a different demographic of customers to the restaurant than those he is targeting. Live music usually draws teenagers and young couples, while his target customers are families, businessmen and clients who want to hold meetings or just sit down for a nice chat. While he admits that his stance on live music might put him at a slight disadvantage in comparison to other restaurants in Jhamsikhel that use music to enhance their ambience, he believes it also means that he, and the 18 other staff members, can focus more on other aspects, such as customer service.
From hotels to a restaurant: the Head Chef’s journey
Rudra Khadka, the Head Chef at Temptino, has been working there ever since it was established. After training at Hotel Soaltee and working at several other hotels, including Hotel Vaishali and Thamel Eco Resort, Khadka decided to venture into the restaurant sector. He wanted the Nepali market, the happening crowd, to taste his food—because he wanted to gauge what kind of response it could elicit. He believes in using exact measurements so that the taste of the dish is precise and refined, and more importantly, so that no two dishes taste alike. His specials include the Gamberi Salsa Piccante (prawn with spicy mayonnaise herbs dressing) and Involtini Di Pollo (chicken-breast fillet rolled with spinach, cheese and salsa rosa with green pepper).
(Photos by Srijana Bhatta)