04 Dec 2017
1 min read
When people hear of Nanglo, they know to expect great food. The relatively new Nanglo Cafe and Pub outlet in Kamaladi has already caught the eye of many food lovers and loyal Nanglo fanatics. We headed over there to sample what they had to offer.
The man behind Nanglo Cafe and Pub
In the 43 years of Nanglo's existence, the family-run chain of restaurants has built quite a reputation for itself. The latest establishment bearing the Nanglo name, Nanglo Cafe and Pub, is managed by Taijash Kakshapati. His father (Gopal Kakshapati) and uncle (Shyam Kakshapati) had partnered to establish the now famed chain of Nanglo restaurants, which includes Nanglo Express, The Bakery Cafe and Chinese Room, the latter of which has been discontinued. Before Taijash Kakshapati took over the operations of the restaurant's management, he had aspired to become a chef. He sharpened his culinary skills at The Culinary School of America in New York and worked at a few establishments there before returning to Nepal. Upon his return, he decided to divert his focus to the family business. And owing to Kakshapati's upbringing around restaurants, he understood the business of the hospitality sector well.
The minimalistically designed restaurant, housed in a nine-decade-old renovated building, was designed by Taijash Kakshapati's sister, Palistha Kakshapati. Along with adding her design aesthetics to the restaurant, Palistha Kakshapati has made significant additions to the building--particularly a spacious terrace and space for a cafe. The building's chalky white exterior is adorned with detailed symmetrical engravings and the building is topped with a rustic, pagoda-style roof made from the same wood used for the windows. Upon entering Nanglo, on one side, you will see a chic-looking bar, designed with upscale wooden furniture. On the other side of the restaurant is a cafe, and at the far end a traditionally-styled courtyard for lounging. The first floor features a fine-dining setting, with walls adorned with photographs of old Kathmandu. The spacious terrace/balcony features four-seater metal furniture of the sort you would find in the original, iconic Nanglo. The second and third floors feature layouts where walls partition the space into smaller seating areas, which are all lit with warm lights that give the area an intimate feel. The interior walls have the same chalky look of the exterior walls, and they starkly contrast with the varnished, black wooden ceilings.
Kakshapati says that Nanglo's menu is best captured by the term 'Kathmandu cuisine', as the menu features an array of dishes that cater to the varying palates of Kathmanduites. Nanglo's best-sellers include their famous sizzlers, the Newari Platter, the Nepali Thali and good old momos. The restaurant also offers a separate Chinese menu, a response to customers' demanding it after the Chinese Room was discontinued. Despite the wide range of dishes on the menu, which has gone through numerous iterations to satisfy customers, the sizzler has always been Nanglo's most popular dish. The sizzler, which originated in Europe, gradually made its way to Calcutta and Bombay, and finally to Kathmandu in the 70s, when the Nepali tourism industry was finding its legs. Nanglo was perhaps one of the first restaurants that made sizzlers available for the people of Kathmandu. Nanglo's sizzlers feature a hefty piece of succulent grilled chicken. Its crispy skin, sprinkled with pepper, complements the tender breast perfectly. Accompanying the chicken is a slightly charred twirl of buttery whole-grain noodles and also an array of sliced vegetables seared delicately. The entire dish is brought together by a thick brown gravy.
Another delectable meal, the Newari Platter, consists of a handful of chiura encircled by a variety of non-vegetarian Newari specials and pickled potatoes. The chewy Swon--goat lungs stuffed with a batter of flour, eggs and spices, which is boiled and then pan-fried--is lightly flecked with chilli powder, which gives it a tantalising piquancy. On the other hand, the Choila--buffalo meat seasoned with spices and the quintessential mustard oil--has a gamey flavour and is pretty spicy. The mutton dish, although concocted with similar spices as the Choila, is seasoned with more delicate flavours due to the tenderness of the meat. The Chicken Chilli brings a Western twist to the platter, and the potato pickle, with its surprisingly crisp exterior, is seasoned with the usual spices and a healthy helping of coriander. The individual items in the platter are divided by cucumber slices to prevent your palate from getting overwhelmed by the spices. To wash it all down, try their lassi.
Meet the chef
Amar Gurung, the head chef at the Nanglo Cafe and Pub, has been working with Nanglo for the past 32 years. Prior to being the head chef at Nanglo, Gurung trained at the Namaste Restaurant in Beijing for almost 10 months. He remembers how before globalisation took over the food industry, Nanglo was the only restaurant in town that served international cuisines. At the Nanglo Cafe and Pub, he has 10 chefs working under him. For Gurung, service is of utmost importance, and he, along with the entire team at the Nanglo Cafe and Pub, strives to provide customers with the best Kathmandu cuisine in town.