Spice and all that's nice

3 min read
Published:
08 Jan 2018
Duration:
3 min read
Words:
991 words
Segment:
Review
One of the very few Nepali restaurant chains in Kathmandu that you can trust to serve quality food consistently at all its outlets is Dalle

Alok Yonzan and Subash Gauchan, the brains behind the restaurant chain, opened DalleĆ­s first outlet in Kamaladi back in 2011. Back then, their only goal was to survive. The meagre footfall in the Teendhara Marg, Kamaladi area combined with the fewer people then who chose to eat out made conducting business a challenge. So the pair spent most of the next three years researching the market and tweaking their services and offerings. Their business finally started taking off in 2014, after they expanded their menu. Today, Dalle has managed to become a name synonymous with great momos, and has five successful outlets across Kathmandu.

Decor

The colour red is used liberally in all Dalle outlets, and the overall aesthetic used in an outlet varies--depending on the location. At the newly furnished Dalle outlet in Kamaladi, the chairs are red, and some sections of the walls have been left uncemented, to reveal their red bricks. The decor is all about juxtaposing various style elements. A row of American-diner style seats with well-padded cushioning is placed adjacent to the glass-wall window. Above every table, a diner light hangs low--encased in either a colourful dome (some of them are coloured in red) or a sable wrought-iron cage. The slick grey ceilings give the place a warehouse sensibility. The wall opposite the entrance is decorated with vibrantly coloured shelves displaying brass and copper utensils. The lower shelves are lined with jars filled with the condiment that's given the chain its name--pickled dalle khursani. The overall contrast-effect works.

Food

Dishes at Dalle are already familiar to the Nepali foodie. They offer French fries, chop suey, aloo dum, momos, and so on. Their momos are the restaurant's prime offering, and are available in 16 different variations.
And the restaurant's curly fries are one of the more popular snack items amongst their customers. To create the fries, peeled potatoes are cut into spirals using a special machine and dunked into a batter of flour, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli powder and paprika and then deep fried. The result is uniquely shaped fries that are infused with a subtle tinge of all the spices in the batter. Dip the fries in the cocktail sauce--a special sauce made from a combination of ketchup, mayonnaise and the restaurant's signature dalle khursani--and you can't go wrong with the combination. Another snack worth mentioning is the aloo dum. This dish's potatoes--cooked in a paste of tomato, garlic powder, turmeric and chilli paste and speckled with chopped coriander--are effortlessly soft, and have just the right amount of spices.

For your entree, the Dalle Bowl, an all-in-one dish inspired by Chinese cooking, should be filling and palate-satisfying. The bowl features a hefty helping of rice covered in a thick gravy made with black bean sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and hot sauce along with ginger-garlic paste and minced chicken (if you choose the non-vegetarian bowl). The dish is topped with chopped scallions and comes with a side of boiled bok choy, which adds a deeply satisfying crunchiness to the dish.

The restaurant also offers a combo meal--a combination of momos and aloo dum--served with chilli sauce. Of course a visit to Dalle is never complete without your having its famed momos. The momos come with stuffings of vegetables, buff, chicken or pork and can be had steamed, fried, or in the kothey or 'C' variations.  

The chef

Ramesh Lama, the head chef at Dalle, has manned the restaurant's kitchen from its earliest days. Lama had worked at Grand Norling Hotel for two-and-half months, followed by an eight-month stint in Afghanistan, before he joined Dalle. At Dalle, he has a team of 10 chefs working under him. Lama loves experimenting with food. Some of these experiments--the Dalle Bowl being one example--have gone on to become popular menu items.

What's next

Yonzan and Gauchan have a few plans for 2018. The ground floor of their Kamaladi outlet is currently being renovated and will soon be in operation. The duo plan to open more outlets. An outlet in Thamel will open in the first week of January. And another one will be up and running in Baneshwor by the end of February.

Dalle has no intention of stopping there. The restaurant plans to expand into a franchise model within the next year. And if the circumstances are favourable, the duo plan to take Dalle international.

As for the menu, the restaurant also plans on launching, in a couple of weeks, a set of new spicy sauces that are inspired by the various cuisines around the world. Dalle is also introducing a comprehensive snacks menu next year.