15 Jan 2018
3 min read
If you are looking for a quick escape right within Thamel, Phat Kath is the place to be. Tucked away in a courtyard in Chaksibari Marg, inside one of the many alleys of Thamel, the restaurant has become a popular joint for locals and foreigners alike.
Phat Kath is the brainchild of Sunil Ghale, who, prior to establishing Phat Kath, worked at a family-run lodge in the Annapurna Circuit trekking route, where he frequently interacted with tourists. After completing his stint at the lodge, he returned to Kathmandu and worked as a bartender at several bars—all the while making plans to establish an idyllic restaurant in Kathmandu, for both tourists and Nepalis. In 2010, he opened Phat Kath.
The name ‘Phat Kath’ is made of two words: phat (a street slang that means amazing) and kath (which, in Nepali, means wood.) And that is why the place’s decor is largely made up of wood.
Food and drinks
The menu at Phat Kath is very diverse, with dishes like galette and crepes (both French dishes) and the wonton soup and chop suey (both Chinese). The menu also hosts a number of dishes native to Nepal.
Among the items on offer, the cheeseballs is a top-seller. The cheeseballs are made from a mixture of cheese, mashed potatoes and egg yolk, which is dipped in a batter of corn flour and then deep-fried until golden-brown. The cheeseballs are served with a mayonnaise dip.
Phat Kath also has a separate gallate menu, which features the Complete Galette, a very healthy option. The galette is a crepe made from buckwheat flour batter, which is spread onto a flat pan. Once cooked, it is stuffed with cheese, ham and egg, and folded on the sides. The best way to eat it is by splitting the yolk and dipping the crepe into it before popping the entire thing in your mouth. The galatte is toasty, and the umami fillings leaven the hint of bitterness from the buckwheat.
An eccentric twist to the plain ham sandwich is available on Phat Kath’s specials menu as the Crock Madam. The sandwich is basically a thick slice of ham wedged between slices of white bread. Here is the twist: the sandwich is drenched in a creamy gravy made of Béchamel sauce, butter, milk, cheese, mashed chicken, flour, salt and a dash of herbs. The sandwich is crowned with a fried egg, with the sunny side up. The dish comes with French fries. Like the galette, it is wiser to split the egg and let the yolk ooze out, rather than eating the egg separately.
The drinks are as popular as the food. If you’re in the mood for something refreshing, try the Mint Lemonade or the Peach Iced Tea. While the Mint Lemonade is slightly sour, the Peach Iced Tea is slightly sweet. But if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, the Choco Frappe is ideal. To create this drink, double shots of espresso are blended with milk and chocolate, and topped with vanilla ice cream, which is further topped with dollops of ice cream, crushed oreos; and then bits of chocolate and chocolate syrup are drizzled over everything.
Phat Kath also offers a diverse range of cocktails and mocktails whose recipes were concocted by Ghale and his bartender friends.
At first glance, the decor of the place appears to be a mix of different styles, unconventional displays and unparallel themes. But according to Ghale, the Bohemian decor was installed to ensure that customers are exposed to different ambiences. The restaurant also has different lounges, with different names, to provide diverse seating options.
The Buddha lounge, accessible upon entry, has large portraits of the Buddha above the seats, Buddhist prayer flags hanging across the ceiling and there’s also a large metal Buddha. The tables, essentially asymmetric slabs of wood, are surrounded by wooden stools or cushioned wooden benches. Splashes of colour come in the form of the vinyls, money-prints and stickers stuck on the walls and ceiling. The area also has an open bar, whose menu is displayed on a chalkboard.
Inside, the wall on the right is painted in Tibetan motifs and the windows on the left are adorned with colourful strings of beads. Just opposite the entrance is the (open) kitchen. As for the seating, there are two choices: either low dining tables with cushions on the floor for seating or the standard table-chair sets. Towards the far left of the room is the Gallery Lounge, which resembles a hut. The walls here are bare and he only furniture, simple wooden sofas and tables.
Outside, on the right of the entrance, the Jungle Lounge has intricate dream catchers, handmade lamps and prayer flags hanging from the ceiling. Plants sprout from pots placed near the walls, and creepers crawl around the corners. The only furniture here is the low-seating wooden tables. Where the Jungle Lounge ends, the Mushroom Lounge (featuring paintings of mushrooms) begins. The bamboo and brick walls are adorned with photos of gods and scenic settings. The seating is restricted to wooden sofas and tables.
The head chef, Rajendra Tamang, has been manning the kitchen for two years now. The sous chef, Sudip Magar, has been working at the restaurant for eight months. Previously, he used to work at the momo eatery downstairs, but later joined Phat Kath to fulfill his passion of cooking a wide range of dishes. Currently, there are sevens experienced cooks working in Path Kath.