Gurkhas Nepalese on Chapel St @ Friday, September 23, 2016

Tuesday 16th August 

I did not read the t&cs. But its not like it was there and I didn't read it. You have to ask for them. What I wanted to order, you need to have at least two people... but since I'm already here, I'll just pay for two serves *sigh*.

Opening in 1995 Gurkhas was one of the first Nepalese restaurants in Melbourne, with the first branch located on Chapel St.

On Monday & Tuesday Nights between 5-10pm there's an all you can eat/sampler menu for $20 per person. Two entrees, main platter and dessert. I do love these set menus, as it's a great way to try a bit of everything when you don't know what to order.

Brick walls, those checkered titles and lantern light covers, the deco is of an era of the past, perhaps mid-90s? I had an uncle who's house was similar to this with all the brick and dizzying titles.

Drinks? Yes please, but only if you have something unique. That is our rule for drinks, and so we ordered the 'Tender Berry Mocktail' strawberries and cream w grenadine. Like a strawberry milkshake but lighter and different like nothing I've ever had before. I really like it!

There's an option to sit on the floor which could be fun, you'll need to make a booking and request where you'd like to sit.

With the $20 sampler menu we started with a soup. Vegetable lentil with noodle. Warm and hearty with depth but not spicy. Definitely doesn't taste like stock or water, unlike my soups. XD

Deep fried goodness followed though the chicken dumplings were steamed. Typical cabbage spring rolls. Cute samosa with a kick! Fried veggies (croquette) with lots of onion.
The dipping sauce was like mango chutney but savory with a lentil-ly flavour, used to dull the spicy heat from the samosa. It's hot, I'm not good with hot.

The mains platter consisting of six dishes:

No.18 - Vegetable Chow - Stir fried noodles with mixed veggies, seasoned with soy sauce and a touch of spice. Noodles. Asian. Spaghetti appearance, slightly oily...

No.20 Pharsiko - Butternut pumpkin sauteed in vegetable oil, ginger, garlic and fresh coriander. Pumpkin, slightly sweet sauce spiced just right.

No.43 Machha Tareko - Batter fried fish glazed in a curry sauce. Fish. Lightly fried (in oil) white fish that falls apart easily. In a light sauce, that reminds me of a very light curry like the one at Om Vegetarian but less watery.

No.34 Khasiko Masu - House specialty, traditional Nepalese style diced goat garnished with fresh coriander. The goat was tender and fell apart perfectly. Sitting in a very mild sauce tomato base with a salty aftertaste. Melts in your mouth.

Green.... celery spinach  reminds me of African platters. Yeah I'm not eating that. Chicken with white cabbage and onion . Reminds me of char kway teow with the smoky flavours. 

Boarding India and Tibet we can see both the Indian and asian influence, especially with the chicken and noodle dishes. Google says Tibet is a part of china, though Tibet says they're not together as they're an "an independent state under illegal occupation." #freetibet which we'd agree with, as china's trying to bully everyone and push their boarders by dominating the land and sea. China x Russia vs USA will be WW3.  

Dessert was an almond meal ball with coconut sago like pudding. A little bit sweet, but not enough for me. Mother would approve though. Funny thing, I've had noodles (thai) sweeter than this dessert. 

There was atmosphere with music with Indian mediation/relaxing music, good lighting and it was very warm. There were tables but you could also sit on cushions on the floor (need to make a booking for that). Service was very friendly and fast. Though I would have liked more explanation on the dishes as we've never been to a Nepalese restaurant before.

For $20pp it's a pretty good deal, a sampler menu to N food. While I dined alone the fried entrees and main platter is designed for two. Also it's all you can eat so you could always ask for a refill. I ate slightly less than half the mains and was very full.

Definitely recommended for groups though it's best to book if you have more than four. The restaurant was about 25-33% full on this Tuesday night. 

Tuesday 6th September

Another evening brings us back to Gurkhas for dinner, this time through a Cudo Deal. A dinner banquet for two with a glass of wine per person for $29 (correctly valued up to $66), making it $15 per person really.

Mango Mohi $5.50

We upgraded a wine to mango for $2.50 and jas ordered one too $5.50 and commenting his red house wine tastes like petrol. XD Jas loves his wine and has never said anything like this before. His drink was given more attention then mine with a swirl on top. I'm slightly concerned that mango mohi is not mango lassi, in that a syrup is used rather than the real (well canned) thing? It was nice though not as nice as lassi, also the priciest mango drink I've had (for an Indian-ish place).

Gurkhas is vegetarian friendly! And so offered us a choice between the 'Simple Feast or Vegetable Treat' set menu. I'm fine with either, though jas loves goat/lamb so we went to the meat (simple) option. They should really change the names to veg & non-veg set menus. 

To me a feast is defined as Greek on a Groupon. So much food that you're not expected to finish it all, though a three course meal can be seen in the same way sometimes. 

Gurkhas Special - Flower cup pappadam with fried 
lentils and spiced potatoes, topped with yoghurt

Delicious! I love it, savory and hitting all those right spice notes that Indian food does so well, and it was not hot at all. Warm, filling, it reminded me of our potato bakes, but a more fun Nepalese version. I will be back for this! Should mention that it's $9 on its own. 

Friendly, and frequently refilling our water glasses and minimal use or words is how I'd describe the service. 

Me - "I love this dish! What is it?"
Hostess - "It's the Gurkhas special" *she leaves*
Jas - *googles it* 
Me - This place is Gurkhas, you're not going to be able to find their special online. :P
It's not as easy as finding out what say, butter chicken is.

Much like the sampler night menu mains were a series of dishes to share.

No.34 Khasiko Masu - House specialty, traditional Nepalese style diced goat garnished with fresh coriander.

No.36 Chilli chicken - Sauteed chicken fillets with diced capsicum, onion, seasoned with soy sauce & chilies.

No.47 Chana ra Aloo - Potato and chickpeas in a mild curry sauce 

Served with a large bowl of rice and no.59 Hariyo Saagpat salad, with a Nepalese dressing. Yep that's what the menu says. The first dish we both went for was the salad, fresh with a fun mayo based dressing that reminded me of 'Thousand Island; dressing but lighter.

Jas loves goat and so thought he saved the best for last, though it turned out to be just average. Instead he loved the chilli chicken which wasn't chili at all. It was well marinated though a bit salty on its own. 

The goat was soft and melts on your tongue without completely falling apart in the bowl, though the pumpkin is still my favourite.

Dessert options there were two and so we asked for one of each. 

A Nepalese rice pudding (no.70 Khir) with coconut that wasn't sweet enough (for me) without the faux rum-ish bliss ball from last time. 

And fried cottage cheese dumplings, soaked in a light sugar syrup served warm. The syrup was just right in sweetness. I would have liked to pimp it up with crushed pistachios and persian fairy floss. :P Later on we would have this same dessert at Curry Camp, where it was amazing!

Tables for Four

Gurkhas is pretty quiet though has some pretty good deals, $15pp through groupon and $20 for sampler nights. It would be similar to the set menu/banquets at other places. 

Would we recommend it? Yes as a try once thing.

Will we return? Probably not, it wasn't really our thing. Also the normal menu is $$.  

Note - The menu on zomato is out of date, prices have increased.

Have you been to Gurkhas or had Nepalese food?

Gurkhas Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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