Some of the old magic still lingers
Serves food from Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan
Atmospherics: When it burst upon the scene a few years ago, it was further down the main ‘road’ of Hauz Khas Village, in a large, airy, well-lit room. Always packed to capacity with the range of humanity that you would never expect outside Thamel in Kathmandu – backpackers, college kids, first dates, groups of friends who don’t even need to look at the menu – and cheerful, efficient, smiling staff bustling around furiously with laden trays. It helped that the walls were brick that lent a softness to the interiors and the elements of décor were from the region too. The food was brilliant too, more so because of the novelty: who had ever heard of an aloo momo! Then, the Hauz Khas outlet moved to GK II and the original closed. After a few years, there’s a new one in HKV, but the design is on the lines of the GK II restaurant: large, open spaces have been broken up into small divisions for what appears to be no apparent reason. Though the occasional back-packing table still walks in, the restaurant has lost most of its insouciance, whether it is as a function of the floor layout or because of age.
Table talk: I ordered aloo momo (Rs 245) more out of habit than anything. They appear to have kept the size of the wrapper intact but decreased the amount of potato filling inside. If you have not had this particular preparation, what makes it so spectacular is the two textures of potatoes. While most of it is mashed, there are a few tiny bits of grated potatoes that add a crunchy texture. It is pure genius and the reason why aloo momos have become the cult that they are. There are three accompanying sauces, ranging from mild to incendiary. Wai Wai sadeko (Rs 225) is almost exactly the same as it was in the beginning: barely steamed noodles, made into a chat with coriander leaves, onion and tomato bits and lemon juice.
Plus and minus: It is a rule of law: people-watching helps to while away the time till your order comes. If you are in a small cubicle-like space, you feel time passing acutely. On the plus side, there are several unmissable vegetarian dishes.
Must try: chaatamari (pancakes), bara (lentil and mutton patties), Tibetan platter
Food: 3.00; Service: 3.00; Décor: 2.75
30, Hauz Khas Village, first floor
Open from 12 noon to 12 midnight
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1,500