Saturday, May 30, 2009

17. Nepal: Gurkha Chef

Gurkha Chef
20 Grand Parade
St Leonard’s (Near Hastings)
East Sussex
TN37 6DN

01424 444440

Two days after Joanna Lumley achieved the rights for the famous and brave, Gurkha soldiers to settle in the UK, we found ourselves at the Gurkha Chef Grand Parade in St Leonard’s just down the sea front from Hastings. We were greeted very warmly with gentle politeness and quickly seated.

We started with popadums and were pleasantly surprised by the spiced yoghurt, onion salad, spicy-sweet delicious sauce (pictured left). These were far better that the usual mango chutney, raita, onions and coconut paste one usually finds in an Indian restaurant. This subtle difference in taste and use of spice, flavourings and range of ingredients we found throughout the meal.

We asked for help with our meal selection, as the menu was vast and full of tempting dishes. Our genial host took time to explain the excellent ‘eat as much as you like’ Sunday deal, suggested a few dishes and even gave us a complimentary starter!

King Blim was very pleased with his starter: Aloo Bora coriander and spring onion mixed with mashed potatoes served with a salsa garnish
and clear chilli dip, with a unique taste and texture (£2.50 and pictured right). Badgerman’s Bhareko Chyau, deep-fried mince-stuffed mushrooms (£2.50), were tasty and perfectly cooked. My Gurkha Vegetable Tempura (below left) was good and well presented, though it could have been drained just a little more. Our complimentary Chhoela (£3.00) a yummy offering of barbecued chicken prepared with traditional Nepalese herbs, (below right) was a firm favourite with us all.

We shared Khasi Kabab, marinated lamb with ginger, garlic coliander and onions, Bangur Ledo, pork with garlic, onions, tomatoes and spinach, Aishwarya Chicken, a breast of chicken stuffed with spinach, garlic and mixed vegetables grilled in a clay oven and
cooked in medium Nepaleese sauces (pictured left), Palungo Ktarkari, sautéed spinach with garlic, Pharsi Tarkri, butternut squash in Nepalese spices Nariwol Bhuja, sweet coconut rice (all pictured below). I also had a mixed salad. It was all just wonderful! Expertly cooked, well presented, very good ingredients and just yum, yum, yum!! It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a meal quite so much. We highly recommend the butternut squash and pork Bangur Ledo.

We were far too full to contemplate dessert, but had very tasty coffee, talked to our hosts who, despite being quite busy gave consistent, attentive service and we're only sorry we live a hour' drive away- though it’s only a short walk from the St Leonard’s Warrior Square train station.

Our bill excluding a couple of beers, coffee and Nepalese tea came to £34.75 for the three of us.

Ambience: 3.5
Presentation of food: 3
Quality of food: 4
Service: 4
Value for money: 4

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