A Weekend Takeaway from Kathmandu Gurkha, Ripley
It’s been a busy few weeks for The Man Bird and I, and with the forecast for the weekend being superb, it was going to get even busier. With that in mind, we planned to stuff our faces and ‘build our strength up’ ahead of any exertion...... pretty much what we do every day of the week to be fair! The Flock have dined in and had takeaway from Kathmandu Gurkha in Clay Cross on many occasions (always delicious) but we’ve somehow never visited the Ripley branch, so we decided to rectify this situation asap.
His Nibs got the online menu on his ‘puter and we scrolled down all the wonderful sounding dishes, salivating as we did so! The team offer a great range of authentic Nepalese and Indian cuisine, with each being able to be toned down or ramped-up on the spice scale, according to your own tastes and preferences. Both The Man and I decided to go for medium spice, remembering from previous experience that the dishes tend to be a bit hotter than you would normally expect – and this turned out to be exactly the case!
We always kick an Indian meal off with a selection of spicy and plain Poppadoms and a Pickle Tray, and I have to say that the spicy Poppadoms from Kathmandu Gurkha have to be my favourites from anywhere. I don’t know whether it was their superb crispness, lack of grease or the combination of spice seed pods that hit the spot for me, but whatever it was, it was gorgeous. The Mango Chutney was nicely sweet, which contrasted terrifically against the sharp notes of the Onion Chutney and the bright-tasting Mint Raita. The Raita was bright in colour too: proper full-on Tree Frog green!!
Having seen off the ‘nibbles’ in double-jig time, it was time to turn our attention the starters proper. The Man Bird had ordered the Duck Nepalese Choyla and I opted for the Mint Hariyali Tikka (both £4.95). My starter wasn’t wildly different from what you’d expect a traditional Chicken Tikka starter to look like, and came with a cool, crisp little side salad and wedge of fresh Lemon. It had the same intense verdancy to it that the Mint Raita had, and the flavour was beautifully vibrant in my mouth. I savoured the moistness of the Chicken and was certainly very pleased with the size of the portion.
His Nibs was also pleased with his choice; the Nepalese Choyla comes in Duck or Lamb variants, but The Man fancied the game option. The Duck pieces were plentiful and a good size to gobble up whole if you fancied, or cut into pieces if you wanted to really take time to enjoy the dish. No prizes for guessing which path glutton-almighty chose! A superb array of spices had imparted their flavour to the meat during the marinating process and His Nibs was certainly getting a blast from the Garlic, Ginger, Chilli and Fenugreek seed on his palate.
I ordered a dish from the Chef’s Specials section of the menu for my main course (Lamb Chatpata, £13.95) and this comes with Pilau rice and choice of Naan Bread - I chose Garlic – whilst His Nibs went for a more mainstream choice of the Gurkha Rifal Lamb (£8.45). We can, on occasion, play nicely, so we ordered a portion of Lemon Rice and a Date and Ginger Naan with the intention of splitting all the sundries 50/50.
The Gurkha Rifal Lamb had a combo of minced and diced Lamb, simmered with Ginger, Garlic, Tomato, Coriander and Nepalese spices that impart heat and a detectable earthiness on the palate. As I said earlier, he opted for a medium strength level of spice, but still experienced a decent ‘tingle factor’ on the lips and tongue.
My Lamb Chatpata curry has a gorgeous thick sauce that clings to any rice or Naan dipped into it, but best of all it didn’t drip miserably off the cutlery and straight onto my clothing! Always a positive, especially for a bit of a messy eater such as myself! I loved the way the taste of the Lamb was easily coming through in my mouth and the way it married seamlessly with the vibrant spice notes. This was a wonderfully complex curry to savour, with the different spices developing at different times so that it lingered delightfully on the taste buds.
Regular readers of the blog will no doubt recall that I mentioned that my favourite bread was the Pudina Paratha (mint bread) from 4550 Delhi in Nottingham; I still haven’t found anything that topples it, but the delightfully sticky, sweet Date and Ginger Naan here certainly deserves equal status. We both loved its flavour, and the fact that the inclusion of pungent, warming Ginger stops it from being too cloying. His Nibs was also impressed by the fact that the Garlic on the Garlic Naan Bread (which I had originally chosen to come with my main) had been roasted; this gives the herb a lovely rounded note and stops it from being harsh on the palate.
If I’m going to be picky (which I am!) then I would say that I’d have liked there to have been more of a Lemon tone to the Lemon Rice. If I order a pimped-up rice (as opposed to plain Pilau or boiled rice) then I want to really get a wallop of its augmenting element, so I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t Lemon peel or a distinct taste of Lemon juice in the rice. Saying that, the grains were superbly fluffy on the fork.
The whole meal came to nearly £44 and we both agree that it was superb value for money; it also came about 10 minutes earlier than the estimated time quoted by Foodhub. Hot Wings happily awarded here to this great local team.