Although I eat South Asian cuisine on a regular basis, for me, Nepalese cuisine is largely unchartered territory. I have tried it a couple of times before and enjoyed it, however there aren't many Nepalese eateries around, so it isn't really on my dining radar when I'm feeling peckish.
The world of South Asian cuisine tends to be dominated by Indian food and Nepalese food doesn't feature a great deal. Don't get me wrong - I love Indian food, but Nepalese food is worth a mention as well. Dining at Mandala Nepalese Restaurant has got me thinking about Nepalese food. To describe it to you, I'd say that it has a lot of the same spice elements that Indian cuisine has, but overall I'd have to say it's milder and delicate on the palate. The flavours are more subtle, but I feel that the way in which the dishes are cooked showcases the ingredients' natural flavours and textures.
While perusing the menu I learnt that Mandala means 'circle' in Sanskrit and relates to the circle of life.. I enjoy reading pieces of information like this when I'm dining out somewhere new - it makes it an educational food experience! Yes, I am a nerd - and I'm proud of it! :D
For entree, we enjoyed Vegetarian Momos ($8.95) - Nepalese style dumplings with tasty vegetables served with a roasted tomato dipping sauce. I could eat these little bad boys every day and never tire of them!
We deliberated long and hard over mains, but just couldn't decide on two dishes for mains, so we chose three...
Tamara Ra Badi ($15.95)
Black beans with bamboo shoots and potatoes, flavoured with lemon and fenugreek.
Simi Ra Mushroom ($16.95)
Green beans and mushrooms with delicate spices
Grilled eggplant tossed in coriander and a dash of chilli
We enjoyed our three dishes with rice and fresh Rotis ($2.50) and Paratha ($3.50). Sometimes simple can be the most satisfying :)
All in all, an enjoyable dinner. The service was friendly in this quiet, Randwick-based restaurant, and I really enjoyed looking at the wall hangings, prayer flags and other items adorning the walls. They added a Nepalese feel and gave diners a small glimpse into Nepal's rich culture.
Mandala Nepalese Restaurant
121 Avoca St, Randwick NSW
Ph: (02) 9326 6887