... at Dwarika Hotel.
Okay, I didn't actually stay there but I did dine there on one occasion with my colleagues.
After a 30-min ride from Hotel Yak and Yeti, where we were staying, we were dropped off in the street amidst the hustle-bustle of the evening rush hour. It felt odd that we were standing out there in the biting cold of the night and in front of a nondescript doorway.
We reluctantly stepped in, not knowing whether we were in the right place at all. Once inside, we were all surprised at what we saw!
It felt like I was in a different world.
Dwarika is a beautiful product of a restoration effort spanning 25-30 years.
Built of brick and having ornate architectural bits and pieces added (hand-carved windows, door frames, pillars, etc.), all of which were obtained when old traditional buildings were torn down long ago. Additional wood carvings on the windows, the ceramic sculptures, as well as the pottery were all made in a workshop inside the premises. The result is a gorgeous piece of property providing a luxurious, old-world oasis from the chaotic capital; no wonder Dwarika was chosen as one of the World Heritage sites in Nepal.
We waited for the others at the lovely courtyard surrounded by amazing structures...
Warming our hands...(secretly hoping for a Gurka soldier to come out of nowhere!)
Of course, some of us couldn't help but take photos.
... while a lone Nepali dancer provided entertainment as we waited to be ushered in to Krishnarpan restaurant.
On our way through, we passed by a beautiful swimming pool. It must be great to come back to this hotel from a whole day's exploration/sight-seeing of Kathmandu, or after a few days of tough trekking, and relax in the pool's warm embrace.
Our dinner at Krishnarpan Restaurant restaurant, located inside Dwarika's property, was an event in itself. We were greeted by pretty restaurant staff clad in different costumes representative of the different ethnic groups of Nepal. Before entering the restaurant, they help you wash your hands in a large bowl placed against a wall adorned with pictures of international celebrities and important people who have dined in the restaurant. I can lay claim that I was in the same spot where Prince Charles of England stood and washed his hands. Haha... as if.
Inside were rows of low tables tastefully decked in a red and black motif. The picture below didn't capture the lovely setting well.
Notice the intricately-carved mirrors and wood-work?
We sat on the floor with cushioned low chairs and the restaurant staff provided aprons so that we didn't get food on our clothes.
Food was served in antique, traditional bowls and with heavy old silverware.
We had a six-course meal - there was a choice from 6 to 22 course meals, vegetarian or non-vegetarian - and every course was a satisfying gastronomic experience.
Samaya Bajee, an assortment of food - lentils, potatoes, rice, etc., usually served as appetizer during religious ceremonies.
Roti, Nepali griddle bread served with roasted mushroom & sautéed spinach)
Momo, steamed dumplings stuffed with minced meat served and with silam sauce
Bodi Soup, bean soup cooked with aromatic Nepali herbs
Traditional Nepali rice wine and Lapse Achar, loquat pickle
This is how they served wine...
Sada Bhuja, steamed Himalayan long-grain rice; Dal, lentil tempered with Himalayan herbs; Bhanta Ko Tarkari, aubergine curry; Mis Mas Tarkari, assorted vegetables cooked with Nepali herbs; and Kukhura Ko Masu, cubed chicken, also cooked with Nepali herbs
Malpuwa Khuwa, Nepalese mini pancake topped with Khuwa
I finished my meal with a nice cup of masala tea which I enjoyed tremendously. The delicious food, the visual delights, and the olde-worlde feel of the restaurant made for a unique dining experience. As an added touch, the restaurant printed our names individually on the menu (excellent for a souvenir) and handed out a give-away just before we were led out the door.
To think, I had only been in Krishnarpan restaurant and had a look around the premises on our way to the restaurant. I had not actually been inside the hotel itself and I can only imagine the same opulence and atmosphere inside the hotel, especially in the rooms. Obviously, Dwarika is not for budget-travelers, but the glowing feedback from very happy guests prove that the $$$ rates there are worth every single penny.
I have to agree.
I might not have spent a night there, yet, but the memorable dining experience I had that night made me want to come back. So now I am fervently hoping to return there with R for an anniversary getaway! Libre naman ang mangarap e, di ba?
Friday, November 21, 2008
... at Dwarika Hotel.