COMFORT OVER PRETENCE HOTEL VIEW BHRIKUTI
Princess Bhrikuti Devi is a name we Nepalese hold dear regardless of the constant debate of her actual origins. However, what all of us can agree on is that she was an ambassador who shone the name of our country along with Buddhism towards the North of the continent. For giving the people of Tibet something to believe in, a direction in life, she is often portrayed as the Green Tara, an embodiment of Buddhahood who protects the Dharma of Buddhist teachings.
And it is only fitting for a Hotel that resides in the greenest part of the valley to champion the Green Tara in their name.
Residing in the tranquil lap of the Godavari Forest, Hotel View Bhrikuti is just a half an hour drive from Satobato’s side of Ring Road. However, this short drive is enough to locate you amidst nature that’s lush and rejuvenating. And like its name suggests, you do witness an awe inspiring view of Godavari.
Upon arrival, the hotel greets you with its pleasing garden and fish pond, and its proud architecture that’s simple, elegant, and sufficient. Stepping in, you enter a spacious lobby where guests can be found lounging as the staff promptly tend to their needs. Now, we have admit, it is not luxurious, nor fancy in any form or manner. But the establishment is a 3 star, so it makes no effort towards pretending; something we highly appreciate. As mentioned earlier, all of this is sufficient without cutting corners for comfort.
The front building acts as a facade to the premises, housing the accommodations at the back. And the hallways that lead up to the rooms are worth a slow stroll of marvel and admiration. Every hallway is adorned with paintings of artist Balkrishna Shrestha that depict Nepal and its diverse culture and people. These are done right on the wall, demanding more chin strokes towards the mastery that came out from this small margin of error. Then, each landing on all the floors are graced by large murals that truly showcase Shrestha’s command over his brush.
Hotel View Bhrikuti has three types of rooms; Single, Twin, and Deluxe. Again, is strong in this category as well. The rooms are ample in space and the beds are a tiered traveller’s dream to, well, dream on. Regardless of these types, all rooms are fitted with an air condition system, TV, a mini pantry, bath, Wifi, and a view of the rolling hills anyone would roll out of bed for in the morning.
And if that’s enough, View also accommodates a well equipped gym, sauna, and a swimming pool that’s great for both lazy dipping and athletic lapping. Or if sipping on a cocktail as you discuss the next move with your colleagues is more in your stride, their Black and White Bar is well equipped and ready right next to the lobby.
Mr. Sagar Bhusal, the Executive Manager, says that this attention to the essentials along with a Nepalese touch is crucial to the hotel. See, the hotel was established back in 2000, only after when the founder found himself in Maheshwar, India, in awe of the botanical gardens there. This experience lent him the idea to open up a place near our very own Godavari Botanical Garden. But the way this initiative started as was no more than just a restaurant. Eventually, however, seeing the potential, it was expanded into a small hotel, which was favored among foreigners and tourists who adored it for holding meetings and seminars. That legacy is Carried to this days with View’s 4 halls; Godavari, Manjushree, Bhrikuti, and Arniko.
Coming back to the Nepalese touch, this is exceptionally reflected in the food they serve. Since View hosts guests from the world over, they surely do serve Continental, but Chef Resham Kumar Lama insists the authentic Nepalese selection. And, with no word of protest from our side, that is what we were served.
The first to grace the table was the Godavari Cold Water Rainbow Trout that had been prepared into a palatable Machhako Choila. Trouts are a favorite these days due to their succulent and nourishing meat, but this took the taste further by introducing us to a whole new world of tang and spices. The fish had been cut into bite sized pieces, convenient to pop in the mouth with complete disregard for the bones; they were soft enough for unhindered chewing.
Then, an intimidating bowl of Sisnuko Soup was presented to us. We say intimidating for it was Stinging Nettle after all. We had our reservations regarding how it would irritate our face when we have it. However, when we did agree on slurping it all at the same time, we found the taste to be interestingly composed of notes reminiscent of savory seaweed and herby green tea, and was surprisingly refreshing. And since we now know that Stinging Nettle works to lower blood pressure and controls sugar levels, we can easily see this being something we’ll be back for.
With our palates being refreshed, the next dish to be served was the Roasted Egg Salad. Eggs are notorious for being dry if not cooked right, but this was not the case here. Perhaps it was the Choila-like dressing, or Chef Lama knows what he’s doing, this was a dish we enjoyed savoring and regret swallowing it a bit too soon. With minimal effort, the eggs just mellowed out in the mouth and left us in anticipation for the main course.
But before we moved on, our attention was drawn to the Phaparko Roti and we must confess that it was a culinary experiment. And we’re also happy to report that it’s a successful one. Considering how adventurous you are, of course. The Roti itself was dry, and dull in flavor, which was how it’s supposed to be, by the way. But it was accompanied by Til Ko Achar that worked magnificently to bring those very dull flavors to life. The earthiness of the Phapar reveals itself after a dip in the achar. And here’s where the experimentation comes in; these were paired up with cherries. We thought they were tomatoes at first, but when we did try this out-of-the-box combo, the sweetness of the cherries contrasted the Roti and Achar in a way we can only term as innovative.
Coming to the main dish, Charesko Thali Set is something View pride themselves in. This is the very dish that’s served to foreigners so they get the authentic Nepalese taste as opposed to the usual Mo:Mo’s (which were very good as well, they use chicken only and they mince the meat themselves). The Rice was fluffy, the Chicken Curry tender and perfect, the Saag fresh, the Dal filling, and the humble Salad refreshing. All of these were elevated by the experience of eating in a shiny bronze plate.
“WE THOUGHT THEY WERE TOMATOES AT FIRST, BUT WHEN WE DID TRY THIS OUT-OF-THE-BOX COMBO, THE SWEETNESS OF THE CHERRIES CONTRASTED THE ROTI AND ACHAR IN A WAY WE CAN ONLY TERM AS INNOVATIVE.”
For the finisher, it was their Sikarni which falls in line with the belief: if you start your day sweet, your whole day will be sweet. We found this to be exceptionally true and the sweetness lingered with us even after our departure, without ever being overpowering. We still cherish it as a sweet memory.
Mr. Bhusal tells us that View observes guests who are mostly foreigners, older in age, and conference goers. This is exactly why they’ve kept things simple. Without trying to be something more than what they are, nor going below, View offers hospitality that’s warm and welcoming, food that’s nourishing, and accommodations that are comforting. We recommend this spot if you find yourself in Godavari due to these very reasons. And well, if you’re willing to make that drive just for the heck of it, you will be driving back with plans to visit again. And again.
WORDS BY NIRVEEK PPJ SHAH PHOTOS BY GAURAV XHOMPATE SUNUWAR