OLDSCHOOL GOODNESS ACHAAR GHAR WITH KRATU R. PANDEY
Where do pickles fall in the taste test spectrum of oh-no-say-it-ain’t-so and best-day-ever? It really depends. For some, and ourselves included, it was a glorious day. Achaar Ghar is a cozy restaurant with a homely feeling. It is decorated with Nepali themed paintings, soft lights and several beanbag chairs.
Achaar Ghar packs its menu with clever takes on Nepali traditional standards. The restaurant’s heart is in the right place—which just happens to be reminiscent of the spicy pickles that grandma used to make. And it’s all meant to capture memories, the subtle concept of coziness, calm, and welcoming. The food might not be quite as experimental, but it is wholesome food that hits home. We spoke with the man behind Achaar Ghar Mr.Kratu R. Pandey over lunch and this is what he had to say.
TNM: How did you come up with the concept of a restaurant which focuses on pickles? Was there always a plan as such?
KRP: My mother in law has been in the pickle making business for the past 25 years. She is behind the pickle brand called Navaras and she prepares different types of pickles by herself. The brand has been around for a long time and we wanted to establish it as a premium Nepali brand. First it started out like that but later we thought that it would be even better to open up an authentic Nepali restaurant that offers traditional dishes and a large collection of pickles to go along with it.
TNM: What do you think is the most difficult thing about the food industry in Nepal?
KRP: Mostly on the market we have a hard time finding the right people to work with us but in my case I got lucky and we have an amazing chef who I have known for a long time. Our executive chef has 40 years of experience and that made it easier to manage the menu as well. Most restaurants that I see is that they have the charm and the ambience but they are not sure about what they are selling. If that happens it will be very difficult for the businesses to sustain. That is where we want to focus and always stay true to what we are selling along with the charm and the environment. And also, what happens in the market is there is a lot of employee turnover. People tend to leave the job too soon hop jobs to match their requirement but somehow we have managed to control that to some extent because we choose our employees very specifically.
It is a family targeted Nepali food restaurant that specializes in the various pickles available here
TNM: How would you explain Achaar Ghar? What does it symbolize?
KRP: It is a family targeted Nepali food restaurant that specializes in the various pickles available here. And since we are pretty much new in the market we have yet to see the response of the people and we can make plans according to that and then decide on what needs to be done more.
TNM: What are the bestselling dishes here?
KRP: The most favored dish would be the mutton chops and Phapar ko pakauda.
WORDS: SHREYA SANGROULA | PHOTOS: PRITAM CHHETRI