Charming, Old, and Authentic
The walls of Bhojan Griha tell tales of many lives spanning over 150 years. The palace was the official residence of the Royal Priest of the former Royal Family. Situated in the heart of the city, Bhojan Griha entertains both national and international guests for Lunch (12pm – 3pm) and Dinner (6pm – 9pm) along with cultural and tribal dances accompanied by live music. The restaurant is one of the few eateries specialising in traditional Nepali food and has been a hub for the ex-royals as well as diplomats.
The three-storeyed restaurant is neatly divided into Basantapur Baithak, Putali Baithak, and Kantipur Baithak respectively. The Putali Baithak is conjoined with the Kama Sutra Bar specialising in Nepali liquor. The seating is conventional; the guests sit on the Zaitsu chairs, a special legless chair paired with low tables. The light in the hall throws soft shadows which all over the room accentuating the good ambience that Bhojan Griha is also known for.
Minutes after we sat down, soaking in the classic setting of Bhojan Griha, we were served with snacks consisting of Bhuteko Makai (Pot baked corn), Tareko Aloo and Momocha. Each bite and crunch of the popcorn, melting of the potato pieces and immaculate burst of taste from Chicken Momocha feel as though you are in a campestral setting rather than mid-city.
This authentic Nepali snacks variety was immediately followed by Kwati Ko Surwa. Kwati is a typical Nepali dish which is basically mixed soup of nine types of sprouted beans. Kwati is considered to be a gourmet food generally recognised for its health benefits. The soup contained oilfried asafoetida, which mainly contributes to creating heat in the body and other bodily relieves during the cold season.
Bhojan Griha prides itself on being an honest-to-goodness server of conventional.Nepali cuisine also while structurally reflecting the architectural heritage of Nepal. Indeed, Bhojan Griha has the quality to boast about. The walls are soft yellow and the ceiling is green, showcasing the neoclassical architecture introduced by the First Rana Prime Minister of Nepal, Jung Bahadur Rana.
The captivating aspect of this property is that the restaurants truly give a domicile feeling while treating its guests with royalty. After the Soup and a quick chat with Rajib Basnet, the Manager of Bhojan Griha, who then divulged how this famed diner uses organic vegetables, all home grown and also hosts a market, ‘KhetiBazar’ aiming for the sustainability and organic food options on the market, we were supplied with the main course which has lavish platter of ‘pakka Nepali food’.
Now, Nepali Food is not a new thing for us, nationals, but for our international guests it is definitely a refresher for taste palate.
Decorated on the brass plates and brass portion bowls, Sada Bhuja, Jhaneko Mas ko Dal along with other vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies was brought on the table. Fair enough, the aroma of the food is what made me crave for what was being served. Bhojan Griha, with its two chefs (Suman shrestha and Dhruba basnet), and 55 staff in total surely do heighten the experience of eating the Nepali comfort food.
Jhaneko Mas ko Dal, a split-black lentil soup or as we call it Dal, is low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein. The richness in the Dal added with the flavour of jimbu made it more tantalizing to the taste buds and mixing perfectly with the wonderfully cooked Sada Bhuja.
Jeera Palungo was neither overcooked nor was it undercooked therefore had a soft texture, just as it should be. It was all over seasoned sublimely and went well with the other vegetables as well such as Mismas Tarkari, concoction of seasonal vegetables such as cauliflower, zucchini, carrot, and peas, fused with spices and herbs. Theother dish was sauteed mushroom and capsicum. I was a little hesitant initially, regarding the taste of the dish. However was pleasantly surprised when the spoonful of the said food hit my taste palate since the individual taste of the mushroom and capsicum was intact. The whole meal was completed with Mula ko Achar, a condiment optional to add flavour to the food made from radish soaked in vinegar and other essential spices.
The meal plate had two non-vegetarian items, one of them was Machha Tareko. The dish had a crispy and crunchy texture. The neat and scrumptious pellets were peaceful on taste buds.The other item was Kukhura Ko Masu. Personally, this has to be the highlight of the dish. Typically when we dine on Nepali Food, the stewed chicken is expected to be spicy. But this Masu was completely spice-intolerant friendly. Hold up -this does not imply that the chicken was bland. The piquant taste was mild enough to be washed away with the desserts we had after the meal was done.
I am sure Masala Tea and Gajar ka Halwa that followed in the end added to the already uplifted mood with its sweetness and accuracy. The dining area was warm and lit with a space heater but we sure did not mind a piping cup of tea because it is winter and resistance to sip on the Masala tea sounds irrational.
All in all, dining at Bhojan Griha, with its 200 guests capacity was a very soothing experience and would recommend for enhancing our taste in Nepali Food.
Text by Abhigya Subedi
Photos by Royal Raj Manandhar