A Himalayan feast
An iconic Delhi-based eatery is only a week old in the city, but is already winning Mumbaikars over with its signature Nepali thalis, Bhutanese fare and mutton momos
Having grown up eating the mother's home-made Bhutanese ema datchi (a chilli and cheese curry) and momos, we remember being sceptical when we first visited Yeti – The Himalayan Kitchen in Delhi eight years ago. But, boy! Were we in for a delicious surprise — they got every aspect right, and soon we were eating there as often as we could. So, when we hear that they are opening an outlet at Khar, thanks to Raasta, who have brought it to Mumbai, we can hardly wait.
But we are slightly confused when we reach the Khar eatery as the al fresco area on the ground-floor, where the outlet is supposed to be, seems deserted. We are ushered to the fourth floor with the explanation that we can opt to sit in the air-conditioned space inside Raasta, too.
Before we even glance at the menu, we ask for a portion of steamed mutton momos ('275), while our companion opts for the buff with onion ('255). The buff comes within 10 minutes, and the lightly fried pieces of meat cooked in fat go well with the caramelised onion. But we are saving space for the momos, which come served with three dips — a mild szechwan sauce, a flavourful sesame option, and our favourite, the spiciest one made using the Bhutanese dalle chilli.
Now, mutton momos aren't really a thing in Tibet, Bhutan or the Northeast due to the lack of good quality goat meat. But, this eatery even won the mother over, so you can imagine how good it is. And the Khar outlet lives up to our expectations as we wolf down the juicy and succulent momos, a tad teary-eyed as we've finally found good momos in Mumbai. We ask for another appetiser they are famous for, gyuma or Tibetan mutton sausages, but are told it's unavailable due to a lack of supplies.
Next, we dive into the Nepali menu and order the chicken Thakali thali ('595), which comes with dal, gundruk sadeko or fermented leafy vegetables, saag, piro aloo, papad, a radish pickle, bitter gourd fritters, curd and rice. Though we are hardcore non-vegetarians, we forget all about the chicken as we take a bite of the dal and gundruk mixture. All the elements taste home-made, which is the signature of great Thakali food. The chicken curry is tangy and holds its own, though our heart is set on the gundruk. We even ask for an extra portion, which they graciously provide.
Choem with tingmo
We're confused by the option for ema datchi and choem ('375) on the menu; it's essentially the same thing. We are informed that the latter is just a spicier version, so we opt for that one in a pork variant. Traditionally, the dish is made using fermented cheese, which gives it a tangy touch. But it's too much to handle for those not used to the odour of the dish — back in Bhutan, neighbours know when ema datchi is being made in a household just from the smell it emanates.
The mildly spicy, creamy and cheesy curry is served with tingmo (a pillowy soft Tibetan bread) and we fall in love with the choem at first bite. But we hit a roadblock with the tingmo. The base of the steamed bread has hardened, which usually happens when the yeast hasn't had enough time to rest and gets overcooked easily. But since it's a common mistake that even we've made in our initial tingmo trials, we hope it's just a teething issue.
Mutton momos. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
We end the meal with the pork fried dry thukpa ('255), which is the only let-down. We are baffled by the addition of peas and beans — highly uncommon in the dish. The pork seems to have lost its flavour in the mix of uncalled-for vegetables. So much so, that we aren't sure whether it's chicken or pork. But we will be back for their authentic take on almost every dish.
At Yeti — The Himalayan Kitchen, Road 4 and 5, Rohan Plaza, Khar.
Timing 12 pm to 10 pm
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