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The Great Nepalese - Camden

Review by Veronica Blake

WHAT is it about railway stations, they seem to be located in the less salubrious areas of cities? Regardless of what country you visit, life around the station is like a walk on the wild side.

Even in politically correct, right on Camden, right behind Euston station in Eversholt Street, you’ll find Fantasia lap-dancing club, next door to the naughty video and magazine exchange and Euston Sauna massage parlour..

Next door to the sauna is Transformations.. “creating beautiful women worldwide.. any age or size will be transformed”, where chaps enter as Joe and exit as Joanna.

Transformations stock all that a transgender could desire, from fluffy blonde wigs to snazzy little lurex dresses or fishnet stockings.

Tucked in between this demi monde of x-rated sleaze and decadence is a little gem of a restaurant, a hidden treasure indeed in an area not know for decent restaurants.

Run by the Manandhar family for the past 20 years, The Great Nepalese specialises in Himalayan dishes. It’s Willy Russell’s favourite Asian restaurant. He discovered it one day when his train to Liverpool was delayed and has been returning ever since. Michael Palin is also a regular here.

Considering their immediate surroundings of massage parlours and porn video shops, Gopal Manandhar has done a sterling job in raising his sons as solid, upright citizens. Hardworking, they’ve been helping their father run the restaurant since they were in junior school.

Now in their 20’s, they run the restaurant when their father is away. Eldest son, Jifendra, is head chef and rustles up some culinary Nepalese treats.

The family exude a sense of calm in an area of hustle and transience. A large picture of a proud young Ghurkha beams down from the wall. Decorated with medals for bravery, symbolizing the proud loyal serne spirit of the Nepalese.

A soundtrack of gentle Nepalese music sets the tone and you can see why it’s a mecca for stressed out travelers who stop off here from Euston. A meal here is as beneficial as a day at a spa and the food is just as healthy.

My starter, chicken chat – small pieces of chicken in masala cucumber and lemon sauce – was tangy and delicious. The Nepalese brewed Gurkha beer was the perfect accompaniment.

There’s a Nepalese set menu for £12.95 that includes either mutton chicken or vegetable curry, dahl, pilau rice and a variety of other local specialities, followed by Mango sorbet and coffee.

My Chicken Dhanask in a sweet and sour sauce with lentils and pilau rice was cooked to perfection.

My friend was delighted with her choice of Tikka Bhutuwa, barbequed chicken cooked in ginger, garlic, spices and flavoured with green herbs. Vegetarians are very well catered for here.

The special Tibetan dish of sun-dried vegetables, steamed mustard leaves cooking with potatoes, or Aloo Bodi Tama, potator bamboo shoots and bean curry, sound special and great value at £3.50.

London has so many Indian restaurants but this is the only Nepalese that I know of. The food is subtle and unusual.

A starter of Masco Bara, crisp deep fried lentil pancakes served with curry sauce, is superb and as filling as a main course. Those trannies are spoilt for choice when they pop in for a girlie lunch.

The food here is not only delicious, it’s also healthy, lots of pulses and vegetables and fresh fish are featured. Flavoured with fresh herbs and spices, this Nepalese food is a treat for the senses and easy on the wallet.

Our bill for a two course meal with beer was just £15 each, a real bargain for food of this quality in London.

In the hustle and bustle of London life it is indeed rare to find such charming service and wonderful food. So many restaurants today charge exorbitant prices for sub-standard food served by cold, indifferent staff who’s constant attention can be intimidating as they pace the floor like staff sergeants, or continually top up your glass.

That is why a visit to The Great Nepalese will surprise you. You’ll find that old fashioned charm and genuine care for customers still exists today – at least in the world of Nepalese cuisine.

Great Nepalese Restaurant,
48 Eversholt Street,
NW1 1DA
020 7388 737
Open every day for lunch and dinner