Trying a new cuisine from another country is always a fun adventure for me, especially when it’s food that I never would have thought I’d get to try. Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen is a new addition to Vancouver’s West End and there serving up traditional Himalayan dishes and earning rave reviews in the process. The guy’s from The Juice Truck-Zach and Ryan who have traveled around the world and have eaten in Nepal insisted I visit Gurkha, they ate here and said it was completely authentic and a must try . I was intrigued when Gurkha took over the space on Davie Street-it seems nothing has been able to stay open here for any length of time due to the odd location, I think that curse has been lifted now with the addition of Gurkha to the Vancouver dining scene.
I made a lunch time visit and I had a couple of things in mind that I had to try. The first thing that was on my list were Himalayan dumplings called Momos. They offer a completely vegetarian filling as well as a chicken filling and your choice of pan-fried or steamed preparations. I went with the traditional steamed kind and did a mix of 1/2 veggie and 1/2 meat (you can mix and match fillings but all have to be cooked the same way) and are $10 for 10 dumplings.
The momos are served with 2 sauces for your taste bud pleasures. One was a tomato and garlic chutney and the other was a cilantro mint chutney. Both were good but I really liked the cilantro based sauce, they were both not spicy but really flavorful.
The hand-made chicken momos are called Tenzing Momos. They were mildly flavored and filled with a nice amount of chicken.
The vegetarian momos are appropriately named Dalai Lama Momos and are filled with cabbage, tofu, potatoes and spinach. I really enjoyed these a lot, the filling was flavored nicely and they went with the cilantro mint dipping sauce.
For the main part of my meal I had the Tarkaari Bhojan for $13. This version is the lunch version and it’s a bit smaller than the dinner offering. It comes with 3 different curry’s, rice, a cold potato salad, a light green salad and roti. The salad was OK and I enjoyed the honey mustard type dressing. The rice was cooked perfectly and they give you a nice sized portion. The whole wheat roti was good but the Nepalese version is a bit more dense than the Caribbean version.
The cold potato salad as I call it or Aalu Achaar as it’s properly known as was a delish Indian inspired potato salad garnished with lemon juice, mustard oil and mixed with Himalayan herbs. I really liked this potato salad and it was the mustard oil that made the difference, it added a nice bright flavor to the potato salad.
First up is Aalu-Kaauli. It has cauliflower, potatoes, green peas and tomatoes cooked with herbs and spices. Warm and satisfying is how I would describe this curry. As I ate this I could careless if there was meat in this or not, the spices added a nice richness to this that was unlike any cauliflower dish I’ve ever had.
Next up was Jhaaneko Daal, it consists of lentils soaked and cooked with Nepali spices and tempered with onion, cumin seeds and garlic. If you like lentils and daal in general you will like this, the spices were really mellow and the lentils were cooked down nicely.
Lastly I tried something that I haven’t had before, Lekaali Taama. It’s a curry made with bamboo shoots, potatoes, black-eyed peas cooked in delectable Nepali spices. I haven’t had black-eyed peas since I was in Atlanta, there something that I really love because of their distinct earthy flavor. The sauce they were in complimented them and added a sweetness.
I really enjoyed my lunch at Gurkha and would recommend it to anybody looking to try something unique and special. They have a private back patio and a beautiful inside dining room, the fact that Gurkha is inside of an actual house you get that intimate dining experience a lot of restaurants can’t offer. I’m already looking forward to my next dining experience and some more of those delicious momos!