Last new years I celebrated in Dubai, on a layover seeing fireworks as I got off the plane. Ironically, this journey I was making was to my second home Nepal. This year I experienced a different New Years in Kathmandu. After a week-long of extended Christmas celebrations staying at two resorts in one week. I was unsure how I wanted to celebrate 2020 in the capital. After the terrible ‘lavish Christmas dinner experience’ at Gokarna, I knew I wanted to make an excellent new years eve in Kathmandu.
Prior to Celebrating New Years Eve in Kathmandu
Before the eve, I’d seen many new years events advertised on social media. As I’m not the clubbing type, I didn’t want to stand up in a club squished like fat cattle at a cattle market. Plus, I wanted to have an articulate conversation. The only option for me was to go for dinner. But where? Well, I became swamped with options. First I was going to visit Yak & Yeti as they had a musician and a ‘lavish buffet’. The musician was a well known Nepali one, so for me, I would have felt a bit left out not knowing his music.
Likewise, ever since Gokarna, when anyone in Nepal uses the word ‘Lavish’ to describe something, it makes me rather hesitant. That goes for Dwarikas hotel too; I was willing to pay the equivalent of $140+ for two people. Once I got sent their ‘lavish gala dinner menu’ I was stunned. More or less it consisted of poached salmon, steaks, pasta, carrot soup and chocolate lava cake. While I like all of these, for Dwarika’s standard and the price they let themselves down when they said lavish.
Le Sherpa Advertisement
It wasn’t until the day prior I’d seen an advertisement for the fine dining restaurant Le Sherpa based in Maharajgunj. For celebrating new years eve in Kathmandu, they had announced a guest chef. He taught at the highest hotel school in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Henny Helsemans. I enquired with Le Sherpa, who sent me a menu which seemed appealing. Even though money wasn’t the issue, it was a fraction the cost of Dwarika’s for a six-course meal making it around $90 for two people without drinks. I opted for this as it was also close to my home.
Arriving at Le Sherpa
The event was from 6:00 pm-12:00 am, luckily in comparison to other places I didn’t need to be there for the starting time. Which allowed me not to rush my work. Upon arrival at Le Sherpa, I was impressed; it was not overcrowded. The waitress tucked me in, took my coat and presented me with the food and wine menu. Of course, that was a dangerous choice.
After my food and wine order, I waited in the soothing ambience. One thing which did slightly frustrate me was when I asked about the range of wines; the young man didn’t seem that knowledgable. I mean I know it’s unrealistic to have a sommelier in Nepal; however, my partner and I picked, hoped for the best.
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When he brought the wine for us to taste first, he immediately went to my partner and waited for his opinion before pouring me any. Even my partner told him to serve me some wine so I could make my mind up myself. It took a few minutes for the waiter to defuse from his patriarchal mindset. However, we both tried, and the wine was remarkable.
Mulled Wine and Starter
We also got a welcome drink, which we chose mulled wine. If I go anywhere and there’s mulled wine on the menu, I’m immediately sold. As I’m not too fond of salmon, I opted for the starter of tomato tartare with paneer and basil. When I got served it, I could immediately tell it was no Nepali chef. As every Nepali value their paneer, the size of the paneer was chopped up into minuscule pieces, in fact, the smallest I’d ever seen in my life!
While it was tasty, I was disappointed as it was not worthy of being a ‘fine dining starter.’ I hoped this didn’t set the tone for the rest of my meal.
Next came risotto with marinated oyster mushrooms, gamba prawns and citrus vinaigrette. My, this dish was delicious. The pairing of the food was well done. My partner and I both agreed it was a tantalising dish.
We chose for our main course grilled frenches rack of lamb cooked on hay, creme of sweet potato, filled zucchini light, gravy with a touch of curry. I’m without a doubt a lover of lamb, however previously in Nepal, I’ve not rated due to the tastiness of mutton. Plus whenever I’ve had lamb previously, it was either chewy or little in portion.
When I got served this lamb, it was large, and the meat was so tender it melted in my mouth. The sweet potato and curry were like no other. Dipping the lamb in the gravy brought up memories of dinners back home with my mother.
The dessert was ice cream with honey and thyme, pineapple, dried mango marinated in ginger, red peppermint and an almond truffle. I enjoyed this dessert, it was light and not too cold rounding off the meal.
Unfortunately, by this point, I was rather drunk from the tantalising bottle of red wine I consumed. Deciding to let my maturity kick in, I opted for a latte to finish off my meal at 11 pm. I don’t know what I was thinking caffeine at that time; the wine had got to my head.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Kathmandu at Le Sherpa was a decision I’m glad I made. Even though the price worked out more than any other high-end place I have seen (due to the wine we picked), I had a phenomenal time. I couldn’t complain about the food or the service, and no one rushed me to finish. The staff knew how to set the table and amend my cutlery when out of place, which is rare for Nepal. Without a doubt, I’d dine here again.
The only feedback I’d have for Le Sherpa is that the guest chef didn’t come out. There wasn’t a huge crowd there, and he could have done with introducing himself to the dinners making him present. As to me, it could have been any other Nepali. However, it was a splendid meal, and Le Sherpa did an excellent job of defining the word ‘lavish’. If you’re thinking of celebrating new years eve in Kathmandu, you may want to consider Le Sherpa.