As usual, living in my current home city of Kathmandu I like to check and try out new places on the regular. One place that had been on my radar for a while was the pan Asian restaurant Akari and Koko. In the not so old Taj Hotel Vivanta in Jamsikhel area.
Departing My House
So, on an overcast sticky, humid and heavy rain pouring Sunday I went there for lunch. I took a taxi from my home in Lazimpat all the way to Jhamsikhel. Upon arrival at hotel Vivanta, I was greeted with a warm welcome by the staff. Who then showed me the way to the lift to get to their restaurant Akari & Koko at the top of the building. Once I got out of the lift I was greeted by a welcoming hostess who asked if I had a reservation. Unfortunately, I didn’t so I could only sit inside.
Top Of The Hotel
Well, nevertheless it wasn’t that bad as those outside were victims to a heavy downpour and I wanted to be in a temperature-controlled environment. Uut of the way of the monsoon. Before going inside, one thing I did do was a peek at their impressive swimming pool. Because it is pretty impressive.
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First of all, it’s an infinity pool showcasing phenomenal views of the city. Second, to the left of it is a beautiful piece of artwork which is the main feature of the pool. A creative piece showing a woman surrounded by jungle and wearing sunglasses. Inside the sunglasses are jungle-like animals. If it wasn’t for the overcast weather and that I was ravenous I’d have clearly dived right in. It also seemed popular with many females spending large amounts of time to pose for photos.
Next, I headed inside to have the food I’d been eagerly waiting to demolish for a while. I had heard how much of a popular place this had become so I was quite grateful when I was there it was relatively quiet. Perhaps because it was in the middle of a working day. The only one family was in there alongside me. So in a sense, I had the whole restaurant to myself with an amazing 360-degree view of the Valley.
After sitting down, a waitress greeted me humbly and provided me with two menus. Then after some time carefully considering what to have I proceeded with my order which was wontons, dim sum and chicken ramen. However immediately after ordering, I was informed by the waitress about the won tons. They had been removed from the menu as previous customers had made remarks about the taste not living up to their standards.
Well, I was disappointed but also impressed because it showed their honesty and dedication to their business admitting their faults to other customers. Therefore, I chose spring rolls instead. My companion ordered the Pad Thai.
Arrival Of The Food
In ample time the starter arrived which was the spring rolls. There was five of them and they were beautifully presented. I’ve been a big fan of Asian food all my life however have never been served spring rolls like this. Every individual one was presented in a shot glass with a thimble’s worth of hoisin sauce. All pointing to the left on a wooden platter. Decorated handsomely. Did the appearance pair up with the taste?
Without a single doubt, it did! The spring rolls were so crunchy and tasted fresh too. A true delight and a great introduction to the food I’d had yet left to taste. Then followed the dim sum and ramen. Those were both scrumptious.
Similarly, the portion sizes were magnificent especially the ramen, they did a good job in preparing this! I have eaten a lot of ramen in my 24 years on earth. In comparison to others I’ve tried, they had prepared it exactly how it should be with eggs, chicken and lots of vegetables. On the contrary, it was very heavy to digest yet I think I had been greedy and ordered a bit too much.
My companions Pad Thai was to a good standard as well. Sometimes, when you request a dish outside its native country it can be a bit of a risky move. Yet, this proved wrong also as the Pad Thai was delicious and also very fresh. No staleness detected. What impressed me the most was that during the meal the head chef came out to check on us. He wanted to know how we found our experience and food.
Meeting The Chef
Obviously, I was full of praise and a little bit taken back. Across the world, I’ve dined at many restaurants and had head chefs to come out then greet me. However, this was the first I’d ever experienced in Nepal. Also, the waitresses knew the correct order to serve the food as well as using the utensils.
As I’ve lived in Nepal for some time now a lot of Nepalese get frustrated by their neighbouring country India. To the point where a lot of people want to promote local, stick to local and avoid Indian influences at all costs. I can’t comment on my opinion on this however I feel that Akari & Koko really sets the bar for Kathmandu.
I’ve dined at many fancy restaurants here but you can clearly see the staff had been trained well. Especially by the Taj hotel group as the Indian hospitality shone throughout. This was from the greeting all the way to the dining and afterwards the goodbyes from staff.
It’s not that expensive at Akari and Koko for what you pay for. It takes a lot to impress me and I think due to the exceptional service I was provided I shall be returning very soon. Perhaps a little helping hand from the neighbouring country wouldn’t be so bad after all?