There is something really unique about Babermahal Revisited that makes you want to visit it again and again. Maybe it’s the neo-classical architecture or it might be its picturesque courtyards but once you’re in, it is likely that you’ll not want to get out.
That is exactly what I felt when I visited Chez Caroline. Why wouldn’t I? It’s not often that you get invited to a restaurant in Kathmandu that is based inside a former palace.
Opened by a French lady named Caroline, the restaurant has been running in the same place for the last two decades. She chose the place for its uniqueness. “Back in the day, Kathmandu was different and this place stood out. I loved the place on my first visit as its unique ambience was second to none,” she shares.
She is right, the complex is brilliant with its uniqueness when it comes to architecture and the way the space has been utilised. It has it all from restaurants to galleries to hotels and if you visit it for the first time you’ll definitely spend hours here.
After a stroll around the place, I headed to Chez Caroline located in the fifth courtyard next to Siddhartha Art Gallery. The first thing one notices is that the place is so quiet. The ever busy Maitighar Mandala is just outside but you’ll feel that you’re in a little oasis within the city.
On our arrival, we were taken to our seat by the manager Madhu who has been working there ever since the restaurant opened. He looks after the restaurant when Caroline is away. As the menu is French, Madhu assisted us to choose our food.
For starters, we had the salade à la mangue et au magret fume, a salad of mango and smoked duck magret. The combination was quite unique as the smoky duck magret complimented the sweet mango. The dish wasn’t too sweet and with it, I understood why French gastronomy is renowned all over the world.
Madhu recommended another starter, this time a vegetarian one – couleurs de sud, a watermelon salad which has feta cheese, almonds and olives. Before this, I didn’t think that cheese and a fruit like watermelon would go together but the dish was lovely as it was juicy and had a strong taste of cheese and almond to go with it.
Just as we finished the starter, the mains arrived. We were tasting steak au poivre and poulet du jour.
The poulet du jour or the chicken meal of the day changes every day and depends on the ingredients available. It was juicy and full of flavours, but wasn’t very spicy, perfect for an afternoon lunch. The gravy was nice and mild and went well with the rice dish which accompanied the meal.
The steak au poivre was a well grilled steak with pepper and cream sauce and it was one of the best steak’s I’ve had in the valley. It was tender, juicy and full of different flavours and the cream sauce in which it was cooked complimented the steak.
After a hearty meal, it was now time to indulge in the dessert. The first that we tried was the profiteroles au chocolat, a Chou pastry filled with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Caroline had said that she might have the best desserts in town and she was right. Not only did the dish look good but it tasted heavenly as it was creamy, chocolaty and melted as soon as you put it in the mouth.
Tarte aux noix de pécan, glace au miel, a pecan tart served with honey ice cream. The pecan nuts were brought from all the way from North America and tasted a bit like walnuts but had a stronger taste. It was a bit sweet for my liking, but the honey ice cream that came along with it was delightful.
The restaurant also severs some really good fish dishes. One of them is the pavé de saumon sauce vierge, a smoked salmon dished revered very well by the patrons. Apart from that, the restaurant has a range of salads and pastas which give the patrons a wonderful European experience.
Chez Caroline is one of the best restaurants in town. From the service to the food, everything is top notch. In its 20 years of existence, nothing has changed; from the staff to the way they treat their patrons all remain the same–a reason why the place is full of people. It’s a hidden gem in the city a place everyone should visit at least once.
Contact Number: (+977) 01 4263070, (+977) 01 4264187
Address: Babermahal Revisited, Kathmandu
Published on June 5th, Tuesday, 2018 10:55 AM