When you dine at The Chimney, you’re eating at one of Nepal’s oldest fine-dining restaurants. Based in an old Rana building at Hotel Yak and Yeti, everything about The Chimney speaks of class. From the inner décor and architecture, which have touches of Nepali art, to the tiny details in the food, you are sure to get your money’s worth.
Boris Lissanevitch, the man who introduced Nepal to the world, opened the restaurant’s doors four decades ago. The restaurant, for most of its 40 year-history, served as a fine-dining restaurant exclusively for the rich. However, since it reopened after refurbishments in November 2018 it has a new menu that appeals to everyone.
The new outdoor lounge has been a hit with the urban young crowd who like to spend time on chic furniture enjoying the greenery.
The best thing about this restaurant, since it reopened, is the new prices on the menu. While keeping the authenticity intact, the prices have been slashed and are similar to those that other star hotels offer. The manner in which they seem to have combined great food with affordable prices and history makes the new Chimney as good as, if not better than, the old one.
The manager Ron recommended we try two starters and a soup. The first dish he asked us to try was the corn and scallion fritters. The dish is basically like a pakora but the similarity ends there. The combination of corn and scallion is interesting as it complements each other. It was sweet, but the salsa and som tam adds zest. It is an ideal appetiser for vegetarians.
I then went for the pulled pork sliders. The slow-cooked mini pork burgers were juicy and full of flavours. The BBQ sauce adds extra flavours to already flavourful dish. It is an enticing appetizer before you jump to your main course.
Then came the Russian borscht, the soup which still brings people from all over the world back to The Chimney. This Eastern European soup is made with carrot, beetroot and other vegetables. It’s one of the restaurant’s best sellers during the winters. It has earthy flavours that complement the taste of the sour cream which is topped off in the end. A timeless classic!
It was then time for the main course.
First came the lamb chops, which can be ordered either with vegetables or sautéed mushrooms. The lamb was soft but had a strong flavour. The lamb was well done, yet tender and juicy. It might probably be one of the best lambs I’ve ever tried in Kathmandu.
Then I tried the chicken teriyaki, another dish that is quite popular at the restaurant, the sweet and sour chicken dish and its tangy texture was a treat. The dish is cooked really well as it combines succulent pieces of chicken breasts with a thick, sweetened sauce redolent with hints of dried red chilli. Combined at times with fresh, green bell pepper, the mixture is spectacular and goes well with steaming boiled vegetables and sticky rice.
The last dish that I tried was the forest mushroom risotto. For me, any proper fine dining restaurant should have a few good Italian dishes and I was not disappointed when I ate the risotto. Most restaurants in Kathmandu have risotto on their menu but not all of them as are tasty as this one. The rice dish sprinkled with parmesan cheese and mushroom is creamy and buttery. The dish wasn’t thick which makes it stand out amongst other restaurants and would go well with a nice glass of white wine.
The last two dishes we tried were desserts, and I was surprised by what was brought out. First to come was the baked Alaska Sagarmatha. This flaming dessert is a medley of ice cream and cake topped with brown, fluffy meringue which is then topped off which flaming brandy which nullifies the sweetness of the meringue. You have to try this dish just for its uniqueness along with The Chimney’s Baileys rasmalai. It’s basically rasmalai which is soaked in Irish cream. It tastes similar to the normal rasmalai which is light, spongy, spiced softly with cardamon and delicate saffron; this one has a liquorish aftertaste which makes it stand out. This dish might make you want to start with dessert next time.
The restaurant also has a good range of wines you can choose from but their cocktails are something you should not miss out on. My favourite was the mango sour and south extension which are part of the ongoing mango festival. The unique beetroot drink called the miracle was also interesting and worth trying.
The restaurant is trying to be sustainable and has abolished the use of plastic. It even uses copper stirrers and straws instead of plastic.
Location: Hotel Yak and Yeti, Durbarmarg
Opening hours: 12 pm to 10:30 pm