From the top of the world to the top of Carlton Hill.
As you travel away from the city, 384 Carlton Hill is on the left, in the first run of shops as the road levels out. It was known for many years as The Indian Prince, a Kashmiri restaurant and takeaway. I’m sure that many people still regard it as their local Indian takeaway. The building itself is very deceptive. It has a very narrow shop front that suggests it is just another takeaway. The building however continues through a restaurant (that seats around 40 people), to the kitchen at the back.
For the past few years it has been The Everest Bhansaghar, a Gurkha Restaurant and Takeaway. As the title states; it is a restaurant first and a takeaway second.
Many of us associate the name Gurkha (also spelt as Gorkha) with the military units in the Nepalese, British and the Indian army. In fact they are the indigenous people (of different clans) mainly from South Asian country of Nepal.
Whilst Kashmir and Nepal are similar in that they are both in the mountainous Himalayan region, Nepalese food has subtle differences that should be tried at all costs. Nepal, being further to the east has taken some influence from South East Asia and the Buddhist culture.
The director of The Everest is Rana Bahadur, a very personable and proud man. He should be too. Still in his early 40’s, his family came to the UK in 2000. His two children were of primary school age and the adjustment from a rural village in western Nepal must have been difficult. Skip forward to 2014; both children are studying at degree level and he has a successful restaurant that has an increasing and loyal clientele. Rana is also actively involved in promoting the Nepalese and Gurkha culture in Nottingham. The local population may be only a few hundred but they have quickly established themselves. They recently gathered in Nottingham to celebrate their New Year. They have also been acknowledged and welcomed at a reception at County Hall.
So what is special about The Everest?
- The Welcome. The staff are very personable without being over familiar. They are relaxed, they smile, and they take time to explain the menu.
- The Food. The food is clearly cooked with fresh ingredients. The sauces have a rich and complex flavour that can only be created by using fresh ingredients and cooked slowly. There is clearly a great deal of pride in the food which is presented very well.
- The Menu. The menu is not only varied but also regularly updated with new dishes being added. In addition to the Nepalese dishes, it has the standard Indian dishes and a good vegetarian option. Some of the Nepalese dishes are only available in the restaurant.
- The Character. The restaurant is a narrow room with a convivial atmosphere. There is a display cabinet with various items of Gurkha culture. There are photographs showing the stunning landscape of Nepal. There is also a piece of amateur artwork which shows a mountain scene. It was painted by Rana’s daughter, and the scene is local to where they originate from.
On a personal level, I try to restrict the number of takeaway meals I have. I have a habit of eating takeaways hurriedly and untidily. The meal becomes less of an occasion and, consequently, less enjoyable. In turn, many takeaway food outlets rarely change or improve their menu. They serve the people’s favourites and little else.
When I first used The Everest in 2012, it was for a takeaway meal. It was my only takeaway from them. I have since discovered that the restaurant is a far more civilised way of enjoying and discovering Nepalese food.
When I visit, I look for something different or new to the menu. The chef may have even created something that day. I will probably try it.
My advice is to do the same. This was the last meal I had there.
For a starter, Momo. Small dumplings stuffed with minced lamb. They have the same consistency as traditional British dumplings (that we rarely see nowadays), but are made without suet.
For the main, Malekhu Ko Macha. Pan fried sea bass marinated with ginger and garlic. Served with a vegetable curry and black eye beans.
The menu offers the usual sundries. What also impressed me is how they make and serve the Nan bread. Rather than being the size of a ‘single duvet’ covering 50% of the table, these are smaller and served in four pieces.
For dessert, there are the standard ice creams and Kulfi. I have enjoyed the Nepalese Rice Pudding and, on my last visit I chose the Carrot Halwa; and yes it is carrot; grated, sweetened and cooked. Very nice indeed!
Twelve months on, and they are getting more support. All this has happened by ‘word of mouth’, the most reliable of local advertising. No direct mailing or offers in the social media.
So, if this is the first you’ve heard of The Everest, you need to plan a visit. There is plenty of parking nearby which is free after 6pm.
Oh, and don’t forget to order the prosecco!