Looking to diversify our eating routine we stumble on the Himalaya Restaurant in Bangkok a humble family run restaurant hidden in the back sois of Sukhumvit 31. The restaurant looks to be part of a localised ‘Himalaya Residences’ a base for Himalayan folk in Bangkok – like a Little Himalaya I guess. The area is easy enough to find following the Sukhumvit 31 Road (on the left) where a quick walk down a sub-soi finds the Himalaya Restaurant front draped in traditional prayer flags and on entering we are led by mini prayer wheels to find a cute, homely restaurant decorated with low seated tables, authentic nicknacks and surprising Himalayan charm. The menu while covering all Himalayan regions is more specific to Nepal and the Newari subset. If new to Himalayan food we shared some favourite Himalayan foods here. To sum it up Himalayan food is a mix of Indian and Chinese cuisines; flatbreads and curries, dumplings and noodles, but of course it is a cuisine of its own. Cooking does vary across the region from India to Nepal, Chinese Tibet to Bhutan.
The food at the Himalaya Restaurant is more like home cooking yet the menu offers an extensive list of familiar and unfamiliar Himalayan dishes. I’m not certain if this works in their favour as cooking everything to high standards can be tricky; we therefore stick to the recommended dishes (which they do, do well). Tibetan style chicken momos (dumplings) served in bamboo steamer with a pale yellow dip which proved to pack a punch – really good. The chicken choyala a newari dish of boiled and shredded chicken with a hot and spicy marinade, again great flavour. The two with complimentary poppadoms made perfect nibble food.
The Full Menu
Another pick from the recommended list is the Prince Harry curry which is a little disappointing and possibly Prince Harry is to blame; this Gurkha Curry was a favourite dish with the Prince during his stationing in Afghanistan. For me it lacked flavour. Hankering for both Paneer (cottage cheese) and Aloo (potato) and with limited table space we go with both; the Panner Aloo prepared in a sweet and spicy sauce which again failed to excite me, the mixed textures (obviously) not complimenting one another. The tandoori chicken (1/2) then lacks that delicious smokey tandoor flavour I obsess for. To be fair we do compare the Himalaya Restaurant with our favourite Indian Restaurants in Bangkok and there’s an obvious disadvantage. In future I’d likely steer from the Indian food and side with the Thalis (set meals) and Himalayan favourites; maybe the Dals, Thukpa or Chawmin. Also goat meat features regularly on the menu as the alternative to chicken.
The Overall Experience
Overall the Himalaya Restaurant in Bangkok is a great place for something different, prices are relatively cheap in comparison to the Indian restaurants I hold it against and the experience is definitely value for money. These authentic alternatives in Bangkok are few and far between. Our meal comes to 1,ooo Baht for the above dishes shared with two plates of garlic naan, complimentary poppadoms and drinks. The restaurant is far from fancy, more simple, relaxed and uniquely Himalayan.