That Marrickville is one of the best foodie suburbs in Sydney is a fact that was once again confirmed on Saturday night when we and our friends Matt and Amy ate at Everest Kitchen, a Nepalese restaurant they had recommended to us ages ago. I’m so glad we didn’t wait a moment longer to try it out, and also that we had aficionados to show us how it was done.
Matt and Amy are both vegan, so in order that we can all share the same food, Mr T and I opt to go vegan for the night too. As such we close our menus and leave the ordering to the experts. They choose two traditional Nepalese entrée sets plus a serving of steamed vegetable dumplings, then to follow, two traditional Nepalese dhindo sets, each with a different curry. Both our entrées and mains are made up of a little bit of various different things – a fabulous way to sample lots of dishes. I’ve eaten vegan food before and I’m well aware that it can be very tasty, but I am honestly blown away by the vibrancy and freshness of the flavours we experience during this meal.
Our entrée sets (one of which is pictured above) include, clockwise from top, a potato cake, vegetable dumplings, beaten rice, soy bean salad, potato salad, fried lentil dumplings and a spicy roasted tomato sauce. Everything is just so delicious. The soy bean salad reminds me in texture of both Sugar Puffs and wasabi peas and is flavoured with finely chopped onions and fresh herbs. The potato salad has all the great qualities of a well-made traditional potato salad with the added mild warmth of turmeric and mustard seeds. I love the dumplings (fortunately we have another plate of them) – I struggle to identify the flavours but they’re fresh and spicy and so good I’d swear they contained meat if they didn’t taste so… well, clean. The beaten rice is a bit of textural fun, like flattened out Rice Crispies (there seems to be a bit of a breakfast cereal theme going on here!). The fried lentil dumplings are wonderfully crisp and crunchy on the outside, and the divine spicy roasted tomato sauce is reminiscent of satay, which is odd considering there’s nary a peanut involved.
The key dish in the above (slightly depleted – must remember to take photos straight away) traditional Nepalese dhindo set, our main, is a potato and bamboo shoot curry. I love the bouncy, slightly fibrous texture of bamboo shoots. Our other dhindo set contains a curry made with no less than nine different kinds of bean. Both sets include the same colourful array of accompaniments – stir fried mustard leaves, pickled radish, tomato salsa, more of the potato salad (in substitution for the dairy-based raita), dhal and, in the middle, the dhindo which is made from millet flour. This carbohydrate looks rather grey and unappetising but I copy Matt and discover it’s really quite good mashed out on my plate and topped with dhal and tomato salsa. The bright green mustard leaves are peppery with a slightly bitter quality, the pickled radish is crunchy and piquant, the tomato salsa is sweet and mildly spicy, the dhal is comforting – once again, the variety and subtlety of the flavours, the freshness of the ingredients, is what delights here.
At the end of the meal we are given feedback cards to fill in and I circle top marks for all aspects of the meal and service. The windows are filled with many more completed cards offering glowing reports. Given we are one of only three tables on a Saturday night, I only hope that word of mouth spreads and this place gets the support it so clearly deserves.
314 Victoria Road, Marrickville
Visited 26 May 2012