Taking its name from the finest and fiercest soldiers of Nepal, The Gurkhas, is a modern Nepalese restaurant founded by renowned restaurateur, and Nepal-born Shrabaneswor Rai(Hot Stone Steak and Sushi Bar in Islington). Bringing a kaleidoscope of vibrant plates from the Himalayan region to London’s thriving food scene, a culinary adventure across Nepal awaits.
Rai has long dreamed of bringing Nepalese cuisine to the capital with a nod to his Gurkha family connections. Working closely with Head Chef Joe Allen, the duo has created a first-of-its-kind dining experience – Nepal has over 100 different castes and ethnicities, each with its own food history, and The Gurkhas have been inspired by the diverse culture of the country to include a range of recipes that originate from different parts of Nepal.
Having travelled extensively across Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara – Chef Allen, whose wife is Nepalese, and father-in-law a Gurkha – has immersed himself in the culture, sampling delicacies and trying his hand at wild boar butchery. The menu is divided into snacks, sharing dishes and large plates and is served by waiters in traditional Nepalese dress.
Begin with snacks of Dungri Bhatmas Sadeko (Nepali finger crisps with soybean, onion and tomato) and Aloo Nimki (spiced potato curry served with a pastry parcel) before a selection of small plates, designed for sharing. From the country’s most popular dish – Kukura ko Jhol Momo (steamed chicken dumplings in a tomato sauce) – to Kuhura ko Pangra Sekuwa (grilled chicken gizzard); and Spicy Lamb Kachila with crispy bitter gourd, guests can discover new flavours and relish in the true cultural spirit of Nepal.
Large plates feature the likes of chargrilled Monkfish Choila; and Pork Chop with Sisnu (nettle), as well as Chef Allen’s signature Makai ko Risotto – a unique corn-based risotto dish with butternut squash and churpi, a cheese derived from the milk of a yak which is naturally sweet in flavour and often described as the hardest in the world. Sides include seasonal mustard greens; Chamrey Bhatt (Nepali style rice with ghee); and Mustang aloo chips.
Finish off with a perfectly balanced dark chocolate crémeux with guava curd and sorbet; Kuwa crème caramel with sorrel; or a Nepali spiced rice pudding with toasted coconut. In the coming months, The Gurkhas will offer a reasonably priced six-course tasting menu (£75) with picture-perfect dishes from start to finish.
With the Gurkha veterans a cause very close to the restaurant team’s hearts, it is donating 50p from every Gurkha pickle dish sold to The Gurkha Welfare Trust to support them, their families, and communities.
Chef Allen last brought Nepalese food to the capital post his appearance on BBC’s My Million Pound Menu – attracting investment from restaurateur Jamie Barber to set up Kitycow, a three month pop-up at Hush Mayfair with his then business partner.
Discover the unique and diverse flavours of Nepal at The Gurkhas – Now open on Great PortlandStreet.