I’ve read so many good reviews and been recommended this place by so many people that I finally had to check it out. Going in through the doors of this tandoori Nepalese restaurant is like entering some kind of weird 70s time warp. The dodgy worn hotel style chairs, the ‘We accept travellers cheques’ sticker on the door (what exactly is a travellers cheque? I’ve still yet to figure it out), through to the brown decor, the whole place has a kind of creepy retro vibe. Upon entering, we were given our menus. The only word I can describe these menus as has to be epic. I mean, really, really big. I’ve never seen such a large and bonkers menu. Half the starters, for example are more expensive than most of the mains, and there’s about 6 pages of main courses, most of which sound so similar I was left scratching my head. Anyway, the poppadoms arrived, which was a nice break from the menu browsing, and wow, they were good. Really light, crispy and fresh with a selection of clearly homemade chutneys. A very nice surprise.
We ordered lamb chops, boti kebab, a dry chicken Nepalese curry, a tarka daal, some pilau rice and plain naan bread. The lamb chops were out of this word. So deliciously tender, full of flavour with a warm hit yet very fragrant. Winner. The boti kebab wasn’t frankly much to write home about, sadly. The mains were, again, a mixed bag – the chicken had a gorgeous ginger and onion hum and its charred flavour went well with the gorgeous fresh naan bread. The tarka daal sadly had a powdery texture, I suspect down to not cooking the spices off properly. The food, then, was a bit hit and miss. Great in parts (some of the best lamb chops of any kind I’ve ever had, anywhere) but a letdown in others (iffy daal).
Where this place really comes into its own though is the service. Seriously, I felt like any second a Nepalese Basil Fawlty was about to storm into the dining room, throw us out and kick the waiter up the arse. On one hand the waiter wouldn’t let me take a sip of water without topping up my glass, yet at the same time whipped away a plate of poppadom and chutney from under my nose while I clearly hadn’t finished. They also looked at me with a strange kind of suspicious grin when I wanted to pay by card. None of this annoyed me, I have to say. If anything I found it bizarre and frankly amusing, it kind of added to the strange atmosphere.
Some people rave about this place, and I can see why. I guess if you know what to order, and don’t mind the dodgy service, you can have a great meal. I’ll probably come again and stick to the chargrilled/tandor cooked dishes as this is clearly what they excel at.
The Great Khatmandu is located in West Didsbury, opposite the Metropolitan pub.