A very reliable source, who produces one of my favourite Artisan products, assured me I needed to go to Gorkha Kitchen so I didn’t argue and headed out to the depths of Glen Eden to see what the fuss was about. It was worth the drive.
After scanning the menu online, I was initially a bit perplexed at why a friend would send me to what looked like a pretty ordinary Indian restaurant (in what I would discover to be a very ordinary block of shops). But scrolling a bit further down, I saw there was a whole Nepalese section hiding after the run-of-the-mill butter chicken, vindaloo and tandoori chicken dishes. That definitely looked a bit more interesting.
It was a pretty tiny place, fairly basic in decor (although not plastic furniture, fluorescent lighting and formica tables basic – the chairs were comfortable and efforts had been made on the whole). The staff were super friendly and helpful, as my knowledge of Nepalese is not extensive, and recommended we have the Momo, Chilli Momo (I never say no to multiple dumpling dishes), Kadhai Chicken and ‘Gorkha special Chef dish lamb’.
Everything was excellent- beautifully cooked and flavoured with complex spice combinations – but the Momo stole my heart for sure. These little steamed packages of chicken and lamb mince had the most wonderful aroma of fresh herbs and a hint of citrus. I could discern garlic, ginger and coriander but wasn’t sure what else they had added to their particular recipe. They were wrapped in a pretty standard flour water dough, pleated immaculately, steamed and served with a house made tomato and coriander-based dipping sauce which complemented it perfectly. The Chilli Momo were the same deal but served wet (and without the dipping sauce, of course) cooked in a sauce with capsicums and onions. Both were fantastic and a nice fresh change from the pot-sticker Chinese style dumplings my family love to eat regularly.
The Kadhai Chicken was perfectly tender (yay for thigh meat rather than breast!) and the chunky, slightly sweet sauce it was cooked in, scented with coriander and cumin had both flavour and textural interest with soft rough cut capsicums, tomato and onions in the mix, It made a nice contrast to the Nepalese lamb, which was more of a traditional Indian curry texture.
The lamb was also perfectly cooked to ultimate tenderness and full of rich spice that gave it a wonderful depth of flavour. Both curries had a good level of heat so I wouldn’t personally order much above mild-medium if I went again. My only mild criticism of the whole experience would be that it took some time for the food to come out. It appears everything is really made from scratch, and with love, but that’s not a rapid process. They were also contending with a steady steam of takeaway orders over the phone, to be fair.
I would definitely come back again, but next time may phone ahead with a takeaway order. Good things take time so it depends if you have time to wait. I assure you it’s worth it.