Fed man walking! (yes, I've stolen that phrase)
Recently I've started wondering whether I'm a man or an anaconda. Several times I've stuffed myself to the point that I barely make it home before I have to lay down in back position, stare at the ceiling and let my metabolism run its course. As always, for every effect there's a cause, and the cause here is Nepalese restaurant Himalaju Âzijas Virtuve. To my knowledge, this simply means ”Himalayan Asian cuisine”, which pretty much means that this place doesn't really have a name. But who cares about such trivialities when they serve food as great as this.
Run by a former Ganbei head chef, Himalaju Âzijas Virtuve is far from the almost night clubby setting of the former restaurant. Instead, they are going for a more homely experience, with very simple furniture and sparsely decorated premises. One might almost be tempted to call it uninspiring, and with all right. They would really benefit from a thorough makeover to make the restaurant a more appealing place to go. But just like fellow Asian restaurant Pekina, they really make up for their unattractive premises with their cooking.
”THE ULTRA SPICY VINDALOO CHICKEN LEFT ME WITN AN ALMOST POST-COITAL SENSATION”
Focusing on Nepalese cuisine, which can (a bit simplified) be described as a fusion between Indian and Chinese food, while blending in a bit of Thai and other Asian cooking, Himalaju makes sure that there is something for everyone, regardless of your favorite Asian cuisine. Their delicious Manchau chicken soup is somewhat of an Indian version of the famous Tom Yum soup from Thailand, and their dumplings starter is just as satisfying as it is filling. For the latter, though, I think that it would benefit from a more traditional dumplings dipping sauce instead of the sweet dipping sauce that is served. As for the main courses, it's almost difficult to find the right words. A well-traveled, food-loving friend of mine said about the tempered lamb that it's the best lamb dish he's ever had, and I have no reason to doubt him. The ultra spicy Vindaloo chicken left me with an almost post-coital sensation (I panted so hard that two chefs came out of the kitchen and asked ”are you alright, sir!?”), and the Himalayan chicken in masala sauce is just bloody excellent. I even tried ordering off the menu, and the friendly lady who waited on us accommodated me with a smile and brought me another spicy dish, Indian chili chicken. Although different, and not quite as good, as regular Indian chili chicken that I've had in purely Indian restaurants in other countries, it was by no means a let-down and really showed that the cook is a crowd-pleaser. Also, whatever dish I've ordered, the meat is always cooked to perfection, and everything feels fresh and prepared with pride.
”ONE BOOK YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT JUDGE BY ITS COVER”
The menu begins with a welcoming letter from the owner/chef, where he explains that many of the recipes are his own family recipes, and it shows. Instead of going for fancy presentation, Himalaju's dishes are simple but tasty, just what you'd expect, were you in Nepal and were invited to someone's home. Their food is also highly affordable, and it's very refreshing that rice/noodles, unlike in so many other Riga restaurants, is included in the price of the dish.
Himalaju Âzijas Virtuve is one book you should definitely not judge by its cover. Highly recommended.