Mulchowk means main courtyard. In the old days it would have been the inner sanctum of a neighbourhood or tole. A public place where traditionally people would gather to talk, hang out and leave their troubles behind, or just soak in the late afternoon or morning sun. Such places are disappearing fast in modern day Kathmandu.
And so it was refreshing to find something that gave you back that old sense, perhaps the recollection of a hammock tied between two palm trees gently swaying in the wind. Closely guarded by history’s sentinels (in actual fact by a couple of security guards from a local security company) and tucked away inside the Babar Mahal Revisited complex, Mulchowk restaurant exudes a certain amount of charm. An old world feeling hangs above you as you step onto its premises.Certainly there are ghosts here.
The front of the restaurant gives you a panoramic view of the complex’s main courtyard. The white stucco reliefs and white plastered walls suggest another history, borrowed styles, facades lifted from a faraway landscape.
For an upmarket establishment, the interior of the restaurant is uncomplicated and uncluttered. With polished floors and wood panelled finishings at the bar. The food is cooked in a state-of-the-art modern kitchen placed unobtrusively away from prying eyes, yet close enough for the delicious smells of dishes being prepared by the expert cooks to waft in.
The menu is prominently continental with a smattering of other types of dishes. There is the usual fare of burgers, sandwiches and momos. But what grabs your eye is the choice of real steaks on the menu. You can have it anyway you want, from rare to medium to well done. And it doesn’t come covered in gravy like in some of K-town’s other smart eateries. It seems to be one of the restaurant’s special dishes, a noted favourite with customers, who come there especially to tuck into one.
Some of the restaurant’s other main flagship dishes are the slow cooked Lamb Shanks, Stuffed Chicken Breast, Greek Salad and Fish Steak with Lemon and Butter Sauce. The restaurant also has an extensive drinks list with a great collection of single malts, not to be outdone by any of the capital’s five star hotels. The place is not just for fine dining either. It can be used as a venue for private parties and business dinners, besides also offering a full-on delivery service.
Mulchowk is a friendly place where you could just drop in for a coffee or a drink or two at the bar and enjoy the free Wi-F. An ideal location for a romantic dinner or that important business lunch. As for the wallet to menu ratio, well your safest bet is to turn up with at least Rs 2000 for a quick splurge. If you want to go anywhere beyond that, exploring the menu in more detail, then expect to pay much more.
Mulchowk. Definitely a quiet corner away from the blaring horns and screeching traffic of this mathittel ko udas pankti (Sad Kerosene Queues) lined city, as the poet Ishwor Ballabh once wrote.