A sumptuous atmosphere and a diverse menu are the hallmarks of this quaint restaurant.
--BY SARTHAK RAJ BARAL
Casa Pagoda occupies an envious location, standing firm on the edge of Patan Durbar Square – a bastion of centuries-old heritage and culture. Even before entering the restaurant, the atmosphere is one of tranquility. Tourists languidly strolling on the cobblestone streets, kids gallivanting with abandon, selfies being taken by the dozens; there was a permeable sense of enjoyment coursing through the air.
Sure, the patented Kathmandu dust was in the air as well, but try as it might, it couldn’t dampen the lively atmosphere.
From the exterior, Casa Pagoda has the sort of rustic visage that fits in perfectly with its surroundings. It’s pretty, but not ostentatiously so. Do not be fooled though, for the two-storey restaurant is hiding its trump card in the menu.
The ambience inside builds on the rustic theme. Wooden furniture and facades along with a naked brick design on many of the walls contribute towards an earthy vibe. The seating area is divided into four sections – one immediately upon entering, one on the first floor facing Mangal Bazar, one on the inner reaches of the property and finally, a seating area on the first floor on the inside.
We were seated in the latter. The atmosphere was warm and cosy, but the differentiating factor here was that our dining table was an aquarium – a rather novel arrangement, to say the least. As we waited patiently for our food, my companions took some time to play with the fish. Fortunately, our meal didn’t include any seafood.
Since we were parched from thirst, we requested cold coffees. They did the trick, and it was time to try a more solid variety of food.
We were first served the Paneer and Mushroom Pizza, one that the manager was rather proud of, his reasoning being that generally, people prefer non-vegetarian pizza, but they wanted vegetarians to have a great option as well. That pride isn’t misplaced; the pizza was perfectly balanced. Soft, tender and filled with creamy goodness, with a firm crust. The mushroom and paneer balanced each other out to create a delightful dish.
The next dish was Spaghetti Alla Ragout along with a slice of garlic bread. Much like the pizza, the dish sat nicely on the taste buds. The tangy chicken ragout sauce meshed wonderfully with the spaghetti, and the garlic bread helped balance the zesty sauce — a perfectly well-rounded dish.
The manager was enthusiastic about the next dish; he claimed it was one of the most popular dishes on the menu. After taking one bite of the Chicken Alabam, the reason for its popularity was as clear as day. The dish is essentially grilled chicken breast in brandy cream sauce served with a helping of either mashed potato or pasta. Whatever alchemy went behind putting the dish together, it was well worth it.
The chicken was succulent on its own, but with the added punch of the brandy cream sauce, the dish came alive in the best way possible. This was the last dish we had at the restaurant, and it was undoubtedly the piece de resistance. After our sampling was done, the manager stressed on the multi-cuisine proficiency of the restaurant. From Chinese dishes such as Chicken Honey Soya, to dishes closer to home such as Paneer Butter Masala, Chicken Biryani and a Nepali Thali Set, Casa Pagoda has a variety of cuisines.
In summary, Casa Pagoda is an all-round attractive proposition. A vibrant location, a quaint and cosy atmosphere and most pertinently, a varied and enjoyable menu combine to create a dining experience worth having.