When Hill Station’s Mitos Benitez Yñiguez recommends a restaurant in Baguio for you to try, you try it.
I was delighted to hear that there is a new guy in town, a half-Nepalese, half-Filipino fellow named Julian Shakya who, with partner Bernie Figer, opened this Nepalese restaurant on Outlook Drive.
HALF & HALF
When I was told the name of the restaurant, though, the first thing that crossed my mind was the creamer that my aunt in Ohio loves to put in her coffee – Half & Half. Mitos was like, “I know” – on the name of the resto. But says it’s because half of the resto is a bar or becomes a bar at night.
When you enter the resto, though, there will be no mistaking that it is Nepalese.
The first thing I noticed were the figurines on the wall near where we were seated:
I was also drawn to this half-elephant, half-clown art. I did a quick Wiki and realized that this may be an artistic tribute to Ganesha, “a Hindu deity widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom”.
Then near the balcony is this carving that just makes you think of your own yoga goals:
As usual, I wanted to try everything on the menu.
MOMO, NOT MOMOL
We started with something that was being offered for free if you like the resto’s Facebook page. It gave us a good laugh because it’s called MOMO. I told my friend, “Mag Like tayo para libreng MomoL!” (Gen-X code for Make Out Make Out Lang). Momo is apparently a popular dumpling in Nepal, sometimes stuffed with pork, sometimes fish, sometimes beef. My friend noted that it is similar to the dumpling in Molo soup. Perhaps we got that influence from Nepal? (Or vice versa?)
Then we started officially with a most unique appetizer. This would have been great, too, at night, with an ice cold bottle of beer: fried corn! But without the husk. We loved this.
Next we had the Nepali Vegetable Chowmein. Vegetable because we already had pork and chicken for the other items we ordered. This was like … pancit LOL. I wasn’t too sold on this. I guess you need to be craving pancit. Or maybe I have a bias for Filipino-Chinese pancit! LOL.
I truly enjoyed the sauces, though. First, the dip that came with the Momo. And then the sauce of the chicken curry (don’t order the solo it’s so bitin; order the one good enough for two, anyway the prices are super reasonable). This is especially good with that Basmati rice if you’ve had too much to drink the night before, hehehe!
And then there’s this incredible deck …
We were given the best tip by Mitos: come early. We arrived at 11:30 and service was fast. By noontime, though, the place was full and the restaurant had to manage the influx of customers. And this was on a non-peak weekend.
Finally, we got a great laugh off the neighboring cafe, Le Vain. There is a New York bakery named Levain that makes amazing, to-die-for chocolate chip cookies (among other cookes). I guess this is the Baguio version!
Overall it was a great find and, as a lover of curries, I’d like to come back to try out more items on the menu!