If you stroll down to Street 258, you will wander down a broken and small road littered with potholes and a surplus of overly eager tuk-tuk drivers. Backpackers and Australians in general will be flocking or stumbling from the laid back Lazy Gecko bar and Guesthouse. It is on this street that you will find the wonderfully inviting ‘Kathmandu Kitchen’.
We would be lying if we told you that when you enter the Kathmandu Kitchen it feels like you are in a little slice of Nepal. No it does not feel like that. What it does feel like is a small restaurant in Phnom Penh that provides some of the best Nepalese and Punjab food in the city. It also manages a rare feat in Cambodia; it somehow feels cosy. It is a warm and inviting place that makes you forget about everything around you and just focus on what is really important in life- THE FOOD.
You will be greeted by the most lovely smiling faces when you first arrive at the Kathmandu Kitchen. They will not try to entice you into the restaurant. They will stand there and respectfully let you decide if you wish to dine with them that night. Once you decide that you will (as you should) have a delicious dinner in this charming establishment, then the staff will make you feel right at home. The genuinely friendly waiting staff will profusely apologise if your drinking water ever slips below their acceptable levels of quantity. No matter what you order, you will be treated to some free popadom style nibbles with an abundance of garnishes and sauces to experiment with before your main meal arrives. This is not an expensive restaurant, it is very reasonably priced, especially for the quality of food you receive. Yet the warm response you will receive from the staff in addition to the complementary water and appetisers are the factors that would bring me back here, even if I was not in love with the food.
Now I have made the mistake of writing this before I have had lunch and have already started fantasising over the food. We started with some tandoori fish. It was incredibly tender and as much you try to relish every mouthful, it is not possible as you will not resist the urge to shovel another delicious piece into your mouth before you swallow the last.
Two curries, one lemon rice and one naan should be just a little more food than what two can handle- so do that and take any left back home with you! The lemon rice is subtle but refreshing. The Paneer naan is definitely something that is different and delicious in equal measures. It is particularly filling however, so maybe go for garlic if you don’t fancy being a hero that night.
The yellow Dal is a perfect side curry. A little spice and although one of the tastiest Dal’s you can have, it does not have an overpowering taste which would contrast with another dish that you may be sharing.
Just make sure that when you go to The Kathmandu Kitchen you try the house favourite- Jalfrezi. It is only listed as a chicken dish on the menu but if you ask, they will make the most mouthwatering prawn version. The sauce on its own deserves time to be appreciated. The first drop that you taste resting atop of your garlic naan will be a moment of complete pleasure. The prawns were prepared incredibly well and I would imagine the chicken would be of a similar high quality.
Finally, the complementary gulab jamun arrives. The perfect end to a fantastic meal that will defeat and satisfy you on a deep level. The ambience of the place is so welcoming that you may find yourself just sitting for 40 mins after your meal, having you water topped up and reflecting on the feast that you just experienced.
Two delicious curries, a naan and a rice will set you back between $12-$14.