review by Sarah Ali Choudhury
Most people think that Nepalese food is very different compared to Indian food, but as an Indian food expert and as an ambassador for UK Nepal Friendship Society, part of that role is to provide an insight into the similarities of Indian and Nepali cuisine.
I, therefore, couldn’t wait to do my review for mags4dorset at 29029 restaurant in Wareham whose menu provides contemporary cuisine with a twist of Indian and Nepalese dishes.
Halima, my daughter accompanied me to 29029, which had just opened for lunch so we could choose our table.
Luscious green forestry behind the restaurant gives it a natural feel and the décor is fresh and modern with soft lighting and a warm ambiance.
The 100-seater restaurant offers both a buffet and à la carte menu so if you’re really hungry, you don’t even have to wait for your order to be cooked.
Khim Lal Kharel – the executive chef, has worked in luxury hotel groups especially The Taj and Oberoi, which include locations across India, Dubai and Nepal and some of London’s most prestigious Indian restaurants. He has created his own menu to take Indian and Nepalese cuisine ‘beyond authenticity’ with an emphasis on refined, yet creative food.
Halima opted for the buffet but I wanted to try the more authentic Nepalese recipes. Medley of canapés to start promised a selection decided by the chef and for my main I chose the Gurkhali lamb accompanied with green pea and sweetcorn cake and some boiled, fragrant rice.
The buffet was a selected choice of authentic, traditional dishes including a chicken curry, vegetables, lentils, lamb curry, samosas, onion bhajis, fish pakoras. The aroma was simply mouth-watering.
I had a bite of Halima’s fish pakora, which was delicately spiced yet so full of flavour. The juicy white flesh of fish confirmed the quality of the produce being used.
My food arrived and the presentation of the canapés was outstanding. A huge plate decorated with henna style designs with a momo – a Nepalese steamed dumpling filled with minced lamb and spices, spring onion, ginger and soya and with a sesame seed chutney. There was also a mini Nepali cheesecake (nothing like the dessert) with potato, sesame seeds, cheese, fennel and mustard seeds; king prawn in panko tempura style batter with a yellow sauce binding turmeric with mayonnaise, and some fresh fruit combined with paneer – an Indian style cottage cheese.
The momo was certainly breathtaking and as I asked how they managed to perfect it, I was informed that the owner’s wife is a momo specialist. That explained it! Halima enjoyed the taster plate too.
As the waft of Nepali spices filled the air, my Gurkhali dish was placed in front of me along with the rest of my order.
The Gurkhali is probably the most authentic dish on the menu cooked with Nepalese herbs, yoghurt and chillies. Served with a sprinkle of red onion and crisp fried potato shards with salad as a garnish, it truly was full of flavour, slightly sweet but hot and spicy making it very moreish.
The green pea and sweetcorn cake was exactly that – filled triangle patties wrapped with filo pastry and served on a bed of cauliflower and potato mash with a cucumber and yoghurt dressing, a rocket with mango salad with a tamarind glaze and a crispy parsnip garnish. It looked heavenly, almost too good to eat.
When Halima and I thought we had been beaten by the food, we realised there was still a tiny gap left, so shared a gulabjam dessert served warm with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream.
By the time we left, the buffet area was filled with a queue of customers and there were lots of people enjoying lunch with their families.
To sum up: 29029 in Wareham is where diners can enjoy a variety of dishes from an extensive mouth-watering menu which remains true to classic Indian and Nepalese recipes.
The food is cooked fresh on the premises using the finest local produce, fresh ingredients and spices offering diners a balanced, flavoursome, and delicious taste to remember.
The menu incorporates both traditional classic favourites and original new dishes with eastern flavours and a western twist, which we know as ‘contemporary’.
It is definitely worth a trip over to Wareham to try a real taste of Nepal. And just in case you didn’t realise, 29029 is the height of Mount Everest (in feet).