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Review: Gurkha Square, Chislehurst
IT WAS not altitude sickness I felt after eating mountains of food at this Nepalese restaurant, it was more the feeling of being stuffed like a Bengal tiger, but as content as a Buddha.
Gurkha Square in Green Lane, Chislehurst, has only been open a year. It keeps a low profile with a soft-brown, muted exterior that is a world away from the bold Traditional Fish and Chips next door.
The business has relied on word of mouth to pick up customers and is steadily gaining trade – its Wednesday £9.95 set-menu is popular and sets up a busy end of the week, while two nearby pubs regularly refer customers to give it a try.
This is not an Indian restaurant and manager James was keen to stress that, with a focus Nepalese food, this is not your average curry house.
Inside is not so much a temple as an example of understated elegance – clean white walls with vibrant abstract art and glorious vistas of Nepal and the Himalayas, dark wood tables, soft leather chairs and beautifully folded napkins.
The service was warm, polite and helpful – the waiters were more than happy to give us a hand choosing from the lengthy menu.
Gurkha Square prides itself on the quality of the food, which James tells me is less greasy, healthier and has cleaner flavour. I’m no nutritionist, but I can vouch for the other two.
The Lamb Momo (£3.95) to start is a collection of lamb dumplings, accompanied by spicy chutney.
These are apparently very popular in Nepal, and there couldn’t be a clearer example of how Chinese and Indian foods are fused to make the country’s own style of cuisine.
A satisfyingly meaty flavour is combined with soft, pasta-like dumpling while the chutney has a clean, almost refreshing flavour followed by an intense but not overbearing heat.
My girlfriend Laura’s prawn puri was another case of a little, well-used spice going a long way and the deep-fried flatbread was miraculously dry to the touch.
Never has chicken been so tender as it is in Gurkha Square’s mains. The Gurkha Special Malai Tikka (£6.75) is, as the name suggests, special. Coming out on a sizzling hotplate, the chicken marinated in cream, cheese, cardamom and chutney is delicately flavoured and the meat falls apart.
Laura’s Chicken Shashlick (£7.50) was more like you would expect to pick up in a curry house, but again the chicken was tender, with a great chicken tikka flavour.
The rice – we had mushroom and vegetable (£2.45 and £2.65) – was the only part of the meal which could be described as standard. It was fine, tasty, but ultimately not memorable.
A terrific Sag Aloo (£3.25), with thick, gloopy spinach more than made up for it.
Gurkha Square is still gathering it audience, but with food as good as this, it won’t be long until the queue build up every night of the week.
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