Momo duel round two - Gurkha Cafe and Kailash Momo - Plumstead, London
I'll cover both of these in one post as we only got momo at Gurkha Cafe. The meal at Kailash Momo was much larger and it can be confirmed that the restaurant is authentically Tibetan. Not even Nepalese, actually Tibetan.
Food wise the momo at Gurkha Cafe had a considerably thicker and more dough-ey flavor and consistency than those found at De Namaste. The filling was meatier, but less juicy and overtly spiced than comparable momo at D'N. The momo soup here was by far the best that I had at any of the places sampled. Really tasty with a certain tartness that I keep encountering in Nepalese food and a richer more oily broth. Overall great, but the momo are different and I sort of prefer D'Namase on them. Overall winner on the soup though. The absolute best of the best for momo ko achar so far too (the sauce.)
We had a follow up meal at Kailash Momo which covered a wider range of dishes. Chicken momo were distinctly different with Chinese style half-moon dumpling casings. I have had this shape in New York, but this was the first time I encountered it here. The dough was more glutinous and the filling was exceptional. The meatiest, juiciest and most strongly spiced filling of any momo I've had here. Excellent and probably the best filling I've found yet. Salsa like momo ko achar.
Phaksha-Chura came as a stew of pork belly which was flavored with an undertone of blue cheese. The cheese flavor as subtle and it largely pierced through an otherwise spicy broth. Generous amounts of potatoes and luscious chunks of thick cut pork belly. Good dish. I'd get it again.
The chicken shabhalay came two to a portion. Be careful diving into these. I remember letting mine sit for ages only to still burn myself when I bit it. Delicious chicken momo like filling though drier. Very good pastry and filling, but not really like a Uighur samsa.
Finally we got a fried bread which was well made, freshly fried and basically like an Indian puri.
The meal was finished with nicely made Tibetan butter tea, though I had to add salt (but that's my preference anyway. I always want Tibetan butter tea to be Uighur butter tea.)
Pictured are the phaksha-chura, the fried bread, the momo at both places, the soup at the first one, The first few pics are from Kailash while the last two are from Gurkha Cafe.
I just had a follow up meal at Kailash Momo. Highlights were definitely their mutton sukuwa and the thenthug. The former consists of slowly fried chunks of lamb and it was similar in form to the taas found at D'Namaste. Some pieces were very tender, but others had a bit more chew. Nice taste though which was enhanced by a largely hing-based dipping powder.
Thenthug had a rich broth with a notable fat content. Oily, but tasty with a hint of both chicken and pork. Nice home made noodle sheets and excellent broth. The meat was inferior to what you would get at D'Namaste (where they fry everything crispy before adding it to the soup.) The broth was less strongly spiced (in terms of spices rather than just chili) than a thukpa broth, but the amount of chili present was generous. For another Uighur comparison using this place, the soup was very similar to Uighur suo mien soup with the little 50p coin size noodle pieces.
Unfortunately no, the portion was much smaller and the meat was definitely not skewered, but the slow frying applied to it did render an interesting effect. Some pieces were a bit dry and tough, but the majority were perfectly tender while maintaining an extreme crispness on the exterior (particularly when one considers that no breading or coating is involved at all.)
The online menu at Kailash Momo is very different from the in restaurant one. Prices, dishes, etc have all changed and the restaurant doesn't seem to generally have everything on there (I had to re-order twice because of dishes being out, but it was New Years' Day so I don't know how normal that is.)
In other news I am really getting into Gurkha Cafe. The momo are just a tiny bit inferior to D'Namaste and Kailash Momo, but I cannot begin to describe just how much better the soup and sauce is. Their momo sauce is incredible and the soup is so much better than everywhere else that it's like a different dish. I just had a great snack at Gurkha Cafe complete with really good homemade masala chai. Chunks of clearly hand ground cardamon and all. As an additional plus, the auntie who does most of the cooking at Gurkha Cafe is absolutely adorable and will randomly stroll out of the kitchen, Namaste you and your companion and then disappear.
Thanks for this. I'm really looking forward to heading back, I haven't yet tried some of the dishes you mention. I'm looking at a menu now - I don't know if they have updated it, but couldn't see the dishes you mentioned above (sukuwa / thengthug)- or not by those names at least. Were these on the regular menu?
Sorry if I got your hopes up by saying shabalay are slightly reminiscent of samsa!
Very different in temrs of taste of course... but as quick throwaway descriptions for a very juicy meat filling in a pastry parcel go, It was that or call it a tibetan pasty. Probably a bit misleading.
Glad you enjoyed it anyway.