A pleasant ambience coalesced with a delectable cuisine epitomise the cafe's 40-year legacy.
--BY SARTHAK RAJ BARAL
There is a synchronicity to the nomenclature at Hotel Shangri-La, Kathmandu. The mythical land of Shangri-La, as outlined by author James Hilton in his seminal novel ‘Lost Horizon,’ is a proverbial heaven on Earth, an untarnished utopia nestled in the cold embrace of the Himalayas. It is feasible that Hilton based his fictional Eden on Shambala, the legendary kingdom of Tibetan yore.
It is serendipitous then that in Hotel Shangri-La, Lazimpat, there is a garden called Shambala and on the fringes of that garden lays a restaurant named the Lost Horizon Cafe.The idyllic garden is instantly alluring; it embraces you with its warmth and serenity, a world far removed from that of its frigid namesake. Inside, the restaurant is embellished with an amalgamation of pristine marble and wood; the ambience of the multi-cuisine restaurant is cosy and inviting.
After sipping on a well-brewed Americano, the starters arrived. The Beetroot and Orange Salad with Balsamic Reduction served as a tangy palate cleanser. Served alongside it was a well-cooked Lamb Rack with Saffron Risotto; playing on the taste buds with its tender composition. The main course comprised of Mutton Biryani and Chicken Roulade, dishes disassociated by origin and cuisine, yet united in their propensity to entice the palate. Two delectable desserts followed suit, one of them a vibrant Red Velvet Cake and the other, a heavenly serving of Tiramisu, which merits added commendation for its delightful taste. Apart from the dishes mentioned above, which Chef Vikram Kumar prepared for us, Lost Horizon Cafe has a rich and multipurpose menu, encompassing various cuisines and gastronomic predilections: Italian - Pastas and Pizzas, Oriental – Roasted Duck and Mushrooms Bok Choy, Indian – Mutton Rogan Josh and Palak Paneer, Continental – Sirloin Steak and Lime Grill Fish. There is an extensive selection of flavours here, curated to satisfy a diverse clientele. Chef Kumar, who was appointed executive chef a little over two months ago, has amassed over 25 years' experience in the industry. After cutting his teeth in Bengaluru, India, Kumar ventured to Nepal in search of a new challenge. “It’s been good so far; I need to understand the palate of the customers here and perhaps make changes to the menu accordingly,” Kumar said.
Further, Kumar also plans to expand on the multi-cuisine aspect of the restaurant. “With time, I plan to make some changes to the menu and introduce Korean and Vietnamese cuisine. I also want to focus on creating health-conscious dishes,” he opines. While the dining experience imparted to customers at Lost Horizon Cafe is stellar, an experienced Chef such as Kumar is likely to further enhance and refine the menu, moulding it to his sensibilities. I look forward to returning to Lost Horizon Cafe, bathe in its quaint ambience, and indulge in its delicacies in a couple of months. I will be requesting two servings of Tiramisu the next time.