After a demanding day at work, I decided to reward myself with good food. So I escaped the claustrophobia of my biscuit-colored office and fought the rains to Red Dingo for a late lunch last Thursday.

I got off and walked around to spot a spot for myself – and there it was across the door, a small verandah with wrought iron table overlooking manicured tropical vegetation. As I settled in on the orange (not red, wink) cushion, the service staff placed the menu along with a wine bottle on the table. Thank God I read GQ – we didn’t need to exchange looks askance – it was just water.

I took off with the Rice Paper Rolls – bundles of freshness – Vermicelli, Chicken Shreds, Salad Vegetables and mint rolled in soaked rice papers. They are white on the outside, subtly colored on the inside, taste neutral and don’t kill the appetite. Rice Paper Rolls are my mom’s culinary inheritance… she grew up in Myanmar.

5 Ws

Where’s it located?

Kumaripati, they have named the lane after them
What to wear?
almost anything
Why drop in?
Light good food – I recommend the salads
When to visit?
Early lunch to dinner
How much to carry?
A lunch for two comes at Rs.3,000, taxes included.

My next order – Seasonal Fruit and Nut Salad. Oblong slices of ripe pear and whole pistachio nuts wrapped in greens, topped with pomegranate seeds and tossed in a sweet-sour-salty sauce that gives a hint of sesame, sealed the deal for the second round of my appetizer. The pistachio nuts are a turn on – don’t ask me their medicinal value though. The sauce leaves a lingering after-taste of something roasted and ground.

I didn’t expect myself to go for a heavy main course after the starters, so I settled for the Chicken Meat Pie without the mashed potatoes. Before I actually dug into the pie, I took a bite into the fries. After a recent round of misadventures with fries, I had concluded that no one in Kathmandu made good fries. I realized I was right – the ones who made good fries were in Lalitpur.

An incision into the palm-size pie and the hot air that emanated made for the most rewarding olfactory experience of the week for me. The air around the table was rendered subtle with the smell of butter, dried rosemary and sesame. Mini-cubes of chicken, potatoes, carrots and green peas made a sumptuous filling. In all, the pie kind of is a savory alternative to the Apple Pie, albeit covered on the top.

A long glass of Hot Chocolate zipped up my lunch. I don’t know if it was because of the mercury, the not-thick drink gave me nice company as I enjoyed the drizzle.

My Verdict
Talk about any food here, the presentation is a treat to the eyes as is the taste to the palate. Portioning is balanced and the selection of cutlery is well thought of. The service staff asks you the right questions and provides the right answers only. Whoever’s idea it was to fill the bath tub with soil and grow plants on it, they did the most creative thing that could be done to an ancient vessel of cemented mosaic chips. From the restroom to the tropical plantations, every corner at Red Dingo has an essence of the whole.  !

Furnishings   Diverse – from wooden tables to soft couches
Ambience   Squeaky clean, well-lit and refreshing
Cutlery   Beautiful – the silverware could be more ergonomic
Service   Unpretentious simple guys who love their jobs
Restroom   and I thought only hotels were boutique
My rating   They deserve it