There’s a new café in town with all the classic coffee options, plus original fresh-tasting food, and it›s centrally located in Durbar Marg.
Does Kathmandu have enough coffee shops? Or are you of the opinion, as I am, that you can never have too much of such a good thing? Last week, I found myself in Durbar Marg, hunting down one of the newest cafés in town - Coffee Pasal. To get there, we walked down a narrow hallway, turned corners, climbed flights of stairs, and passed ongoing construction, and just as my expectations were starting to be lowered, we reached an inconspicuous door that opened up to a large, airy room. Unlike the crowded nook that the name conjures up, Coffee Pasal is spacious and modern, with high ceilings, good décor, and large windows overlooking the bustle of Durbarmarg below. The atmosphere immediately makes you want to sit and chill out.
Coffee Pasal is the brainchild of Ramesh Shrestha, Managing Director and barista, and Buddha Shrestha, Executive Chef. Both Australia returnees, they aim to contribute to Nepal’s burgeoning coffee culture, while also serving quality, western-style food. “We would like to be a little different,” they say.
Ramesh Shrestha worked as an accountant here before moving to Kuwait and then to Australia. While in Kuwait he trained as a barista, a skill that he honed further at a coffee shop in Melbourne for five years. “I had some amazing reactions to my coffee while I was there,” says Ramesh. “An Italian man once told me I’d made him the best cup of coffee he’d ever had, and a woman once sent me a letter to thank me for the coffee and told me that I’d made her day.” Eventually, his boss asked him if he’d like to go into business as a partner. The proposal was an eye opener for Ramesh. “When he said that, it made me think: if he believes in me and thinks I can do this, why shouldn’t I try it in Nepal? Others might believe in me too.”
And the coffee is, indeed, good—there’s espresso, cappuccino, mocha, iced coffee, and everything else you’ve come to expect from a good coffee shop. Rather than depend on imported coffee brands, Coffee Pasal has chosen to use Nepal’s homegrown beans.
If you’re planning on a visit, bring your appetite along because this pasal isn’t just about cups of joe. Coffee Pasal boasts a full menu with a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. I would highly recommend the New York style burger, a towering 5½ inches of juicy goodness, which came with a generous serving of coleslaw and chips. I also loved the surprise addition of beetroot slices; they really added to the taste and punch of flavors.
The breakfast menu has so many options you’ll be spoiled for choice—the Eggs Benedict was lovely and lemony, served with a thick slice of local ham on house-made English muffins. There are also pancakes, French toast, omelets and other classic breakfast choices.
The English muffins, as with all the bread items served, are made in-house, and will be available for sale, along with other bakery items. These include ciabatta, brioche, multigrain bread, pastries, and more.
The bakery is part of the eatery’s Mini Mart, a small shopping area at the front of the store. Here, a selection of carefully curated items can be bought, products both local and imported, many with an Italian theme: pasta, Arborio rice, tomato sauce, varieties of cheese, etc. A majority of the items on the menu and the store are locally sourced from vendors who also sell at the 1905 Farmer’s Market. This means that everything is fresh. A unique item is the coffee honey, produced especially for Coffee Pasal.
Other menu favourites include the fish saltimbocca, which is a bacon wrapped fish fillet, wild mushroom risotto, Moroccan lamb salad, and one of the house specials, the Aussie style bush steak. The menu is mostly western food, with both classic and innovative dishes included.
In addition to the main coffee shop area, there’s also a smaller conference room that can be used for business and staff meetings. The room has an AC and a private bathroom, with all the basic office supplies provided, making it ideal for people requiring a quiet and confidential professional space; an office away from the office, and with much better coffee!
Speaking of the beverage once again, within the next few weeks, the place will be launching a new treat for coffee lovers—a Chemex pitcher. This is a specially designed glass contraption for making pour-over coffee, which, aficionados believe, produces a truly superior brew. As a coffee lover, this is something I’ve always wanted to experience since they are not widely available. I really want to know whether it’s worth the hype.
I’d definitely recommend Coffee Pasal: it’s off to a good start and I think it will only get better.