Everytime I climb endless stairs to a wooden door with an iron knob, I pray it’s worth the labor. And the first thing I do is peek in through the small glass opening on the door just to check if my spot has already been taken. Spread across the top floor of this really tall building without an elevator, Degaa is Bhumi Lounge Revisited. While a duller tone of the signature Maithili mud plaster exists, the organic paintings are absent. However, the Sal-tone furniture and off-white upholstery give a warmer tone to the interiors.     

5 Ws

Where’s it located?
Kumaripati, climb the stairs until
you hit a black door
What to wear?
Any code will do
Why drop in?
Newari and typical Nepali food
When to visit?
Late afternoons and evenings
How much to carry?
Two grands for two with beer,
taxes and discount

Call me a lucky thing for almost always, there is a bright smiley face greeting me as I enter. To the right is a bar with an LCD fixated between the spirits, and alongside are comfortable seating arrangements set cozily across the space. To the left as you enter, you spot a restroom for Gems and further left is another one for Dolls. My favorite spot is the one in the corner of the space wherefrom I can slide the window and breathe in some fresh air with a view of pigeons back home across the street.

The food menu kind of intimidates me everytime it makes an appearance but I play the safe bet by flipping through the first four pages only – Newari and Nepali fare. I have always had this affinity for Newari food, thanks to my mom’s friends with extraordinary skills and highly refined palates.

The ubiquitous Bara comes with a variety of options here. My pick is the Chicken Bara. Minced chicken spiced sparsely with ginger-garlic shreds and cumin powder with a generous dose of coriander leaver stuffed inside a cake of black lentils and served on a typical Nepali alloy plate with a warm sauce makes for a great starter. Served hot and lightly salted, the metallic taste of lentils mingled with ginger might not be quite a hit among many nut for me is the essence of this brilliant food.

The marinated mutton is tender and generously spiced with a heavy dose of timboor. The accompanying diced salad veggies come to use when you gobble up the luscious meaty stuff and are left teary-eyed. Another personal favorite of mine is the Buteko Kashiko Tauko – fried head of a goat. Sounds scary but don’t worry, the head is diced into bite-size pieces before it’s fried in boiling oil tempered with fenugreek seeds, spiced with coriander-cumin powder and served on a snack plate. The Fried Chicken is a departure from the regular batter clad chicken with bone that’s served around. Boneless chicken bits rendered yellow with turmeric and fried with onions and tomatoes arouse that village aroma. On occasions I’m not feeling too good, I go for plain boiled rice with Chicken soup and spinach.

Degaa is a tough place to do full justice to for it has probably the most extensive menu in the valley. However, the exhaustive list of Newari fare is a diner’s delight. The best part is you can treat your sensitive tract and expat friends to hygienic and authentic (both at the same time) Newari food without having to worry about an upset tummy. The small portions ensure you get to lay hands on a variety of foods without overstuffing your guts. !

Furnishings   Wooden combined with wrought iron - novel
Ambiencee   Warm and inviting
Cutlery   Varied and easy to use
Service   May be I am fortunate all the time
Restroom   Intelligent yet needs some more tending to
My rating   (and half a smile) Worth the climb, redundancy hits the score hard