Looking up at the pointed roof and red eave, you may wonder if you have come to a monastery in Kathmandu, but the building with this special design is Hotel Shambala, a Tibetan-themed boutique hotel in Kathmandu offering modern amenities with traditional Nepalese hospitality.

The restaurant of Hotel Shanbala is also designed in Tibetan style. Two delicately carved wooden chairs are placed right at the entrance, and behind them is a wall with auspicious clouds painting, displaying an exotic atmosphere that you can’t see in any other Nepali restaurant. Decorated with wooden tables and chairs and timber floors, the natural brown color creates a cozy but upscale ambience, which is suitable for a business lunch meeting or a fine dinner with friends and family.

I chose a seat near the French windows, from where I could see a little garden outside. In the monsoon season, the exploration for a quiet place to escape from the heavy rain to enjoy a delicious meal in this bustling city is a most pleasant activity. Hotel Shambala definitely met my expectation of the secret base I was searching for. The little garden outside the window blocks the noisy sound and dust, so I could hear the rain rapidly knocking on the bluestone pavers. To the beautiful sound of rain, I ordered myself a cup of hot coffee and waited for my meal.

Khim Bahadur is the executive chef of Hotel Shambala; he has worked as a chef for nearly 17 years. Due to his work experience in different parts of the world, Khim has rich skills in cooking various types of cuisines, including Nepali, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Middle East, and occidental. Maybe because coming back to the motherland and devoting themselves to their own country after studying and gaining knowledge is rooted in every Nepali’s mind, Khim decided to come back to Nepal and started working in Hotel Shambala two months ago. Surprised by his great talent in cooking so many cuisines, I was curious and excited about how the food would taste.

About fifteen minutes later, the first dish, Dizon Mustard Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, was served with Iced Mint Lemon Juice. The chickens were well-cooked in Dizon mustard (a French sauce) and had a mouth-watering and appealing look, with exquisite decoration of cucumbers and carrots. The taste seemed familiar to me, but when it combined with the salad dressing, it gave my tongue a totally new experience. The salad dressing perfectly matched the Dizon mustard, adding a stronger and richer taste to the chicken, while the sour and fresh lemon juice helped to balance the taste.

The second course was Pork Chop with Sautéed Spinach. Nicely placed with mashed potatoes and roasted tomato, the chops were well seasoned, and the black pepper sauce gave them a special "pop" of flavor. I thought the perfect drink for this dish would be red wine. A full and rounded mouthful of wine can go well with the intensive black pepper sauce.

Because of his working experience in so many countries, chef Khim can make good use of every cuisine’s advantage. These two dishes didn’t disappoint my great expectation and surprised me constantly through the tasting process, because I could always find something new and unique. In the coming month, Hotel Shambala will release a new menu, which will include these two dishes, and also various cuisine sections like Chinese and Middle East cuisine. If you get tired of what you eat every day, go Hotel Shambala, and you will definitely