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Ethnic restaurants generally fall into two categories: the first kind serve populist versions of X country's food, so far removed that they don't even resemble the original. The second serve authentic regional dishes that make customers feel they are actually eating the food of the place. As the cognoscenti will find, Yeti: The Himalayan Kitchen, is an outstanding example of the latter.
Located in a quiet corner of Hauz Khas village, the restaurant's exterior gives no hint of the pleasures within. It's only upon entering the first-floor eatery that one is instantly transported to an idyllic cafê high up in the Himalayas. The place is filled with Tibetan prayer flags, Nepali objets d'art and welcoming service staff dressed in traditional Nepalese and Tibetan attire. Patrons can choose to sit either on conventional Western tables or traditional divan-like arrangements.
The menu, written on parchment style paper, consists of an eclectic mixture of Nepali, Tibetan and Khasi dishes. The dishes themselves sounded so musical, that we couldn't wait to see their culinary translations. After much contemplation, we decided to go with aloo sadeko (sautêed potatoes cooked with Nepali spices), shapta (thin slices of buff sautêed with onions and garlic), mutton momos, and Tibetan style fried pork. While we waited for our food to arrive, the surrealistic, hymnal music led us into a golden reverie (though we're sure the beer played its part).
They say that the quality of a meal is determined by the amount of conversation, meaning the less you speak, the better the food. Our meal at Yeti was the quietest we've had the pleasure of having in a long time. The only sounds audible were slow, appreciative chewing noises, the swigging of beer, and dreamy hill chants in the background. The food was perfectly seasoned, with just the right amount of spice and tang to tweak the taste buds of the average Delhiwallah. The momos require a special mention: they are possibly the best in the city, even surpassing the ones in Chanakyapuri. In a surprisingly short period of time we saw our plates were polished clean. Was it a dream? Our contented bellies assured us that it was very real.
Yeti, 50 A, Second floor, Hauz Khas village (011 4102-7746 ). Daily 11am to 11. 30pm. Meal for two approx Rs 600.
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