Thamel is home to some of the finest restaurants in Nepal. There are a lot of eateries that serve different varieties of dishes and leaving a mark behind in this grand plethora of delicacies is difficult to say the least. And then you have Melrose Restaurant and Bar. Opened in September 2018, Melrose has racked up quite the reviews and accolades from diners.
Pemba Sherpa, Shanks Gurung, and Tshering Wangel Ghale own Melrose Restaurant and Bar. As long time friends, the three visited a site in Amrit Marg for a different project in May last year. And that is when they chanced upon Kilroy’s. The plot, in their entrepreneurial minds, could encompass all aspects of the 4 Ps (Place, Positioning/Promotion, Price, and Product) of the business marketing mix. They could work on the product, pricing and promotion but, in location, it was most ideal for a restaurant.
“We instantly came up with a rustic, casual and, courtyard vision for the restaurant and dropped our original project in favor of this,” explains Ghale. The owners collectively decided to name their restaurant Melrose Restaurant and Bar. The name itself is a nod to Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. The Avenue is famous for its lively bars and restaurants, and so in their attempts to replicate the atmosphere here in Nepal the trio chose to call their restaurant Melrose as well.
The intent was never to serve just foreign food. By bearing in mind various factors and to accommodate to the ever evolving preferences of the people the menu was decided. “We aimed to ensure our menu was diverse in not just flavor profiles (Western, Pan Asian, Italian) but also a mix of offerings (small plates, platters, sandwiches, entrees) so that we could give our guests (tourists, expats or locals alike) the best value for the price they were paying,” says Ghale.
The menu was designed to complement the al fresco design of the restaurant. The goal was always to keep things simple, with the decor and the food. “Rather than force flavors into our dishes we wanted our ingredients to do the talking and do this with consistency,” explains Ghale. Getting good quality ingredients has thus been the greatest priority. They import certain spices but the majority of their ingredients are locally purchased.
The menu was kept concise right from the beginning. “We selected items that were either popular or something that would be great on our menu as per our style but not available at most restaurants. We featured select items as Chef’s Specials for the week/month and added the popular and successful items to our menu,” informs Ghale.
The feedback so far has been great but the owners confess that you can’t possibly appease everyone. “We take the criticisms that come our way with a pinch of salt. We are a little on the pricier side but we haven’t compromised on the quality in any aspect,” says Madan Lamichhane, manager of Melrose Restaurant and Bar.
The restaurant also has a beer garden terrace and this is still a people’s favorite during the day. The management is currently considering an open pizza oven and bar to add to their menu along with several selections of draught beers. They are also planning to furnish the shaded space to serve as an extended dining room that can be utilized for events, meetings, and large group parties.
A brilliant find, a reviewer on TripAdvisor wrote of Melrose Restaurant and Bar and we heartily agree!
Price: Rs 650
Cosmo Bites is number three taken seriously. You get crispy fried prawns, cheese balls and chicken rangoon in sets of three here. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t doubt of Melrose, it’s the dexterity and skills of their chefs. The first bite into any of the three items in this dish gives you a very satisfying crunch. The crust is, like we mentioned, crunchy and then you break into a warm envelope of soft meat. The experience in its entirety is wondrous.
Price: Rs 650
A Mezze is a staple Middle Eastern appetizer. And at Melrose they do justice to the original flavors of the magnificence that is Middle Eastern food. This dish comprises of hummus, tzatziki that was sublimely fresh, baba ganoush (mashed eggplants), falafel (the star one may argue), marinated olives, pita bread, and grissini. The purpose of the dish is delivered in the harmony of the individual dishes. The grissini was a smart addition to the otherwise crunch-less nature of this platter. However, if you like your food to be on the spicy side the Mezze may not be for you.
Price: Rs 390
The freshness of the ingredients is what hits you right from the start. You get fresh greens with small pieces of crunchy apples, juicy grapes, the slight emami from the goat cheese, the crunch of the caramelized walnuts and java dressing. This is a dish that taps into all the sections of your taste buds, there’s the slight tart of the fruit and a hint of sweet from the walnuts. All in all, it’s just perfect.
Grilled Pork Lettuce Wrap
Price: Rs 750
The good thing about the main courses here is their generous portions. To a meat lover, specifically a pork lover, this should be the go-to dish. There’s a noticeable lack of fat in the pork but the meat is packed with the all the right juices. You get an assortment of pickled vegetable and iceberg lettuce leaves and some hoisin sauce to make your own wrap. The crunch of the lettuce, the tenderness of the meat, and the sweetly pickled vegetables make this dish simply delightful.
Price: Rs 650
A little spicy, a little sweet, that’s what best describes this dish. Inspired by the Chinese Kung Pao chicken, Cashew Chicken doesn’t have the bearings of Chinese food but the hints are there. Roasted cashews, bite sized vegetables, and the soft pieces of chicken go quite nicely with the bowl of rice it is served with. Remember to ask them to spice up the dish a little more if you don’t like your meals sweet.
Surf and Turf
Price: Rs 775
Surf and Turf is basically serving two varieties of meat, one from the land and the other from the sea. At Melrose, the surf is the prawns and the turf is the beef. The beef is tender and succulent. The prawns are chewy and cooked just right. There was a slight tartness to the meat, all thanks to the teriyaki sauce. This dish was well complemented by the rice it was served with. It reminds you of Asian flavors but also flavors you can’t put a name to.
Price: Rs 1175
This dish wasn’t about a whole array of seasonings giving the fish an original flavor. It was about preserving and glorifying the natural flavors of the salmon. Sure, you get well-seasoned vegetables and fried rice on the side that are really good but the focus here is the salmon. The portion is generous and it’s lightly seasoned. The result is the salmon shining through and through. And the fried rice is quite unforgettable too.
Price: Rs 200
You can’t really go wrong with tiramisu and they don’t do wrong by it here either. The custard is creamy so dipping your spoon into it is an adventure in itself especially considering the number of layers you are breaking into. And somewhere as you make your way from the mousse to the bottom layers you’ll find for yourself some hints rum.
Good for the winters.
Apple Pie served with Vanilla Ice Cream
Price: Rs 300
The crust was crumbly, exactly how you want your pies to be. You won’t really find a great many chunks of apple but that’s okay. The flavor is in the flaky crust and the delightful aroma of cinnamon. Topped with vanilla ice cream, this apple pie is how you conclude a glorious night of brilliant food.