Getting it just right

Published On: March 6, 2020 11:25 AM NPT By: KUMUDINI PANT

Restaurants don’t just bank on food. Alongside a good meal, there is the question of ambience, service and being able to provide an overall pleasant experience. In that case, Fudo Café is one that doesn’t disappoint. Located in Baluwatar, the building is at the turn of Pavitra Workshop Chowk. The café is on the first and second floor of the building. 

The place is divided into five sections. Two comfortable rooms, an open smoking zone, a semi-open zone and, on the second floor, a large, enclosed seating space with the bar. Despite each area having its specific purpose, all areas are cozy and designed keeping maximum comfort in mind. The owners wanted the space to exude a Japanese feel and they’ve successfully managed to accomplish that with minimalist furniture and décor. The sofa seats are comfortable and kept neat and clean, making you want to lounge around just a little bit longer. There are heaters and air conditioner available according to need. 

And the service is impeccable. For a restaurant that serves freshly cooked meals, the time duration between placing an order and food arriving on your table is just 25-35 minutes, which is pretty impressive. Fudo Café serves Chinese, Indian and Nepali food. However, their main specialty is Japanese cuisines. 

The eatery is run by Lal Bahadur Lama who is also the head chef there. Lama has been in the hospitality business in Nepal for eight years. He stayed in Japan for long and that has made him a proficient cook of continental cuisines. With remarkable team members by his side, Fudo Café serves nothing but exceptional dishes, each with its own signature taste and a subtle twist.

Blue Angel 
Price: Rs 225 

The popular Blue Angel mocktail is made with mint leaves and lemon wedges mixed in soda, sugar syrup, lemon juice, and blue carcao. With crushed ice filling the drink to the brim, there’s a nice hue of blue fading to white from the bottom. With blue straws and a perfectly placed lemon slice at the top, the tall glass looked nothing short of perfect. According to Lama, people really enjoy having Blue Angel with non-veg snacks. And I could understand why—the sour sweetness of the drink complemented the dishes I was served perfectly.

Finger Chicken  
Price: Rs 625 

Cut lengthwise into long pieces and dipped in breadcrumbs before being deep-fried, the Finger Chicken was served with a tiny plate of ketchup and a small scoop of mustard in one corner of a square plate. There was also a serving of salad with grated cabbage, a lettuce leaf and slices of cucumbers and carrots. The mayo on top is mixed with Siracha sauce to give a hint of spiciness to the dish.  The chicken inside is soft and tender while the breadcrumbs outside give it a perfect crunch with every bite. If you’re looking for more flavors, the mustard on the side is a perfect blend of sour and spicy. As the Finger Chicken is served warm and fresh, you can actually see steam rising off of the dish with every bite. 

Chicken Tikka   
Price: Rs 450

The biggest issue I usually have with Chicken Tikka is how the naan becomes chewy and tough to bite into after it gets cold. This version of chicken tikka didn’t have that issue. Even though it was served and tasted at last, the chicken pieces still held all the spices and the naan remained soft until the end. 
The chicken tikka is made from scratch, marinated in spices and curd. Easily breakable and perfect with the mint chutney, the naan and meat combo came with a side of thinly-cut spiced salad. Balanced is the perfect word to describe this dish. You can never go wrong with chicken and naan combo and here, the salad on the side cleanses your palate while adding a nice crunch to the dish.

Prawn Tempura (Japanese Menu)  
Price: Rs 650 

Sushi has to be done right or the entire experience can be disappointing. So when I was served tempura rolled into sushi with a line of mayo and Siracha sauce mixture on top of each piece, I was hesitant. But I needn’t have worried.

The tempura was perfectly done, the sushi even more so. It looked fantastic on the plate with wasabi on one side and pickled ginger on the other. The pink mayo was a soft contrast to the white rice. Instead of bringing in soya sauce on the plate itself, they actually give you a small bottle of it. This way, you can choose the quantity of sauce you want with each piece.

What stood out the most was the taste. The mayo, rather than destroying the taste, enhanced it instead. The sushi was also covered with a thin layer of Tanuki that added a hint of crunch to the otherwise soft sushi. The sauce was well-balanced, salty and tied up the entire dish together. 

The tempura was served with a bowl of Japanese Meso Soup made from oil-free ingredients and homemade tofu. Among the colorful plates and array of flavors, this bowl of steaming liquid is a shot of warmth and inexplicable nostalgia. 

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