We bet you’ve driven past Annapurna hundreds of times and never even realised it was there. It might be squeezed into a bleak stretch of Parramatta Road but this Nepalese restaurant is no secret to the Nepalese community who have it on speed dial for takeaway and catering. That would explain why most of the time the dining room looks half empty, but don’t let that deter you from eating in. The food here is worth the trek, and sharing the dining room with only one other Nepalese family means you can relish a good cheap feed with quiet conversation.
Nepalese cuisine might have a lighter touch in terms of spices and heat when compared to Indian, but there’s still a sense of rich and hearty satisfaction that comes through with its food. Start with Nepal’s most celebrated dish, momos – dumplings filled with either chicken or vegetables and pleated with precision. Make like a local and dunk them in spicy tomato chutney before elegantly shoving the entire thing in your mouth. Don’t believe us? Nepalese folks never bite a momo in half in case they lose any of the precious dumpling juices within.
Bring your vegetarian mates. They’ll weep for joy with the choice of 15 different entrees and mains. We’re talking aloo tama bodi, a sour and spicy soup with potato, black-eyed beans and fermented bamboo shoots; bara, a black lentil pancake; and bhatmas sadeko, crunchy deep-fried soybeans with a sinus-clearing hit of mustard oil.
Carnivores should seek out as many goat dishes as they can handle. The Bhutun Chura, served with crisp flattened rice flakes, is a dry fried jumble of spicy deliciousness. You’ll still be eating it even after you find out it’s a mix of goat liver and intestines. If that’s a bridge too far, get the goat curry with your thali, a mini banquet on a silver tray that includes rice, dahl, pickles and spinach. The goat is impressively tender.
You can motor your way through several Indian dishes on the menu, including a chicken biryani of soft and fragrant basmati rice layered with spices. And if you get a kick out of ordering things off the menu, ask if they have the thukpa, a comforting chicken and noodle soup commonly eaten in the Himalayas.