When Shim shim happened – Doma di mentioned something big is coming up and that too at Middleton street where The Blue Poppy is already there. We discovered Blue Poppy just like that. Hard to place my finger on the exact date – perhaps from 2014. Quick Service, delicious food and few selected Nepali dishes has been the trademark of this place and although Thakali had opened erstwhile in Salt lake but for some dispute, it had to be shut down and now gets reopened as The Blue Poppy Thakali.
In 2014, on our visit to Nepal, we were privileged to taste some of the most authentic home cooked Nepali food at Komal’s place (our friend from Nepal), where we found the food to have a strong resemblance to Bengali cuisine. In addition to most of the home cooked meal, we also had food at local food joints where baje ko shekwa impressed us the most. Few interesting facts about Nepali cuisine are the use of mustard oil as a medium of cooking, use of spices like nigella seeds and methi extensively in their cooking, which is quite similar to Bengali cooking.
How to reach The Blue Poppy Thakali –
It’s within the same premises of The Blue Poppy in Middleton Row but in a different building. If you are going for the first time, the road in front of the Middleton chambers which connects to Camac Street, The Thakali Blue Poppy falls on the same road inside the Sikkim House premises. The stairs leading to Thakkali is bang opposite to Blue Poppy.
Address – Sikkim Commerce House, 4/1 Middleton Street .
As we walked inside The Blue Poppy Thakali
The restaurant is dvided into two parts. As you enter there is the normal 2, 4 or 6 seater arrangement and there is an option of sitting on the floor like the traditional Nepalese restaurants at the oher end. A lot of effort and money and planning has gone behind the interiors which has been designed and conceived by the Sachiko Seth (Chef and Doma di’s daughter) and Ambika Pradhan (they say she is the main person behind Thakali from menu planning to interiors each has her presence). Soothing colours with a half lying Buddha on one of the walls and hanging cane ceiling lamps with Nepali folk music at the background took me back to some of the memories of our Nepal Tour.
What to order ?
The menu has got The Blue Poppy classics and Nepali dishes too. There was a strong temptation to order from the The Blue Poppy classics but we left the decision making with Doma di. I was shameless enough to inform her about my hunger preference for the day. I was famished and wanted to taste as much Nepali food as possible. Ordering momos as a starter from Doma di’s outlet is a ritual and I never compromise on that. A plate of pork momos and chicken open momos (10 comes in one plate) set the mood for the afternoon. Dipjoy and Sakshi, our friends also joined us in between and we were set for a wonderful meal. Doma di recommended Chicken Choila and that was the surprise package for the beginning. Smoked to an extent burnt small chicken pieces, with chole or chick peas boiled and then slightly tossed with chopped onions and tomatoes. It was like a smoked chicken salsa. The momos moved on as hot cross buns on a Good Friday and the choila in between was a palate cleanser. When we were in Nepal, if there was one dish which we grew fond of, it was the aloo ko achar. So, definitely it had to be ordered. Small cubes of potatoes stir fried with sliced onions with a very complementing nutty flavour from white sesame seed paste was just the perfect accompaniment to the proteins on the table.
We ended up over stuffing ourselves as I still firmly believe I shouldn’t have let Doma di know that I am hungry. One more round of chicken momos made its appearance and disappeared as the Aloo ko Achar arrived with rice and Khasi ko Masu and Sungur ko Masu with Rai saag. Khasi ko Masu is the separated at birth twin of Mangshor jhol sans Aloo of Kolkata. Red, balanced spices and a smoothness in the gravy which keeps you wondering what are the spices used, only one time when Doma di did not entertain us when she kept the masalas a secret. Sungur ko Masu had a very thin layer of fat on the pork meat, the dish looked brown in colour and had greens in saag along with it. It had all the points of a hearty dish made lovingly for the family- very earthy and rustic, the sauce clinging to each portion of the meat and when mixed with the ghee bhaat was a savoury sensation. In the mean time, Doma di sent over a plate of Aloo cheese open momo and loved the cheese part of it and perhaps the best vegetarian momo I have ever had.
What did we miss out ?
We couldn’t try out many things which is kept for the next visit – Aloo Bori Tamba or a nepali staple with Bamboo Shoots, the Nepali Thali – which comes as an assortment of black dal, papad, salad, Aloo Dum, saag and an assortment of three Nepali pickles with choice of curry from Egg, chicken, mutton and pork.There should be always a next time and I save that for next time.
With age and experience, one of my true tests of a good meal and good food is how I feel after the meal till next 3 hours – this was sublime. Rather, within 45 mins the body showed no signs of a heavy over eating meal although the taste buds and the brain cells associated with it kept on reminiscing the dishes.
Recommended? Yes, the food is made from heart and with love. Got to taste a different cuisine with some similarity with Bengali cuisine and left wondering why they taste similar or perhaps not. It is the ideal case of Raga Miyan Malhar and Raga Bahar where one often gets confused with each other at times only to be dissected further to figure out the difference.
No I didnt use my camera for shooting the food and all the pictures were taken by One Plus mobile.