When Nakul Sherchan returned to Nepal after living in Japan for 14 years, he had a clear vision of what he wanted. He dreamt of setting up a restaurant that was family-oriented and child-friendly and when he stumbled upon the site that previously housed Le Restaurant in Gairidhara, he knew his dreams were about to come true.
Alice Restaurant opened a couple of months ago, but word of mouth and good quality food are already luring new customers and making patrons return for their second and third bites. Sherchan could not have chosen a more ideal location because the Naxal-Gairidhara stretch desperately needs eateries which cater to a more diverse palate than sekuwa, taas and momo.
Alice offers Chinese, Continental, Thakali and Japanese cuisines. Thakali because the proprietors are Thakalis, Japanese because Sherchan worked at and owned restaurants in Japan and knows the dishes, and Chinese and Continental, because, as the owner put it very pragmatically, he found excellent chefs.
The Kappa Maki (Rs 220) was adequate and the miso soup accompanying it was delightful. We also ordered the Saba Siyo Yaki (Rs 285), grilled fish with tofu and sweet radish. The strong smoked flavour of the fish lifted the entire dish to beyond ordinary. But my favourite was the Okra Salad (Rs 135), one of the simplest dishes made of slices of steamed and cooled okra with wasabi and soya sauce. Okra aka the humble lady's fingers- the veggie that most of us detested as children for its unforgiving sliminess- managed to pleasantly surprise me.
The interiors merge and flow with the greenery and give a feeling of openness. The bar is well-stocked, the staff obliging and prices very reasonable. The wasabi hits the spot, the coffee is well-brewed and there are many dishes I still need to try. In addition to these great features, Alice is comforting and comfortable. I love its serenity and understated charm. Although it's very new, I hope the Sherchans maintain its quality and ethos.