PICS: RUBY TUESDAY
First off, the food is all Spanish. There is no momo or chow mein anywhere on the menu and this alone got me excited. Living in Kathmandu is a gustatory delight with more and more restaurants not shying away from offering a variety of cuisines, which I see as a silent appreciation of the growing number of people who travel (channel surfing, trawling through food blogs and reading cook books for recreational purposes also count) and want to experiment with more than just the regular dal bhat, hamburger, sizzler et al.
No self respecting Spanish restaurant could forego tapas and the Patatas Bomba (Rs 80) and Croquetas de Pollo (Rs 100) at El Mediterráneo are delightful. The Ensalada Mediterráneo (Rs 410) with goji berries, slivers of almond, tomatoes and luscious shrimps on a bed of lettuce, tossed in balsamic vinegar dressing is one I highly recommend.
However, the Seafood Paella (Rs 450), which the menu at El Mediterráneo very simplistically explains and I quote 'something like a biryani', was a big turn-off. Google images of seafood paella and compare it with the one on this page to see what I mean. A mush of under-cooked short-grain rice drowning in tomato sauce with nary a shrimp in sight is not what I was expecting. Closer investigation with my fork revealed bits of squid and octopus and other bits of seafood. Knowing how difficult it is to find good seafood in Kathmandu, I was willing to forgive the gaffe if it wasn't for the waiter who condescendingly told me, "Oh that's the way it's meant to be."
What was not okay, however, is the way we were treated. Many restaurants especially in busy tourist ghettos like Thamel and Pokhara's lakeside are guilty of ignoring locals in favour of foreigners. Although not welcome, such behaviour is still understandable, because the businesses in these areas rely largely on foreigners. But
El Mediterráneo is in Jhamsikhel, which is a favourite among Kathmanduites and expats alike. Besides, I paid for my meal, asked for no discounts and am always polite to the waiters.
Getting there: El Mediterráneo is in Jhamsikhel opposite Epic Mountain Bikes.