Radisson's Olive Garden returnsOne of the first authentic Italian restaurants in Kathmandu reopens after four years with squisito changes
There is a special place for Italian cuisine the world over. Kathmandu is no exception. Pastas and pizzas have become as much of a household name as any Indian or Chinese dish.
One of the first few restaurants that introduced Mediterranean cuisine to the Nepali palate was Olive Garden at Hotel Radisson in Lazimpat at a time when the Italian food culture was yet to create a stir in the country.
Radisson opened Olive Garden in 1998, the same year it was also set up, making the restaurant only a second of its kind after Fire and Ice pizzeria to specialise in Italian cuisine in Nepal.
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Serving guests with an à la carte menu for over two decades, Olive Garden has now reopened after a four-year hiatus following the Covid-19 pandemic but with some delectable changes.
Located at the lobby level of Radisson Hotel’s main building, the restaurant now offers a five-course meal with a table d'hôte menu, a fixed menu opening exclusively for dinner time between 6-10:30PM.
“We have tailored the menu and timing targeting the family and married couples keeping in mind their work hours,” says Kedar Pandey, director of Food and Beverage at Radisson. “One doesn’t have to spend much time deciding what they want to eat. We have meticulously curated the menu for them.”
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The restaurant’s soft yellow glow makes for a cosy picture. A lighted candle on each table and a soft melody in the background sets the mood right for an intimate candlelight dinner, especially on a rainy evening.
The restaurant can seat 46 people and the management is planning to add a live piano solo to accompany the dining experience. There are two options for the table d'hôte menu. Within each course, there are additional 2-3 options offering both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies as per one's preferences.
Either of the two options of the full-course menu is available at a net total of Rs.4,500 per person. The same meal with a bottle of Italian wine is Rs11,000. A single Italian dish from the five-course meal can cost up to Rs2,500.
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Providing a five-course meal at that price, is not exorbitant by today's standards and is comparable to any other high-end restaurant in Kathmandu.
The full course is packed with elevated flavours: Zuppa soup Minestrone is rich tomato broth with zucchini and carrots. Topped with basil leaves, it was served with a basket of Italian bread.
For the Antipasti, there is ‘Gnocchi alla Sorrentina’ which hit all the right spots to whip up the taste buds. Gnocchi made of mashed potatoes, flour and eggs with cherry-like tomato toppings and garlic sauce had a base of green basil pesto sauce. Dip the gnocchi in both sauces for a burst of flavours.
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The ‘Spaghetti con Gamberi’ Is served with shrimp in red tomato sauce. The main course Secondi can be the ‘Parmigiana di Pollo’ -- breaded chicken topped with melted cheese and the grana padano layered over it. The dish is served with a base of tomato sauce with broccoli and carrots on the side.
Last but not least is the Classic Tiramisu for the Dolci dessert. After every dish with some form of tangy tomato sauce, this sweet and sour creamy dessert with a tinge of lemon was a fresh change to the palate -- just the right way to end one’s hearty meal.
Olive Garden sources its ingredients from Italy itself, and Executive Chef Gyanesh Dass has more than 25 years of experience in continental cuisine and says: “We have tweaked the dishes just right to serve the Nepali palate all while staying true to our Italian roots.”
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