Climbing the north face of Ruckers Hill, one restaurant at a time
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Wild Yak - Tibetan Restarant/Cafe
As part of the deal, we'll not dwell on places we know and love (like the almost perfect Sigiri Sri Lankan restaurant a few doors up from the subject of this post) - this is about places new and unexplored previously by either the seahorse or the scrumpster.
Jolly wooden furniture, jolly colourful decor and generally jolly, for which we can only blame the sunny disposish of the Dalai Lama, whose jolly yet modest countenance beams from the walls, along with watercolour prayer wheels and all-seeing eyes. The smells, most Lamaesque, are cheerful but modest and the Yaksters themselves are mellow and smiling without being relentless.
We ordered the mega-banquet with a headcount of four, on the basis of two adults, one teen, one tween and a sprog. We took home two lots of endogmented, containerised dinner, which should give you an indication that generosity of spirit (*smiles and nods*) is met by generosity of servings.
Entree was a pile of tastes. Momo are little steamed beef dumplings, Tsel Momo Ngopa are fried vegetarian similars. Both OK; neither spectacular, but add the chili sauce and wow! A thin, fresh chili sauce with a pronounced high frequency heat and a shirtstorm of garlic - a new favourite, but to be fair, when it comes to chili sauce I am a total slut. Add a blandishment of potatoes with spring onions and a chewy chickpea thing (chewy in a nice way, he hastens to add) and all it requires to finish is a tender and hot stir fried beef thing (Sha Khatsa). I'm telling myself I must have imagined the calamari dish (which I imagined as very good - just tender enough and lots of fresh herbs) - Tibet does seem a long way from the sea.
Main courses were a very rich coconut milk chicken curry, luscious yet replete with green peas; a mild lamb curry; a wonderful dhal made with larger lentils; a (too) sweet mixed vegetable dish (Tsel Nyamo-Kyurmo), rice, a tofu dish, a chicken and bean thread noodle dish (lovely textures) and some damp, steamed architectural bread (Tingmo).
My expectations for dessert were not high, but were well exceeded. A small, moulded rice pudding with a slightly chewy texture and a few plump sultanas.
The adjective of choice for Wild Yak is "comforting". The richness of a Thai coconut milk curry without the heat; vegetable dishes sweetened with honey and modestly spiced; steamed bread that looks like the Sydney Opera House and tastes like, well, steamed bread. The occasional pungent dish (and a brilliant chili sauce for Momo) stands out, but overall this is friendly winter food. Going back on a cold, winter night in August is looking good.