Everest Inn, Perth


Everest Inn

36 South Methven Street, Perth PH1 5NU

01738 622563  www.everestinnscotland.co.uk

Everest Awards

The Bill

Set Lunch (drink included)

Curry £10.95 | Thali £15.95

 A la carte

Starters  £5.00 - £8.45 | Mains £10.95 - £17.95

Desserts £6.00

The Score

Cooking  6.5/10 | Service 4/5

Flavour  4.5/5 | Value 5/5

TOTAL 19.5/25

Fine food can be found in simple spaces. Perth's Everest Inn is living proof. As interiors go, they don't come much plainer. But, far more importantly, the welcome is warm and even on a dreary November Wednesday the place feels right. The one other occupied table had a group who were obviously regulars and clearly enjoying their meal.

I was here to meet a former professional colleague, sometime Big Licensing Cheese round these parts. This was his recommendation, though he'd been only the once. Despite that, boss man recognised him and came to say hello. I wonder if he's always in as good a mood, but then if my restaurant had been voted Curry Restaurant of the Year last year, I'd be cheery too.

Look up Everest online and you will see it describing itself as a ... Himalayan eatery offering specialties from Nepal and India. I've eaten in Nepalese restaurants before but was never entirely sure how their food differentiated itself. Mind you, if you want to see fusion and cultural appropriation in action, look no further than the average Indian restaurant in Scotland, the majority of which are run by folk of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin. It is refreshing now to see places popping up specialising in the cuisine of particular regions of what is a vast subcontinent.

The Nepalese are a very proud people, so three cheers for majoring on their own food. So what makes it different? I put this question to our obliging waiter. (I forgot to get his name. Doh!) Broadly speaking the food is similar, with the same basic spices being used. Nepalese food is slightly lighter, with less use of ghee. They also eat a lot less bread (though here they will provide you with the full range if you want it).

And of course the menu includes a (short) section of Indian standards. Bhuna, Korma, Jalfrezi etc and of course the Glasgow-invented Tikka Masala. Well, you wouldn't go to a Don McLean concert and not have American Pie on the playlist, would you? But the longer part of the menu, headed Chef Signature Dishes, is more interesting, with a lot of unfamiliar names such as Malabar, Hariyali and Kukhura.

To the heart of Himalayas, I thought, until I did a little research. Malabar is a style of cooking from Kerala in south west India, and hariyali is a green chicken curry from the Punjab. But kukhura is authentic Nepalese. Hooray! It just means chicken. Time to forget the linguistics and head to the food.

It is a prerequisite of a Tom Eats! meal that diners order different dishes and are prepared to share. On his maiden appearance BLC fitted in immaculately. There is seldom much to excite the imagination in a starters list in Indian restaurants. But the senses - they're different. Onion bhajis were several cuts above the norm, served with a terrific and tangy tamarind chutney. The King Prawn Puri also grabbed attention, a good sauce and, wonder of wonders, large prawns which had both great texture and bags of flavour. The menu did specify Nepalese spices.  Hold that thought.

They also featured in a Chicken Chilli Masala. There was an indefinable flavour which took me back to my last Nepalese tasting. I don't know what it is, but proof that they do more here than just emulate their southern neighbours. The dish was grand, but not my favourite. That award went to a Lamb Bhutuwa, another Nepalese classic with garlic and ginger and cardamom and other good things. Absolutely terrific.

Lots of reasons to return, and the last word about our man who looked after us so well. There is no service charge on the bill, so we told him to add the tip to the card reader. The technology failed, so we paid in cash. Bringing the change, he hadn't included the tip as an apology. I hasten to add that, using best legal forcefulness, we made sure he took it.

Simple surroundings, fine people, very fine food.

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