Authentic Nepali:In Conversation with Riku Pradhan

Features Issue 109 Nov, 2010
Text by Neha Lohia

Riku Pradhan is a hotel management graduate from the Indian Institute of Business Management, Patna, India. He started his career as a manager of the very famous Bhanchha Ghar restaurant in the year 1997. In June 2004, he opened the ‘Nepali Chulo’ Restaurant in Durbar Marg and soon afterwards in the year 2006 he opened an Indian restaurant called ‘Tehzeeb’, also at Durbar Marg.

Today, he is the Executive Director of ‘Utsav’, which specializes in authentic Nepali food. The restaurant, which is just a year old, is housed in a part of the very old Rana Palace at Lal Durbar, in Durbar Marg.

We asked Riku Pradhan on his views about Nepali cuisine and his latest venture ‘Utsav’. This is what he had to say-

Tell us a little about Nepali cuisine.
Nepali food is not only about ‘Dal – Bhat’ but many other aspects which are yet to be explored and tasted. There are various signature cuisines hailing from the different ethnic communities of Nepal. For example, Newari cuisine is vast but one can hardly find a cookery book on the same. Also, at times tourists feel that many Nepali food items are very similar to that of Indian cuisine, which is not true because we use a lot of different spices and also our way of cooking is very different to that of the Indian style. Nepali cuisine has a lot of occasion-specific food items mainly for festivals celebrated throughout the year. For example, on Janai Purnima, its ‘Kwanti soup’, on Tihar its ‘Sel roti’, on Yomari Purnima, it’s ‘Yomari’ and so on.

What does ‘Utsav’ offer?
Well, ‘Utsav’ serves authentic Nepali food to its customers in a true Nepali setting. Also, every evening, we have live cultural stage performances depicting the various ethnic groups of Nepal, in an effort to make evenings more enjoyable. We also have a seating capacity of 250 people, which is one of the largest in Nepal. We serve a 12-course meal to our customers which would cost them 1100 NPR (exclusive of taxes). Our restaurant is open from 11AM to 10 PM. Our specialty is our service and top quality food and a visit to Utsav can be an amazing culinary experience.