Nanglo: The First 'Chain' of Restaurant in Nepal

Features Issue 15 Aug, 2010

Much has been written about Nanglo and the Kakshapati brothers, nevertheless it seemed time to feature them in ECS magazine, and particularly to mention the recently opened Nanglo Deli in Durbar Marg.  (opposite Nanglo Pub and the Chinese Room).

Shyam Kakshapati kindly agreed to join Jill, Daniel and myself for a business lunch, as I had mentioned particularly to Jill that Nanglo served great pizzas.  And here we got the lowdown on the new deli.  Designed by Shyam himself, and decorated by his son and daughter with both their paintings and pieces of art.  Bright yellow and blue, with a chequered floor, and yellow tiled tables, the whole atmosphere is extremely cheery and trendy.  Outdoor tables on both the ground and first floor areas for those who don’t mind the Durbar Marg traffic cacophony, or enclosed areas for those with more sensitive ears.  The back of the restaurant was dark, the area which led on to the back lane, so Shyam opened that up with floor to ceiling glass and paved the outside lane for about 50 metres.  What a difference!!

The deli is actually the site of the original Tansen Indian restaurant, (Tansen being the Kakshapati home town), which Shyam operated for the last 9 years, but with recent events and the downturn in tourism, it seemed appropriate to introduce the Nanglo Deli into Durbar Marg, at the same time changing the Tridevi Marg (Thamel) Nanglo from a deli to a Bakery Cafe.  Nanglo management has never been one to hold onto an idea for too long, and are always ready to move with the times.

Employment at the deli is 27 in total including the Bakery Cafe’s kitchen on the top floor.
The top floor in Durbar Marg houses the Bakery Cafe kitchen serving all restaurants, and these products too are available on the ground floor.  At present the hours are 11.00am to 10.00pm, but shortly a 7.00am opening for breakfast will happen, and with 12 computers the cyberfans can breakfast and cyber-away to their heart’s content, and at 50 rupees per hour, why not!

The Deli is attracting the Durbar Marg, Kantipath and Kamaladi office workers and business people.  With a trendy menu, perfect for young people to read, much too confusing for an oldy like me.  One of the features of the restaurant is a choice of teas in leaf form in tea pots, which in our opinion is such a plus as the ubiquitous tea bag rears its ugly head in too many places in Kathmandu.  Coffee too is brewed and being upgraded.  The competition for tea and coffee is slowly increasing, so here they are keeping apace.
We talked about Shyam’s plans for the future in other parts of the city, such as Jawalakhel with another cyber cafe, and particularly we talked about Shyam’s support of the Deaf and Dumb young people of Kathmandu, starting first with 12 young people who started on Day 1 at New Baheswor 5 years ago.  Shyam trained them all personally, and now has 40 Deaf and Dumb young people at four locations - New Baneswor, Maharajgunj, Thamel and Jawalakhel.  Jokingly, Shyam says he likes them because they don’t stand around gossiping when there is little to do!!!

Recently the Hotel Association of Nepal and the Austrian-Salzburg Hotel Management School conducted training programs in kitchen management here in Kathmandu for 30 of Nanglo’s Dead and Dumb staff and other staff from other restaurants.  The trainer was ‘blown-away’ by the Nanglo staff, and said it was a highlight of his career to have been able to teach and interact with these young people.  Shyam’s criteria for these staff is that they can read and write English and are proficient in sign language.  Nanglo has been covered by television crews from around the world including BBC, highlighting these employment opportunities for this disabled group.

This discussion with Shyam was conducted with him soberly dressed in a dark suit with colour co-ordinated shades of pink and mauve tie and shirt, a far cry from his hippy days and even earlier last year when he participated in the 2nd Great Himalayan Volkswagen Beetle Rally when he won first prize for the Best Decorated Vehicle, and by default won the best dressed prize too,  in his hippy regalia.

And asked about the music in the Deli, he said he would love to play 60s and 70s music and we assured him that more and more young people are appreciating that era, and in fact rather wish they had been around then.  When I tell young people that the late George Harrison of the Beatles used to babysit an old friend of mine (in Liverpool) they ooh and ahh in awe.

Shyam said he still has an ancestral house in Freak Street that he might renovate one day and revive the old times of Kathmandu and the hippy era.  In the meantime Nanglo with its 14 outlets is by far the forerunner in what could be considered a ‘chain’ of restaurants in Nepal.