The dining area isn't the biggest of spaces, with around twelve tables of varying sizes. It's a testament to Everest's popularity that by 7.30 on a Tuesday evening, almost half of them were occupied. The decor is smart but simple, with comfortable leather chairs and a touch of tasteful artwork. The focus is definitely on the food, though: the smart menu features mainly Nepalese dishes (as you'd expect), with a few Indian numbers thrown in no doubt to please the palates of the curry-conditioned population. Similar to Indian cuisine in its extensive uses of spices, Nepalese food is similarly varied, with dishes as diverse as dumplings, noodle dishes and bean and potato masala on Everest's menu.
The menu begins with a page of starters, priced between £2.95 and £5.95, including the dumplings in question (momos), which I've heard excellent things about. There's a page of vegetarian dishes, tandoori options, chef's specialities (including the interesting-sounding manu farsi; lamb and red pumpkin cooked with ginger, red pepper and garlic), as well as a number of classic Indian dishes and biryanis. I skipped straight to the vegetarian specialities: mostly Nepalese, many can be ordered either as a main course (£6.95) or as a side (£3.95).
|Annapurna vegetables and kadai chicken|
I opted for annapurna vegetables (potatoes, okra, cauliflower, mushrooms, courgettes, aubergine, broccoli and green beans, £6.95), with plain rice and a garlic naan. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of bite, and the depth of flavour was impressive. They were light-tasting and moreish: portion sizes are generous but not over-facing, justifying the price tag for the vegetarian dishes at least. My dinner companion S opted for a kadai chicken (with onion, capiscum, green chillies and gren peppers, £7.95) from the Indian classics section, which was flavoursome but rather too greasy for her liking: once she'd transferred it over to her plate, the serving dish was left with an unappetising reservoir of oil at the bottom. That said, the taste prevailed and she ate the lot. The naan was generously smothered in garlic and fortunately escaped the grease trap of the kadai chicken.
With a wide variety of tempting-sounding dishes on offer, Everest is a good value introduction to Nepalese cooking. If you're looking for something a bit different than the usual options of pub/Italian/Indian/Chinese, give Everest a go: with such a range of dishes on offer, you're sure to discover something new. Given the greasiness of the Indian dish compared to the Nepalese, it's probably best to stick to what Everest is all about.
Verdict: 8 for the Nepalese, 6 for the Indian
Everest Nepalese is at 147-151 Howard Street, Oxford OX4 3AZ. Booking recommended at weekends. Take away available (collection or free delivery for orders over £15 in a 5 mile radius). Tel: 01865 251555.