From meeting a French cheese maker riding his Royal Enfield to retreating in Patan’s secret kitchens or splurging in one of the city’s loveliest boutique hotel, here is Kore Kamino’s curated carnet d’adresse for your time in the valley.
Farmers Market @1905 Restaurant, Kathmandu
Every Saturday from 10-12 a.m this little organic Farmer’s Market is a surreal scene in the heart of the city. The market takes place within a romantic water garden tucked away from the chaos of Kathmandu’s streets. Here you will find all the components of your typical Brooklyn or Shoreditch market like excellent local cheeses, breads, preserves, vegetables, smoked meats and sausages. If you’re lucky you might even spot a veteran hippy couple in their old beetle in which they probably arrived 30 years ago! The market is hosted in the beautiful setting of the Kantipath 1905 Restaurant’s garden and this is where Francois Driard, a Frenchman – whom we met at a Royal Enfield Bullet repair shop – is selling his Himalayan French cheeses such as Tomme and St Marcellin.
Layeku Kitchen @ Mangal Bazar, Patan
The perfect place to sit by the window with a book and enjoy the breathtaking view on Patan square after strolling around the neighbourhood. The traditional carved wood architecture is beautiful and we love sitting crossed legs on the elevated area – but don’t worry, they have normal chairs and tables too. Because of its prime location their food and service are quite overprice but for some tea and momos it’s well worth the money.
Mani Ga Butu Restaurant @ Patan
Our secret place in Patan, this hole in a wall on Mamaru Galli alleyway is strangely empty most of the time except for groups of locals having a snack with friends, and makes the prefect place to relax after the crowds of Durbar square. No English menu here but the traditional Newari food is inexpensive and very tasty.
Baber Mahal Revisited @ Kathmandu
Baber Mahal Revisited is a surprising charming little complex which once housed the cowshed and guard house of a Rana palace. It was rehabilitated and offers a mix of European, Indian and local architecture through its different courtyards. These days it houses a few artisans and designer shops. Our favourite, the Pipalbot interiors and clothing store, event space and gallery has beautiful contemporary Tibetan wool and silk rugs and a very friendly owner.
Swotha House @ Patan
A 7 rooms boutique hotel in the heart of Patan with a fantastic cafe and restaurant serving all the food you can dream of after a long trek in the Himalayas! The building is a beautifully restored Newari residence and the staff is very friendly. Great comfortable rooms and a lovely terrace overlooking Patan on the top floor.
Flavor’s Cafe & Restaurant @ Boudhanath, Inner circle
Our favourite cafe in Boudhanath. Great coffee, cakes and vegetarian food which are perfect for a break after going around the stupa a few times like locals do. We liked the ground floor area best, mainly because we loved having coffee sitting side by side with local monks having cheesecake while chatting with their students. The terrace area overlooking the stupa has a great view if you are lucky to get the balcony tables. This place employs deaf and other handicapped people who are really lovely and professional which makes it even more right to spend your money with them.
Garden of Dreams @ Kaiser Cafe, Kathmandu
The name sounds a bit cheesy, granted. But if Kathmandu’s traffic is driving you crazy this is the spot to refresh and rejuvenate your body and soul for a couple of hours. It was created in the 1920s by a Rana aristocrat in love with Eduardian architecture and a fine connoisseur of horticulture and literature. Restored in the mid 2000s to its original glory the garden displays a lovely botanical diversity. An oasis of tranquility 5 mins away from crazy Tamel and you can even splurge and enjoy some tea and biscuits at their English countryside’s style Cafe! There is a slightly high entrance fee to get into the garden, but once inside you will forget about it.
Sanu’s House @ Patan
This is the best homestay we’ve stayed in, ever. You’ll come the first time for the low-cost local experience. You’ll come back the second for its owner, Sarita Awale, the friendliest and most helpful host we’ve ever met. Sanu’s House family became our friends over our repeated times in Nepal and our Collection The Girl In Red came to life thanks to their fantastic help.