Noir Fennel opened in July 2019 in the Anand Bhawan Complex in Lazimpat, but it took me six months to finally walk through the doors. A last minute decision to go there for dinner with a friend was an eye-opener. Beautiful comfortable seating in white with polished wooden tables gives a modern, fresh look. There is a separate smoker’s lounge as well as a lounge for private parties or work meetings. The walls are lined with a good selection of wines. While waiting for my friend the waiter showed me around. In fact the young male and female waiters were exceedingly helpful and friendly. And anticipated what the customer wanted—a rare thing in Kathmandu! Another rare thing—they had central heating, which was on!
The menu consists of both French cuisine and Indian, with a few Nepali standards thrown in for die-hards. There is a lunch menu which has more standard fare such as burger, pizza, and rice sets. I can only assume this is to entice people in who will then return for the dinner menu. We were more interested in the French side of the menu. Les Canard (duck) looked very tempting as did the Pork Chop and French Cut Lamb. In the end we both settled for vegetarian options. I had the Savory Crepes—two delicate crepes served with a light mushroom sauce. My friend decided on the Cheese Casserole. The name is deceptive as it did not come in its individual hotplate as we imagined but in a generous cube of delicious almonds, walnuts and vegetables.
As she is vegetarian she was most impressed to get a nutty veg dish here in Kathmandu. Both dishes came with deep fried spinach leaves. Very crispy and difficult to handle! Over on the Indian side, I was fascinated by Vin d’Aloo which is a curry of bacon, curry leaves, vinegar and coconut. I’m going to try that next time! There is also Cauliflower with Raisins, Rogan Josh, Shrimp Mad-rush and a variety of Biryani, rice and naan. As my friend pointed out—perfect for her and her husband. She can eat French vegetarian and he can eat meaty curry!
There is no dessert menu: we were given the choice of Oreo Mousse (which wasn’t actually available that night), Fried Ice Cream, or Carrot Haluwa with Ice Cream. I chose the Fried Ice Cream as I only know two other places you can get this in Kathmandu, so it’s a bit of a treat. It was wonderfully presented and tasty. My friend didn’t like her haluwa so much as she was told it was ‘carrot cake’ so was expecting something less Indian and less sweet. Speaking of presentation—all the dishes are gracefully presented in a contemporary way. With prices ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 2,200 (for lamb chops), and with most prices around the Rs 700 mark, it’s not going to break the bank!
The owner, Resh Maskey, based in the US, spent many years in hospitality. But not as a chef despite his penchant for fresh, tasty food, served in his ideal setting—somewhere relaxed yet contemporary. With this in mind, Maskey headed to a culinary school in France where he learned about flavor, techniques and presentation. With his first love being Asian cuisine he took this learning and turned it into Le Mirch. Opening first in Washington, DC in 2012, Le Mirch later opened in Kathmandu (Labin Mall).
Now this passion for the essence of Asian food—the spices—combined with the flare and sophistication of French cuisine has led to Noir Fennel. Maskey states his journey through the French and Indian palate story is similar to the film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ (Google it!). Why not head along there for dinner then give us (and the restaurant) feedback! For reservations call 01-4410463.