Sometimes I’m just a little slow on the uptake. Although I’ve been there for four years I have only recently really discovered Flat Iron Grill (or FIG as they affectionately call it). This small but light and airy 30-seater restaurant is to be found inside the Ambassador Hotel on the corner of Lainchour and Lazimpat Road. Serving amazing, meaty sandwiches, burgers, and wraps, they also serve salads, soups and a mouth-watering array of pastries. There is a nice breakfast menu (7-11am).
What I really wanted to know was about their meat, of which I had heard wonderful things. I talked to the joint owners, Shibani Simha-Swiger and Raju Rijal. “Originally my husband and Raju established FIG around five years ago and we had just started selling goods at the 1905 Farmers Market when the earthquake hit,” explains Simha-Swigar. She goes on to tell me that they cure and smoke their own meats from animals they select at source.
Although the butchering is not carried out by them, Brian Swigar has trained the butchers in how to cut the meat. Having designed their own smoker, FIG smokes and produces, in its kitchen in Kaldhara, ham, holiday hams, pulled pork, chicken, sausages, bacon, mutton, pastrami, and pork hamburger meat. All the meats are produced fresh every week in order to keep standards consistency high. Cured for seven days then hung in a smoke house for eight hours this slow smoking produces sweet, savoury, and
Along with locally sourced organic vegetables and cheese, they produce homemade potato chips, breads and pastries. Everything comes from Nepal, with the exception of mortadella and salami imported from Italy. All these items can be found either on the menu, or be pre-ordered (24-48 hrs in advance) for collection. Lunch boxes (from Rs 500) can be ordered, as can platters for private parties and meetings.
Now to the desserts! There is a collection of around 10 pastry items. They tell me their best sellers are the éclairs and the bearclaws. I must admit I had never seen a bearclaw—having only heard of it through the TV when someone orders ‘coffee and a bearclaw’. Sure enough it looks like the claw of a bear (with a bit of imagination) and tastes delicious. The other favourite of mine is the buckeye. Which is a sweet from Ohio, where Swigar is originally from. It’s basically peanut butter wrapped in chocolate. To die for!
Products from FIG can be found at the Le Sherpa Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Yellow House Market on Sundays. All of the above can basically be had, or ordered and collected from the markets. Additional items found at the markets are sausage rolls and blueberry muffins. And interestingly what can also be found in the restaurant are beers from the Great Divide Brewing Company based in Colorado. These are perfect to wash down a good pulled pork sandwich or buffalo chicken wrap. And if you don’t drink beer, they service fresh organic Nuwa coffee and fruit juices.
When other responsibilities took Swigar away from the day to day running of the restaurant, Mrs Simha-Swiger stepped in and has brought some new ideas. Like the recent promotion of FIG.CEPTION where three Kathmandu influencers were invited to create their own sandwiches. “We are also looking at green packaging and have been working with Doko Recyclers for some time,” explains Simha-Swiger, “and this is an area we will continue to explore.”
I wondered where the name Flat Iron Grill came from, assuming it was in reference to the grill the meats were cooked on. But what do I know? Flat iron in fact refers to the shape of a building, triangular, and originating in New York.
To order up your fresh meat items or for further information call 01-4413075 or find Flat Iron Grill on Facebook.