Chez Caroline, situated in Babermahal Revisited has been serving French delicacies since 1996 but like some things, it only gets better with time.
It all started about thirty-seven years ago when Caroline came to Nepal. Kathmandu wasn’t as bustling then, it had only started ruffling its feathers to take a flight in a city that would years later be a hub of numerous culture and delicacies. There weren't many proper restaurants in Kathmandu, let alone a French one which truly captured the taste of this popular cuisine.
Chez Caroline is a favourite French restaurant in Nepal, loved by locals and expats alike. Caroline has devoted so much to this restaurant which is clearly evident in the food that is served there – it has a classic French touch to it. Perhaps Caroline is picturing a small part of home here. She says so openly that she feels a sense of ‘belongingness’ here, with a team that works through thick and thin.
When she says this I immediately notice a deep feeling of relaxation I feel surrounded by the whitewashed walls, under a pleasant shade of a tree that occasionally rustles in the winds. She states, ‘It is totally unique to have such a close-knit team – and for me to be a colleague rather than an employer’. She asserts she has spent many days improvising the dishes with Chef Gopal, to ensure that it is perfect in taste, consistency, texture and look.
Serving French cuisine and Mediterranean cuisine, Chez Caroline also has an exclusive ‘Suggestions of the day’ every day – succulent dishes made from the freshest seasonal ingredients. Almost all the scarce ingredients like their salmon are imported straight from Norway so that they can serve it fresh.
The first dish Caroline suggests for us is Poulet du jour which means Chicken especially for the day. The dish consists of a Chicken Roulette, rolled with spinach and zucchini, steamed and later grilled with curry sauce. The chicken along with a small portion of rice, swathed in the sauce tastes heavenly. The chicken roulette has a soft texture and is very mild in taste – but which does not mean it is not flavourful. The sauce is perfect with the roulette and some fresh veggies.
However, a personal favourite of mine is Raviolis au saumon (Salmon Ravioli) that I still can’t get enough of. The delicious ravioli has a filling of fresh salmon, and the sorrel sauce pairs beautifully with the salmon to give a truly divine taste. The creamy sauce with a subtle hint of lemon leaves a pleasant aftertaste in the palette. It is by far the most delicious Ravioli I have ever tasted and I even scoop some leftover sauce in the plate to get the last bit of it, is good food ever enough?
To top off the satisfying lunch we have some Coulet au chocolat, a rich serving of sweetness that puts a cherry top on the delicious meal. Made with a rich blend of butter, cocoa powder and served with crème anglaise the cake smells rich and tantalizing. At the first bite, the dark and sweet taste of the cake puts me immediately at ease. The dessert comes par with the main course and the meal fills us with satisfaction – which is only possible after a good meal.
In the photo: Caroline with Chef Gopal (left) and Madhu (Right)
After the satisfying meal, I have a hearty conversation with Caroline. I ask her the best thing about Nepal and she only answers in a single word – ‘it’s the people’. Even though Chez Caroline has come a long way – almost twenty years serving the very best of French cuisine, sometimes changing it to fit more modern group of foodies, it has not lowered the quality nor the service. But as they say, some things age better with time and some eateries grow wiser in years and taste.
I leave with a smile, the lingering taste of the food and amiable words of Caroline echoing in my mind.
If you seek the same experience:
Contact Number: (+977) 01 4263070, (+977) 01 4264187
Address: Babermahal Revisited, Kathmandu
Shuvekshya Limbu is a Content Writer at Nepal Traveller.