When one visits Swayambhu, they seldom think to unwind and spend some time at a cafe nearby. I daresay that the exquisite UNESCO world heritage site is a testament to its own beauty, but often it distracts everyone from some hidden gems that lie within its perimeter.
One such example is Himalayan Bowl, a small cafe that is tucked in the corner of a busy junction in Kimdol. As you begin your ascent to Swayambhunath, your eyes will meet a vibrant turquoise-themed cafe and unique signboard– immediately catching your attention. The inviting ambience and the convenient location of this restaurant entices everyone that falls upon its path, and as one peruses through its menu they come across a surprising variety of unique dishes.
As we found our seat amidst the cafe, we took in the artistic aesthetic of Himalayan bowl; the wooden furniture and the turquoise accents added a sense of comfort within the coziness of the restaurant. When asked about the reason behind his choices of color the owner, Ashok Gurung responded, “As a Buddhist, every individual represents one of four elements. My element is water, thus my choice of the color blue.” True to his words, Himalayan Bowl exudes a sense of serenity and peace similar to the nature of water.
“People come to Swayambhu for routined morning walks and cardio, we at Himalaya Bowl, have created the perfect meals for their fitness and health requirements.” Gurung also added, “Usually when people eat clean, they stick to what they know, the traditional home-cooked meal or by heavily limiting their diets. Through my personal research, I was able to learn about the benefits of vegan diets and have opened this cafe in hope to serve people tasteful meals that are actually healthy.” While the menu at the cafe refrains from using any exotic fruits or ingredients, this is a conscious decision Gurung has made to uphold a sense of consistency within the products he offers to his customers.
The homemade ginger ale was a refreshing concoction of ginger and lime, offering a mildly spicy taste that awakens the senses within the first sip. The Ginger Ale alludes to a healthy take on bottled sodas; cleansing the system by reducing oxidative stress and improving circulation within the body. The Cafe Latte enjoyed by my colleague on the other hand was one of the best she’d ever had!
Following the drinks, we gorged on the Keema Noodles. “We keep a few familiar dishes on our menu, so that we can offer a taste of the traditional Tibetan cuisine to those that want to try it.” Served on a white platter, the noodles were perched over chilli and soy sauce, and topped with a decadent serving of minced chicken meat and a bok choy garnish. The Keema Noodles consisted of a balanced taste, with no overpowering spices it was mild and perfectly catered to the Nepali palette.
We then proceeded to taste the most popular item on their menu- the Peanut Butter Smoothie Bowl. When placed on our table, I took a moment to observe the dish and it was absolutely beautiful. Topped with a line of granola, coconut shreds, chia seeds, bananas, a drizzle of chocolate syrup and a few mint leaves, the smoothie was an absolute work of art. In its beauty, I felt bad demolishing its design. The creamy mix of peanut butter and bananas, the freshness of the smoothie bowl, lingered on my palette, with each bite leaving me wanting more.
The smoothie bowls at Himalayan Bowl leave you with a lot to remember, offering a variety of fruits and ingredients at an affordable price. So if you’re ever looking for a nice breakfast, or even a chill hangout with your coterie of friends, go the unconventional route and try Himalayan Bowl in Swayambhu.