"Where are you from?" The waiter asked. I told him. "Ah, the country with zero corruption?" It's not often that I get that. Normally they will talk about how clean the city state is. A staff from Song Que asked whether it's true chewing gum is banned in the country.
The staff at the best restaurant in Windsor (as rated by TripAdvisor out of a list of 129 local restaurants) has more questions. "What language do you speak then? Singaporean?" He shook his head in disbelief when told that there is no "Singaporean" language.
That's why I love dining alone. Spontaneous conversations between the staff and fellow diners make meals all the more memorable.
Hungry Eye is a Nepalese restaurant just beside Windsor's Guild Hall. Yes, the one that Sir Christopher Wren famously built columns that don't quite touch the ceiling to prove that the design he was consulted on was sound.
I hesitated for a bit before stepping into Hungry Eye. A large sign outside says that it serves spaghetti bolognese, beef lasagna and even fish and chips. I find it hard to imagine the Himalayan natives feasting on those. Then again, whether you like it or not, Windsor is still a tourist town and crowd-pleasing dishes are always welcome.
I zoomed in on the Nepali Favourites section on the menu immediately. For some reason, I'm under this impression that landlocked countries do meat (especially lambs) best so I opted for the lamb dal bhat (£12.95) with a papadum set (£2.60). The dal (lentil) was served seperately in a gravy server and had good consistency. I found myself lapping it up before even touching the rest of the dish. It was creamy with a subtle taste and was wonderful when dribble over the bhat (boiled rice).
The lamb chunks was undoubtedly the dish's mainstay. They were tender and the curry weren't overly salty. I thought the curry itself could have been a bit spicier. It might be the dal but the curry did come across as rather muted. I am normally not a fan of side salad but in this case the diced onions within added that much needed kick to that palate.
I wouldn't go all out to say that Hungry Eye is a gourmet destination but it is an alternative if you are tired of pub grub, which Windsor is certainly not short of. My only contact with Nepal thus far are through the Gurkhas who still guard the many parliamentary buildings back home. I have not seen any in action before but their prowess is legendary and they are known to be the hardiest military units around. But if this is what they eat every day (as advertised on the menu), life as a Gurkha isn't bad at all.
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