Gurkha Himalayan, Vancouver

Be careful, the potatoes are very spicy and it sometimes hurts people’s mouths. The potatoes come before the meal, Spanish style (free and unexpected).

I’m in Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen and I didn’t have the heart to tell the man that the potatoes were only mildly spicy. If you want spicy potatoes, then go to Sri Lanka. There’s a line between spicy and I’m not tasting the food anymore that I try to avoid and the lovely potato tapas from Gurkha definitely did not come close to that line.

My first questions when I enter a new restaurant is always: does the menu have dairy, wheat or gluten-free options? When I asked, the man looked at me a bit surprised. All our options are gluten, wheat and dairy-free except the bread.

I’m surprised at how quickly he responds… I’m skeptical as he’s telling me that Himalayan food is less creamy, greasy, and rich than Indian food. It takes a while for me to peruse the menu but it seems safe.

I started with the Piro Shrimp and listened to the couple next to me compare Gurkha with Laziza, which is a few feet away. They couldn’t decide which of the two restaurants was better. Gurkha does have a patio… for those rare days where it’s warm and not raining in Vancouver.

When the main course of Jhinge Maachha came, I was listening to the family across from me argue about hockey. Why would you be a fan of anything other than the Canucks? the father asked. Because I know better, said the son. It was a family feud waiting to happen.

The waiter looks at the family and then leans over and almost whispers into my ear, we have free internet. He gives me the code and I go online to read reviews about the restaurant. Nothing bad. I’m pretty satisfied: the prices are good, the food awesome, and the ambiance welcoming and cozy. (And, the fact that I can actually eat here without getting sick is the key benefit.)

It’s not a busy restaurant… it is rather new and off the beaten path (as beaten path as you can get on Davie) so it hasn’t been “found” yet by the hoards that like to stand outside other restaurants on the strip. That said, many locals came in for takeout, which I think I’ll be doing on a regular basis.

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