The Nepali population in Australia has more than doubled since 2016, and the number of Nepali restaurants is growing alongside it. But according to Kathmandu-born chef Rajeev Chakradhar, most only scratch the surface of the country’s culinary repertoire.

“Nepal’s got a ton of different cuisines within itself,” he tells Broadsheet. “We’ve limited ourselves to rice and dal and momos, but there’s actually heaps from all different traditions.”

Chakradhar’s 38-seat Windsor restaurant Lah Bros is a platform to showcase regional fare not often represented in Australia and, at times, to enhance his own understanding of his home country. “I’ve been learning a lot as I go,” he says.

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The fusion menu is limited to just 16 items, but draws on dishes and practices from around the South Asian country – filtered through a modern Australian lens.

Inspired by the Newar community of Kathmandu, there’s bara, a savoury pancake made from black lentils. It’s fried until crisp and served in a pair, each topped with an egg, chilli, chives and lamb jus.

And paying homage to Chakradhar’s mum, there’s tender smoked tomato and eggplant dip served with puffy fried bread. “Growing up, I wasn’t a big fan of eggplant, but when she made that I loved it,” he says. The secret to its appeal is a drizzle of hot mustard oil, turmeric and spices, which Chakradhar says is a quintessential base for many Nepali dishes.

Of course, you will also find momos, Nepal’s take on the steamed dumpling. At Lah Bros they’re filled with pork and served with dollops of tomato and sesame achar, a pickled sauce that traditionally accompanies the dish.

For dessert, burnt Basque cheesecake is reimagined with the flavours of kheer – a cardamom, cinnamon and ginger-spiced rice pudding. Meanwhile chiya, a spiced milk-based tea drunk throughout Nepal, is transformed into crème brûlée.

“Nepali people love tea and biscuits any time of day,” Chakradhar explains. “It’s good to chat around.” So in keeping with tradition, the brûlée is served with a side of ginger tuile for dipping.

South Asian themes extend to a beverage menu featuring Nepali craft beers, and Nepali artwork lines the restaurant walls.

Lah Bros
119 Chapel Street, Windsor
(03) 9421 6215

Hours:
Tue and Wed 5.30pm–10pm

Thu to Sun 12pm–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10pm

lahbros.com.au