Kathmandu is known, without a doubt, for its finest restaurants. Quality food is found here in a variety of flavor. As the number of restaurants has increased in the city, in this piece, I share my fabulous new find, Ageno - The Hestia.
The name of the restaurant, Ageno, sounds intriguing, but it is a typical Nepali word for a 'fireplace' where people cook their meal in the rural areas of Nepal. Hestia is the Greek goddess of hearth and food. Unlike most of the gridlocked restaurants in the valley, Ageno seeks to provide a soothing ambiance, with minimal dinner interruptions.
The restaurant leans heavily on organic grains and seasonal products. One can dart fingers across the menu, as if going from Ilam to Jumla, and stop somewhere for an authentic taste of the Thakali cuisine. The menu brings you a range of pure flavors of the whole of Nepal in one place. Ageno chefs have experiences of places, from Mumbai to Dubai, and they are cohesively working to present even the best of continental cuisine and flavor from these places. The menu also covers some terrific Italian, Chinese and Indian dishes.
Although vegetarian customers, including me, find limited items of interest in the menu, the quality of food offered is top notch. I came across the creme de la creme of chefs who served every item with great finesse. We kicked off with ‘aloo chukhaune’ and ‘mushroom choela’, which were tongue-some appetizers. The ‘vegetarian biryani' came to the table with enticing aroma and had some mouth watering effects. A spoonful of it jogged my memory from the biryani I had tried in Hyderabad, a place to which this dish classically belongs. The richness of this dish and the spicy flavors definitely is worth the trip.
Serving authentic meal is not an easy task. Sometimes the chefs cannot grasp the standard taste and mostly the meal is modified according to the local crowd but either way, the classic dish loses its essence and authenticity in the process. What I liked about Ageno is how the traditional taste of the food is preserved without any ‘modern twist’ to it.
Along with the luscious flavors and the extravagant service, the restaurant offers a very positive ambiance and vibration inside it. The main hall ‘Ageno’ is tastefully done in a Nepalese motif with a cozy fireplace, Dhaka placemats and brown bricked walls that insinuate a homely atmosphere. It is remarkable how the interior is kept elegant with a lovely statue of Buddha and also Kiran Manandhar’s paintings, which are placed all around the hall like embellishments to enhance the beauty of the interior. The visual appeal is just great.
Ageno has many sitting areas designed for a multitude of purposes- holding conferences, meetings, workshops and exhibitions, to name a few. It also comprises an event room that has the capacity to hold about 250 people. The venue offers a rooftop view seating order with a petit cafe.
Honestly, I had never before been to a place that offered so many types of seating and eating options. I asked Prajjwal Kumar Dahal, the co-owner of the restaurant, about the elegant design. "When I was in the development sector, we had a hard time finding places for business meetings and conferences and this experience led us to design the sitting arrangements. Ageno is a creation of experience and innovation."
Enlightening me about the inspiration behind this whole venture Dahal added, “This venture is an attempt to bring the true taste of authentic Nepali dishes from one place. We have made several efforts to accomplish this goal by bringing the th best seasonal product in the restaurant."
Following a two-hour chat, with laughter and quality meal to top it off, I remembered an Irish proverb, “Laughter is the brightest, where food is the best." I absolutely relished everything about the restaurant and I would say that it's definitely worth a try.
Location : Ward No. 4, Dhobighat, Lalitpur
Atmosphere : Peaceful
Recommended Dishes Aloo Chukaune; Mushroom Soup; Biryani
Mini Bar: Drinks, Wine and Beer .
My rating of the restaurant: 8 out of 10
Newly elected mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan Chiri Babu Maharjan (Center) inaugurating the restaurent