After a week of herds of goats being my main traffic concern, Kathmandu seemed pretty hectic and polluted. Fortunately there’s a plethora of cosy cafés to duck into, read a book and regain some chill (because FYI the reams of scooter drivers here have zero chill).
Here are a few of my favourites from my five days in Kathmandu, with not a single one of them featuring in the latest Lonely Planet (basically just letting you know that I’m a legit urban explorer – Lonely Planet, I’m unemployed and waiting for your call ❤️).
1) ZY, Durbar Square
With a snappy name, simple menu and a soundtrack of Kanye and house jazz fusions, ZY has all the ingredients of an overpriced London hipster joint that you come to Instagram and leave. The big difference, though, is that drinks are the equivalent of 30p (50 Nepalese rupees) and the guys running the place aren’t trying too hard to appear cool.
ZY is in Durbar Square and was a welcome pit stop for us during our sightseeing. It is really close to the ticket counter, though, so you can easily nip past if you’re just there for the coffee. The sweet chai was served in earthenware cups, which, although weren’t very practical (burning fingers much), added to the minimalist style of the place and made for cute photos.
2) Gokarna House Restaurant, Paknajol
It has a wood fire pizza oven, making any additional comments quite unnecessary really. The main restaurant was cosy and watching your pizza being made in front of you was a nice touch, especially because I think our stares pressured the chef into adding more toppings – would recommend this tactic.
The calzone had a much better tomato-cheese ratio than the normal pizza, so this is what I’d go for next time. Top tip would be to sit in the smaller room with the oven as the garden and extra seating out back lacked character.
3) Chikusa Coffee Shop, Jyatha
This was my favourite café in Kathmandu, probably because it reminded me so much of my no.1 in Nottingham with the simple decor and glass shopfront. The thick-cut French toast with honey and “small” pot (6 cups later…) of strong coffee went down a treat, all three times. Chikusa had all the chill and was a great place to spend a few hours leafing through the day’s papers, wrapped up in the aromas of ginger and garam masala wafting from the kitchen.
4) Coffee and Vegetarian Food Home, Paknajol Marg
This tiny, unassuming ‘food home’ has the cheapest and best momos – steamed, stuffed dumplings – I had in Nepal and the kindest owner too (not to mention the most bizarre name). The breakfasts were cheap and the muesli wasn’t drowned in curd: a rare find in Nepalese eateries. Did I mention it was cheap?
Enjoy your caffeine hit in the capital!