Published: 14:54, 18 November 2020
| Updated: 15:42, 18 November 2020
One of Ashford's top restaurants, Everest Inn, is hoping to bring pure Nepalese cuisine to the people of Ashford through a new restaurant.
Stepping away from the Nepalese-Indian fusion of its established sites, the family has now opened Koyla in Mersham-le-Hatch's The Courtyard.
Despite the lockdown, the eatery is still operating a delivery service and orders can be made via its website.
Reporter Charlie Harman went with his family to give it a try, just a week after its October 6 opening....
Considering I hadn't been to a restaurant during lockdown, I didn't know what to expect when entering.
Despite the social distancing and plastic face visors, we were met with warm, welcoming smiles from the staff who guided us to our table in a truly swanky dining room.
With a range of standard drinks - including a vast choice of wines - and some Nepalese brands.
"The flavours were full and rich..."
I went with 'Golden Everest' at the recommendation of server Ravi, a beer which was launched recently exclusively for the Everest Inn restaurant group.
Koyla, I was informed, roughly translates to charcoal in Nepali, which the restaurant cooks with to add an extra bit of flavour to their food.
To start, my mum and I had the chicken momo (dumplings) while my dad went for the lime poleko prawns.
Both packed a punch, but we all agreed that the spicy tomato sauce that went with the dumplings was to die for - I was half-tempted to ask for a jar to take home with me.
Moving onto mains we decided on a trio of curries, with good showings all round on the cashew butter chicken, lamb timur and home-style goat.
The flavours were full and rich, and though it didn't look like much food when it came out by the end I was struggling to finish my plate.
Dad - who had the goat - did note that though it tasted great, his serving came with quite a few bones and gristly bits.
To go with the curries, we had some naan bread which was about as good as you can hope for.
Having almost run out of space in our bellies, we were cautious about getting dessert but thankfully they both transpired to be light on the stomach.
The kheer panna cotta was not what you'd expect a normal panna cotta to be, as kheer is more like a rice pudding than the smooth Italian staple.
As a life-long rice pudding fan, I couldn't complain!
We also had the gaazar haluwa, a carrot-based dish I could only liken to warm, soft honey flapjack with a slightly boozy notes.
While baffling to my western tongue, I enjoyed it and it went down particularly well with the added quinelle of vanilla ice cream.
Overall a fantastic experience - a warm and relaxed environment, very stylish fittings and more flavour than you can shake a stick at.
If you're looking for a place to celebrate the lockdown, Koyla should definitely be among your first choices!