Himalaya, the Height of Food

India, Pakistan — By on June 9, 2015 4:04 pm

Himalaya, an Indian- Pakistani restaurant sits right at home in Houston’s Mahatma Gandhi district, also known as “the Harwin area”. With surrounding shops offering Indian fabrics, accessories, gold and other exotic trinkets, Himalaya is a convenient and delicious restaurant. It is not surprising Himalaya has thrived for 13 years: the dishes are amazing….and I am not the only one who thinks so. Himalaya boasts a loyal following from foodies to food critics. The restaurant’s walls even display proof of the love professed by Himalaya’s writer-fans: framed articles praising the restaurant and chef for outstanding food are proudly showcased.

I am welcomed to Himalaya by chef Kaiser Lashkari, one of the owners of Himalaya (although his wife Azra “is the real boss”). I came to Himalaya to experience more than their amazing food. I wanted to know how Himalaya came to be, for a 13-year old restaurant with such flavorful food is bound to have a unique history.

Surprisingly, chef Kaiser spent 3 years in medical school before pursuing his true passion; he moved to Houston with relatives to attend the University of Houston’s Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. After two years of operating his first restaurant “Kaiser”, chef Kaiser moved to his current spot, where he and his wife, who “was a famous TV writer in Pakistan”, began a new chapter: Himalaya. Together, chef Kaiser and Azra work vigorously to provide a top-notch experience. Azra, checks every plate that comes out of the kitchen – I could see her diligently plating things and supervising the kitchen. Her participation does not go by unnoticed; chef Kaiser frequently sings her praises and confesses “the restaurant has done better because of her”.

Chef Kaiser and Azra served Baryani rice, a beautiful family style serving of rice with lamb, spices and fried onions; it’s the Indian/Pakistani version of Spanish paella. I love rice in every way it’s cooked and this is one my favorite rice dishes. It is absolutely delicious and full of flavor…. perfect comfort food. At Himalaya, Baryani rice is also served with goat, chicken or vegetarian.

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I also tried the Hunter’s Beef, which can be found in the menu as a dish of its own, and it’s a lot like corned beef. Today it is pan fried in oil and spices, shredded and served on a mini Naan (Indian bread) with Magic Mustard – which is made at Himalaya and can be purchased in a jar. It was delicious! I also tried an Indo – Pakistani – Mexican mix: a mini Naan bread folded in half add the Hunter’s Beef, mustard plus Pico de Gallo and you get a delicious twist on a soft taco.

For dessert chef Kaiser presented Mango Lassi. Mango Lassi is everything a summer drink should be: chilled, rich, creamy, and sweet. Made with curd/yogurt, mango and sugar, this Mango Lassi is one is the best I’ve ever had, and I could drink it all day.

Himalaya’s menu has many choices, but if you find yourself not knowing what to order, consider the Lunch Combo Platter: chicken curry, lamb curry, vegetable of the day, steamed basmati rice and fresh tandoori naan. There are just several choices for an incredible price.

 

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