It’s taken us well over a year to visit this Nepalese restaurant which made its home on Askew Road in Shepherd’s Bush in June 2014. Monkey Temple takes its name from the Buddhist Swayambhunath Temple and Unesco World Heritage Site, which is home to hundreds of monkeys, considered to be holy by believers.
After a rather long day for us all, the prospect of someone else cooking was a marvellous one and we didn’t want to stray too far. We hadn’t booked, but a table for three was found in the time it took to have a gin and tonic in the local.
No sooner had we sat, the staff had taken our drinks order and delivered three crispy poppadoms with the usual bowls of mango chutney, raita and diced onion and cucumber.
The menu features traditional Nepalese dishes and those from neighbouring India but we opted for the Nepalese favourites.
Mum had the Prawn Puree (£4.25) from the starter menu for her main and it was very generous. The prawns were delicately spiced, although I felt could have carried a little more on the heat side, but all the same, came on perfectly puffed, fried puree bread.
My Chicken Ceylon (£6.45) was korma-like in its consistency, with a thick creamy sauce, dominated by coconut and sweetened with mango. The chicken was perfectly cooked, not the least bit dry which is often the case with many thick, sweet gravy dishes. I also ordered a helping of Dal Tarka Lentils (£3.45), lightly spiced with hints of turmeric and garam masala, this dish was another generous portion for a side. Plain Basmati (£2.10) was plenty for two. Mr ordered Chicken Lasooni (£6.45) a medium-spiced, tomato-rich dish given a spice kick with red chilli and garlic. Mr is partial to a Peshwari Nan and said his was sweet and fresh. I particularly loved the Popadums (50p) and managed to snaffle two, drizzled with a delicious mint raita.
The restaurant is small, busy and the staff are attentive and cheerful. At night, it’s always busy and I recommend you book. If you book online, you can bring your own bottle of wine for a small corkage fee. They also offer a takeaway and evening home delivery service.
Our request for unfinished curry and dhal to be boxed up to take away wasn’t a problem and we left with a couple of extra poppadoms and dipping sauces, with their compliments.
Monkey Temple won the regional title for Restaurant of The Year in the recent English Curry Awards 2015, now I fear it might a little harder to get a seat in this small but perfectly formed corner restaurant on the Askew Road.
The bill for three, including drinks (wine, and gin and tonic and large beer) was under £50, a total bargain.
I foolishly forgot to snap away – it really was that good – but here are a few snaps from a recent takeaway.
Monkey Temple, 92 Askew Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 9BL
0208 743 4597
Order online here.