It was July of last year, a group of friends and I had gathered at the Le Sherpa Farmer’s Market, and when things there began winding down, someone suggested a new restaurant they’d heard about in Uttar Dhoka. We missed the sign a few times, going to and fro, but eventually regrouped there and settled in the pleasant, sunny garden—the restaurant was brand new and had barely opened, and we had the place mostly to ourselves, enjoying snacks and drinks with our conversation.

A few weeks ago I was back again; Sierra is properly open now, and what they’ve done with the space is impressive indeed: the outside space is bright and beautiful as I remembered, there’s a large pizza oven on display, and there is also a shop of women-made Nepali crafts, a beauty bar, fashion boutique and art gallery on the premises. But the most impressive thing was the bar area inside on the left, which I hadn’t seen before—either because I missed it or it wasn’t ready yet, I’m not quite sure. Semi open and built around the existing trees and plants—a touch I find very cool—the bar is generously stocked, long, modern and very, very trendy. I can picture it buzzing at night with people chatting to friends, listening to music, watching sports. There’s also a private room off to one side if you’re hosting a party or medium-sized gathering, and in the whole area, wood has been used to classic and attractive effect.

Managing Director Zenith Dhaubhadel, who started Sierra with several partners, said their plan is to focus on cocktails and wines—and their wine list is already impressive. Considering how creative they’ve been with the space and the food, which you’ll read about below, I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do with cocktails; I’ll have to come again to try them! Events wise, Wednesday is salsa night, Friday features live music, and weekend breakfasts are on the cards, too.

But on to what we had to eat!—The restaurant specializes in western style food, with some Nepali and Indian dishes in there as well, and, as you can imagine after seeing that huge wood-fired oven, pizza is a big part of their menu.

      

We started our meal with the organic quinoa and salmon salad: a few light bites, a delightfully crisp salad accompanied by smoked salmon rosettes and a sprinkling of capers. It was a perfect combination of flavors that were really bright and pop in your mouth. A small but fantastic dish; a quesedilla arrived for us to try next, with sour cream for dipping—a tasty little snack that’s perfect for sharing or enjoying with a few drinks.

Next up was one of the main courses, Norwegian salmon with parsley and Parmesan, served with potatoes and vegetables. Already delicious, it was elevated by a tangy, superb lemon herb sauce that I would have been glad to eat on its own. Somebody in the kitchen really knows what they are doing, as here—and with the earlier salmon salad—the flavors are spot on, accentuating and highlighting each other without overpowering. Dishes using imported ingredients are understandably on the pricier side, but these are well worth the splurge, and are balanced by other more affordable menu items. Zenith points out that they are not trying to be exclusively fine dining, and that there is something for everyone here, and I agree. We continued our meal with the chicken tikka pizza, a flavor combo that might not please purists but should delight local palates. An artistically plated chocolate desert wrapped everything up, though by then I think we were too full to appreciate it properly!

As for me, I left happy and satisfied, the taste of that salmon and delicious lemon sauce still making me smile now as I write about it.