Curilo probably doesn’t need introduction for anyone on the north side of town, but for readers who come from a little farther afield, here’s what you need to know: it’s a cute little place directly opposite the British Embassy with tasty, consistently well-prepared food, prompt and friendly service, and strong coffee. I became a regular here because I am a huge fan of breakfast sandwiches and they have the best I’ve found so far in Kathmandu—an egg, bacon and cheese combo that is the perfect hit of protein, carbs and fat to get you going in the morning, particularly if the night before has been a little indulgent. The few other dishes I’d tried over the years—their other sandwiches and handmade pasta—were also good, so when I found out they were launching a new menu, I was very glad for an invitation to try it out.

Curilo was opened in 2014 by four partners who are also musicians. One of the partners is a chef who creates all their recipes and even oversees the kitchen long distance via Skype calls when he’s out of town! Now that’s dedication.

We began with quinoa and goat cheese salad: honestly, a dish I’d never have ordered—I love salad, but quinoa doesn’t really do anything for me. I was so glad I tried it, though; it ended up being one of the favorites of everything we ate—roasted beetroots and carrots formed a hearty, earthy base that was topped by arugula and the cheese and quinoa, with a super tasty balsamic based dressing. We cleaned the plate; literally. Salt and pepper calamari were next—crunchy and delicious, you really can’t go wrong by ordering this; it’s a snack that would go particularly well with a chilled beverage at the end of the day. Another winner!

An attractive bowl of seafood risotto followed, and considering what a difficult dish this is to prepare, I think they did a pretty good job. It was flavorful and rich, and the others at my table couldn’t stop eating it.

Next up, their stone baked pizza with sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, pesto and goat cheese on a tomato base. This dish was another standout for me—a little tang from the sundried tomatoes plus the sweetness of the roasted garlic were a great combination that was really spot on; a great pizza!

By now, I was getting full, but the dishes kept on coming—thankfully there were several of us to share them! We were served the gnocchi in pumpkin cream next; honestly, this was the least impressive of everything we tried. Gnocchi doesn’t have much flavor on its own, so it really needs to be paired with some distinct flavors, and this… just wasn’t it; perhaps they’ll add a little more zing when the menu officially launches, which it will have by the time you read this. So your mileage may vary.

Finally, it was grilled tenderloin with potatoes, braised kale and green beans, beautifully presented, a total feast for the eyes. And tasty too—a generous portion of meat that was well complemented by the fresh, crisp vegetables it was served with. Another excellent dish that will be popular with meat lovers!

Did I just say finally? But there was dessert, too! Three cannoli rounded out our lunch extravaganza; creamy and rich, just one of the new added desserts.

I left Curilo impressed and very, very full. If this is just a sample of their new menu, then regular patrons as well as new customers are in for a treat. And if, like me, you worried that your favorite dish maybe being replaced, they assured me that they aren’t changing the whole menu—and my beloved breakfast sandwich and the highly popular chicken on multigrain bread aren’t going anywhere. That’s a relief! And really, if they keep putting out new dishes as good as those we tried, it won’t be long before we have a whole new list of favorites to keep coming back for.