Lumbini had a very popular stand-alone restaurant (not attached to any hotel) called Fusion Garden. It was the top rated Lumbini restaurant on Tripadvisor.com where the last review on Fusion Garden was submitted in August 2013. Yet in April 2014, Fusion Garden was no more. It was supposed to be close to my hotel in Lumbini - Ananda Inn but all I found there was another small restaurant called "Lumbini Invitation 365" which was owned and run by a different management. Not that I missed Fusion Garden so much because the in-house restaurant in my own hotel - "Maitri Restaurant" was really good. And so was another restaurant called "Kudan" in hotel Peace Land nearby. Still, if Fusion Garden were in operation, I would have dined there in any case. But now in its place was Lumbini Invitation 365 which was empty when I went there. It was lunch time but April is lean-season in Lumbini and other restaurants too did not have many customers. There were a few tables set outside in the open that would be useful in the evening but not during a sunny afternoon. Inside, the restaurant looked OK with its pink walls, pink furniture, ceiling fans, and a bar counter. There was no air-conditioning but the signboard advertised "wifi" facility. 365 Restaurant is located opposite East Gate Number 4 of Lumbini Development Area, which is close to the Maya Devi Temple. It opens daily from 7.00am to 9.00pm. Keep reading...
|Lumbini Invitation 365 Restaurant|
Their menu was striking in terms of the availability of alcohol and the pricing of both booze and the food. A vegetarian Nepali Set Meal was only NPR 130 as compared to NPR 200 charged by Maitri and NPR 380 charged by Kudan. The vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian, Nepali, and Chinese snacks and curries all were marked less than other restaurants in Lumbini. Indian vegetarian curries cost between NPR 70 & 120 and non-vegetarian curries between 125 and 180. Veg noodles cost NPR 80 and Fried Fish NPR 125.
|Lumbini Bazar 365 Restaurant|
Surprisingly, 365's bar menu was larger than the other two restaurants I visited. They had not only Nepali and Indian spirits, but also international ones like J/W Black Label (NPR 350 for 60ml) and Teachers (NPR 220 for 60ml). All the possible brands of beer were there between NPR 250 and 300 per 650ml bottle. Even Tequila shots were on the menu starting at NPR 220 per shot. It looked like 365 was more of a bar than a restaurant. The booze was cheap and so was the food. See the menu below.
|Lumbini Invitation 365 Restaurant Food and Bar Menu|
I wanted a takeaway so I would be able to eat in my air-conditioned hotel room. I chose Tandoori Aloo Paratha with curd and it was not bad. In the name of staff, there was a single young boy in 365 Restaurant who disappeared after taking my order and returned after 15 minutes with my food packet. In his absence a couple of customers came and left, not willing to wait under those ceiling fans. May be it was temporary staff shortage or the restaurant was experiencing teething problems. Whatever it was, there is a serious need of a stand-alone restaurant in Lumbini and "Lumbini Invitation 365" has got the potential to fulfil that need if they keep their pricing intact and do some work on the service.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|