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East Idaho Eats: Himalayan Flavor debuts Indian-Nepalese lunch buffet

Food

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Butter Chicken, Jasmine Rice, Chicken Biryani and Garlic Naan from Himalayan Flavor. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

POCATELLO — Unique flavors and spice. That is what Roshan Kumar, known simply as Kumar, wanted to bring to Pocatello when he opened an Indian-Nepalese restaurant in 2018.

Himalayan Flavor, located on Alameda Road, does exactly that, dishing out Butter Chicken, Tikka Masala and Naan cooked in a traditional clay oven. And these delightful bites, all scratch-made following Kumar’s own recipes, are now available in a lunch buffet.

A buffet that includes a rare to-go option.

“This is for the people who don’t feel safe eating inside the restaurant,” Kumar said. “We’ll give you a discount and you can take it home, [or] to work, and you can eat there.”

The dine-in price for the buffet is $11.99. Those who would rather take their food to go can pay $8.99 for a three-compartment container they can fill and take with them.

Owner-manager Kumar and the staff at Himalayan Flavor in Pocatello begin preparation for a new buffet on Feb. 10, 2021. The buffet, which opened on Feb. 19, will include some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes served mild, though heat can be added. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

Ordering food at Himalayan Flavor comes with a couple of added steps. After choosing a dish, patrons are asked to choose a spice level on a scale of one to 10. Kumar, who joked that he has toned down his spice with age to a seven, recommends starting at a mild level. Spice can always be added, he said.

The food served to me was a five on the scale, as requested. But spice was easily added in the kitchen. The process took no more than a minute.

Most notable, aside from the unique flavor brought to life by house-made spice blends, is the tenderness of the protein found in Himalayan Flavor’s dishes. Chicken especially, which can easily dry out in dishes like curry.

This is not the case here. Using special techniques Kumar would not share with EastIdahoNews.com, Himalayan Flavor has mastered the ability to keep cubes of chicken breast juicy.

Like so many businesses, particularly those in the foodservice industry, Himalayan Flavor had to slow from expansion to survival during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as the state begins to reopen, Kumar hopes to return to normal.

Among his goals, the Idaho State University alum intends to add daily specials, bringing even more of his native food to southeast Idaho. The restaurant is also looking forward to getting back to the party atmosphere on weekends, which includes live music.

A date has not yet been set for musical entertainment, though Kumar assured EastIdahoNews.com that musicians are ready for the call.

For the time being, patrons will have to settle for delicious and unique food, set to their preferred spice level, complimentary chai masala tea and a clean welcoming atmosphere.

And that atmosphere can be found in the Fred Meyer parking lot, across Alameda Road from WINCO, Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for dinner, and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Their menu and web ordering options can be at HimalayanFlavor.com

If you want to make a recommendation for the next destination to be included on East Idaho Eats, email Kalama@EastIdahoNews.com and include “EATS” in the subject line.

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