One thing I love about the London food scene is the endless list of cuisines on offer. I could easily eat out every day for the rest of my life and will always find something new to try.
In my opinion, some of the best food I’ve tasted can be found in the most unexpected places, away from prying eyes and the tourist crowds. London is full of undiscovered treasures and I’ve made it my mission to try as many as possible in this lifetime.
On this occasion I found myself on a disappointing side street in Woolwich, home of the ‘Nepalese Curry Restaurant of the Year’ – Maya DD’s. The little shop on the corner of Angelsea Road couldn’t be further from what I was expecting and exudes a cool and unassuming aura.
READ MORE: “I’ve been to the eponymous pubs in central London and they’re all just around the corner – and they couldn’t be more different.”
The London Curry Awards awarded them the crown at the end of June, making me curious about what it takes to be named best in the business. And when the word “curry” is mentioned, Nepalese cuisine is not usually the first thing that comes to mind.
Can’t say I knew much about the food scene in Nepal, but Maya DD’s provided the perfect opportunity to learn and experience authentic cooking right on my doorstep. The restaurant was empty when I arrived, as expected for a Friday lunchtime, leaving me completely free to enjoy my meal in peace.
Despite the quiet surroundings, a steady stream of JustEat and Deliveroo riders poured through the door during my time there, proving that Maya’s is a popular eatery—even in the middle of the day. I can’t say that the interior design of the restaurant was anything special as beige walls were combined with brown faux leather chairs and gray flooring.
But a restaurant is not defined by the choice of its decoration. Maya’s was clean and tidy so I couldn’t complain about the hygiene factor. As I sat at my table, with the sun’s blazing heat on my back, I was handed what can only be described as a leather-bound book, like something out of a fantasy movie.
The menu was extensive and reminiscent of a picture book, detailing what each dish contained. Momo are bite-sized dumplings from Nepal and Tibet that are filled with a spoonful of filling and can be served in a variety of ways. I had heard so much about the snack that trying one for myself was the only right thing to do.
His name took me back over a decade and reminded me of the cute cartoon fly lemur of the same name from a TV show I watched as a teenager… and occasionally spent on Netflix all those years later. This momo also loved food.
I also ordered the thukpa – a Tibetan noodle soup with vegetables (there were also meat options) – alongside my steamed vegetable momos and a side of bhatura (a fluffy fried bread spiced with cumin). What I couldn’t get over were the prices, they almost didn’t seem real. For my three items and a bottle of Sprite, my total bill came to… wait a minute… £16.85.
I was amazed, I was amazed, I was beyond speechless. Maya just proved that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on food to make it worthwhile.
Especially in a crisis in the cost of living, restaurants should not scare off potential customers with excessive prices, even if it is not their fault. Eating out shouldn’t be reserved for those who can afford London prices.
Before my order arrived I was presented with a complimentary simple salad of shredded lettuce, cucumber and carrot. A nice fresh touch to prepare me for what was to come.
First came Bhatura and Momos, of which there were ten, yes ten, the latter. I couldn’t believe my luck, I hit the jackpot.
I couldn’t resist any longer, so I dived straight into the momo and poked the dough with my fork. There were boiling hot vegetables and spices. Thanks to the cumin, such a small bite was full of flavor.
My mom got a tangy but simple sauce made with tomatoes, cilantro, chili and a hint of garlic. It was really impressive and my whites shone through as I felt snot slowly make its way onto my upper lip.
This was the epitome of comfort food. having a bad day? momo feeling stressed? momo All answers lead to Momo.
The bhatura was light and fluffy, tearing apart with ease. Every time I picked it up, a thin layer of oil coated my fingertips.
My thukpa arrived shortly after, and the steam rose endlessly from the bowl. It was fragrant, flavorful and just plain delicious. It was beautiful, something I would wish for on a cold winter’s day.
I couldn’t have asked for anything more from a lunch. Everything was just perfect. Maya’s was a true hidden gem in south London.
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You could have served me the whole thing and snagged a £40 Pierce tag and I wouldn’t have been surprised. The promise of dining at the “Nepalese Restaurant of the Year” was not disappointed.
Maya DD’s is a restaurant to shout about as loud as you can, and I’m glad to be the one who does. If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Nepal in London, head south of the river.
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