Kailash Kitchen - momos and all things Tibetan

If you live in Chennai, chances are that you've heard of Kailash Kitchen which serves Tibetan food. You would also have heard that it's really tough to get a seat in the restaurant and there are queues even for the takeaways.
True, all true!

The patient queue

Fortunately, I knew someone who knew someone who could get us into the restaurant, the only condition was that we had to be there pretty early. So we were. But first, finding it wasn't easy. The instruction was that it was located beside a bakery and opposite a block of apartments. We found both, but not the restaurant. Finally my friend had to come out and there it was - the signboard reading 'Kailash Kitchen' under a staircase - a blink-and-you'll-miss-it entrance! There are corridors on two sides where lines of people wait either to be seated or for their takeaway orders. On the dot of 12.30 pm, the door to the teeny tiny restaurant is opened and in the space of half a minute, all 4 tables were occupied while the queue outside grew longer.

The restaurant is dimly lit, prayer flags hang over the doorway. On the wall is a picture of the Dalai Lama. Other than the four tables and sixteen chairs, there are a few plastic stools that can seat a handful more. Up in front, there is a table on which cutlery and napkins are arranged. People just go and help themselves to whatever they want.

Food passing through the Judas window

Most of the patrons are students from nearby colleges. They are obviously regulars, an orderly lot. There's no pushing or shoving and they don't even need to look at the menu. They write down their orders on the order form and pass it over to the single waiter who takes it into the kitchen. Two of them sat at our table and while chatting with them, we learnt that they eat at Kailash Kitchen five times a week! And that the food tastes consistently the same.

Bowls and plates of food start coming out - not through the door but through the Judas window set on the wall between the kitchen and dining area. Whoever is passing out the food is really quick, as is the waiter who deftly grabs it and the window shuts. It all happens so fast that we just can't click a clear picture.

Steamed beef momos

The menu is entirely Tibetan with mothuks, momos, thupka... noodles and noodle based mains. Momos are the Tibetan version of dumplings, the skin is different from the Chinese dumpling pastry. Tibetan momos are made of plain flour and have a more robust flavour. We order steamed and fried beef momos which are served with chilli sauce and are really tasty. There's lots of filling and the wrapper is quite thin.

Fried momos

I love the fried ones as the skins have a beautiful crisp texture. The chilli sauce is spicy and perfect with it. They have chicken and vegetable variations apart from beef.

Tso-tse mien

Tso-tse mien is soft white noodles in a thin broth, topped with chopped capsicum and minced beef. The taste of capsicum is quite strong, the broth, flavoured with soya sauce, is hearty. They have a chicken version too.

Dhangthuk with chicken

My friend recommends the chicken dhangthuk. It's described as spicy cold noodle salad tossed in sesame oil. There's spring onion, cabbage, carrot, chicken and noodles and the combination is absolutely divine. The sesame oil gives the dish a lovely toasted fragrance and I love the simplicity of the flavours though it is a tad oily. A glass of cold lime juice is perfect to wash it all down with.

There's also a plate of shapta - slices of stir fried beef with capsicum. The meat is a little tough but the flavour is deliciously spicy.

The bill for the three of us came to just shy of 600/ and that included a takeaway of a plate each of momos and chow mien. No wonder they run out of food by about 5 in the afternoon. And when that happens, the kitchen closes for the day.

Kailash Kitchen serves food that is simple and homely. Obviously it's a winning formula. Their weekly off is on Monday.

Kailash Kitchen
2/247, Perinbavilas Complex
Opp Chitra Apartments
Choolaimedu High Road
Chennai 600094.
98402 61399


  1. Lovely post Sara. Now I wanna run to Kailash Kitchen (given the distance, I can literally do it and reach in 5mins flat) and get the fried momos. :D Have to wait till Tuesday now, Monday being a holiday for the kitchen.

  2. the best momos I ever had.Dhankthuk is my another favourite. Will go there tomorrow. By the way, I was wondering whether you have any idea about the recipe of the chutny.If yes, pls let me know.

    1. FYI - they have opened a branch of sorts at Besantnagar, hope you're aware of that. As for the chutney - nope. But it should be somewhere on Google.


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