A tucked-away Nepalese restaurant has been named not only the best in Swindon but all of Wiltshire.

Gurkha Indian and Nepalese Restaurant is a “piece of Nepal in Swindon” according to owner, Suraj Bhandari, and a pretty tasty piece at that.

Suraj used to run a restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal, and now Gurkha in Swindon, Wiltshire has won the Best Indian Restaurant Wiltshire in Lux Life’s 2024 Food and Drink Awards.

Despite the award’s name, Suraj said: “We serve really authentic Nepalese cuisine. We are one of the few places to do this.”

The restaurant’s specialities include typical street foods, such as momos (Nepalese dumplings), while the most popular main is lamb handi.

This is slow-cooked lamb on the bone, cooked in onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. 

Suraj says they are one of the few Swindon establishments serving lamb on the bone in this way, or using certain spices like Szechuan pepper.

It is the authenticity of the food cooked by Nepalese chefs and a relaxed dining atmosphere that makes Gurka popular, Suraj thinks.

(Image: Newsquest)

He said: “There are so many Nepalese restaurants that do Indian blend, mixing with Indian curries.

“We try to do a more pure Nepalese type with an authentic Nepalese taste.”

The food is sourced daily from local suppliers, with the proprietor going shopping every day before service.

He has previously run restaurants in Didcot, Nottingham and took over Gurkha, which opened in 2022, in 2023.

He claims not to be interested in awards: “When I saw we won I was excited, but not much. I am not focused on that. 

“But I would like to give more people more opportunities to try Nepalese food.”

The main barrier to this ambition, Suraj thinks, is his current premises which, like Nepal, one must climb to reach on its first-floor premises.

(Image: Newsquest)

This has been one of the challenges of the restaurant, Suraj says, as lack of street presence means they receive few walk-ins.

He hopes to resolve this issue by moving to a larger venue at street level.

The restaurant is currently only open from 3pm, and he also wants to start a lunch service.

However, for now Suraj is happy with the positive online reviews; he points to 4.7 stars from 193 Google reviews and five-star Tripadvisor reviews. They were recently contacted to feature in The Good Food Guide, and 

He said: “Most of the reviews are nice, people are really liking us. We are trying our best.”

Gurkha is at 188-189, Victoria Road. The entrance is on Byron Road, above Kaizen.