Down a quaint wee brick alley in Parnell, along a stone wall covered in fake flowers then past a tempting gelato shop you'll find a set of stairs up to Everest. A much easier climb than the mountain I imagine but perhaps equally as rewarding (for those who like good food rather than being really cold and up high).
The interior of the restaurant is modest but full of character, characterised by wooden beams and roofing, adorned with large framed photos of its namesake, pieces of exotic art and images of historic Nepalese temples. Despite the pristine white tablecloths, waistcoated staff and impeccable service, the vibe is fairly casual and relaxed — perhaps helped by the fact Everest allows BYO wine. Complimentary poppadoms with a tomato, chilli and herb chutney are placed on our table to start. Our eyes widened as we dip chips in the sauce full of chilli and tomato, zesty and intense in flavour.
When deciding on what to order you've got quite the mountain to climb, with a huge array of choices including all manner of Nepalese and Indian curries and starters. After much umming and ahhing, we ordered the Mo:Mo — a delicate but flavourful lamb dumpling served with that amazing tomato chutney. For mains we went with the Everest Jhinge Macha curry ($22) — a traditional Nepalese dish featuring fresh prawns in a ginger, cumin, garlic and coriander sauce — plus a good old Indian butter chicken ($19). Both were ordered extra spicy and I was pleasantly surprised (and a little teary) to see that unlike many curry joints in Auckland — when you order extra spicy, you get extra spicy. The butter chicken was delicious by all accounts and the Macha was phenomenal. Nepalese curries don't include cream so flavours of the herbs and prawns were easily identifiable, creating a complex and delicious flavour. I'd climb a mountain for curry this good.
When I'd wiped my tears and put a stop to the hiccups post-Jhinge Macha, I paid a very reasonable bill and considered Everest as a whole. Its unique cuisine and interior, fantastic location, great service, decent drinks list and BYO option make it the highest peak of Indian and Nepalese dining in Parnell — one I'll be scaling again soon.