There is plenty to celebrate during the autumn months, with the equinox, apple harvest, Halloween, Bonfire Night and the excitement that builds for the Christmas festive season. During October and November, the Nepalese and Indian communities celebrate the Dashain and Diwali (or Deepawali) festivals respectively – colourful and vibrant with a focus on family and food.
So how do the Nepalese celebrate Dashain and where can you enjoy this traditional cuisine in and around Herefordshire? We list five of the best pubs and restaurants for you to try out this autumn.
Also known as The Festival of Togetherness, Dashain takes place over 10 days from 15 to 24 October and is Nepal’s biggest and most widely celebrated festival when families come together, communities unite and many people visit temples to express gratitude and seek blessings. Family members make long journeys to return home to ensure they can enjoy the festival together which involves feasting, dancing, storytelling and celebrating the Nepali culture. The most important day during Dashain is the tenth day, known as ‘Tika’, and family members get together to receive Tika and Jamara, a combination of maize and barley sprouts, from their elders.
Gurkha cuisine in and around Herefordshire
Herefordshire is home to many Nepalese, particularly Gurkhas, a unique unit in the Army and amongst the finest and most feared soldiers in the world. Nepalese families have made the county their home over many decades and we are very lucky to be able to enjoy their unique cuisine in a very small number of restaurants in and around Ross-on-Wye.
We list our top five Gurkha restaurants below, in Ross-on-Wye itself and a few a little further out in adjoining counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and over the border into Wales.
1. Yaks & Yetis
This intimate little restaurant, located at the bottom of Ross-on-Wye town centre on Brookend Street, is a magnet for anyone looking for a genuine Nepalese/Tibetan dining experience. With vegan, vegetarian, meat, fish, sharing plates and takeaway options, there is something for everyone. The starters are delicious and include momo dumplings (vegetarian or meat) or tareko macha, salmon chunks marinated in Nepalese herbs and spices. One of the most popular mains is their signature Himalayan Stew which you can have with fish, meat or just vegetables, served with a side of noodles, rice or lentils. If you fancy a traditional platter, go for the Nepali Thali Set (Dal Bhat Tarkari) which is a little of everything and includes a meat, fish or vegetable dish, lentil soup, spinach, boiled rice, poppadom, tomato chutney, yoghurt and salad.
- Location: Yaks and Yetis, 1 Brookend Street, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7EG / 01989 218280
- Website: www.yaksandyetis.co.uk
2. The Roadmaker Inn
Around five miles outside of Ross-on-Wye, you’ll find The Roadmaker Inn just off the B4221 in the little village of Gorsley. Originally a cider house, The Roadmaker Inn is owned and run by former British Ghurka Soldiers, who served in the 1st Royal Ghurka Rifles. They create beautiful English and Nepalese food using fresh local produce wherever possible and the pub is always extremely popular with locals and visitors. There is a large public bar with wood burner plus a spacious restaurant which has seating for up to 50 people and can be hired for special occasions or corporate functions. Serving delicious Nepalese curries and also traditional Sunday lunches, booking is advisable, however, note they will be closed on Tuesday 24 October and Wednesday 15 November 2023 to celebrate Dashain & Diwali.
- Location: The Roadmaker Inn, Gorsley, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7SW / 01989 720352
- Website: theroadmakerinn.co.uk
3. The Blue Bell
In the adjacent county of Worcestershire, if you’re planning a day trip from Ross-on-Wye, you’ll find The Blue Bell pub and restaurant in the little village of Ryall serving a wonderful array of Nepalese and Indian food. Head out of Ross on the M50, turning north at Junction 1, and you’ll find The Blue Bell on the A38 just before you reach Ryall (around 30 minutes away). This lovely traditional dog-friendly pub is owned and managed by an ex-Ghurkha soldier who served in the Army for 22 years and now enjoys welcoming people into his restaurant to enjoy a wide range of delicious dishes. Open 6 days a week (closed Mondays), you’ll find traditional Gurkha cuisine, including their signature Gurkha Rifle Hot Curry, Momo dumplings, tandoori choices as well as traditional Indian curries and biriyanis. Eat inside or al fresco in one of their heated garden huts.
- Location: The Blue Bell, Grove Crescent, Ryall, Upton upon Severn WR8 0PP/ 01684 649217
- Website: thebluebellgurkha.co.uk
4. Gurkha Restaurant & Bar
Heading in the opposite direction, around 25 miles on a scenic route south of Ross-on-Wye, you’ll reach the Gurkha Restaurant & Bar in The Woolaston Inn in Lydney. The extensive menu combines Nepalese, Indian and Himalayan cuisine with over a dozen starters including the traditional Momo dumplings and a Gurkha Special Platter (an assortment of King Prawn, Lamb Sekuwa, Tandoori & Chicken Tikka). A huge range of main dishes covers the traditional Indian curries as well as special Nepalese creations including Nepalese Chicken/Lamb using slow-cooked fresh chicken or Hereford lamb with ginger, garlic, onion tomato and fresh Nepali masala.
- Location: Gurkha Restaurant & Bar, Brookend, Woolaston, Lydney GL15 6PW / 01594 529222
- Website: www.woolastoninn.co.uk
5. Gurkha Corner Restaurant
If, during your stay in Ross-on-Wye, you decide to venture out to enjoy the Brecon Beacons over the Welsh border and have worked up an appetite, why not swing by top Gurkha restaurant in Abergavenny just half an hour’s drive from Ross? Ranking #3 in Abergavenny’s nearly 70 restaurants, this top quality Gurkha restaurant serves up a wide range of traditional Nepalese choices including gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, seafood specialities and delicious meat dishes.
- Location: Gurkha Corner Restaurant, 10 Nevill Street, Abergavenny NP7 5AD / 01873 855800
- Website: gurkhacorners.co.uk
For more suggestions for eating out in Ross-on-Wye, head to our ‘Eat and Drink‘ page.