GRAND AVENUE, WEST OF 580 – January 2017
This month’s blog introduces High Peaks Kitchen, a new Indian cuisine restaurant at the former House of Curry location.
High Peaks Kitchen
On December 6, 2016, the extremely popular High Peaks Kitchen restaurant on College Avenue opened its second location at the former House of Curry, 391 Grand Avenue. In doing so, the founder of High Peaks (a former chef at House of Curry who left several years ago to form his own restaurant) has come full circle. The owners and employees at the Grand Avenue location are all from Tibet , which is nicknamed the “Roof of the World” for its towering peaks including Mt. Everest which it shares with Nepal. Tibet is an independent state under Chinese occupation southwest of China, and bordering India, Nepal, Burma and Bhutan on its southern border.
The chef at High Peaks on Grand Avenue, Nawang Tshring, brings 12 years of experience cooking at other Indian restaurants where he learned from each chef. Today he adds his own nuances to the curries and sauces in the traditional Indian dishes on the High Peaks menu. Full descriptions of each menu item are available on the High Peaks website. When ordering, you can indicate your desired level of spice: mild, medium or high. I recently enjoyed tender, boneless lamb vindaloo served medium spicy. The heat was satisfying without obscuring the flavors, even as I frequently reached for my water or the complimentary chai tea. An appetizer of vegetable pakora (veggies coated in spicy lentil batter and fried) plus garlic and cheese naan were excellent additions. Servings are generous. At the end of my meal, I had extra to take home and was too full to order a dessert of kheer (rice pudding flavored with green cardamom), gulab jamun (milk balls rolled in rose flavored syrup), or even a mango lassi (yogurt drink).
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Lhamo Dondrub, has said, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Bhutia received restaurant management training and obtained certification from the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals as an International Food Safety Manager. When the opportunity arose for him to manage High Peaks new location, he was eager to train staff in safe, professional food handling and cleaning procedures. Bhutia emphasizes that he is working hard to deliver better food and service to customers than the preceding restaurant. Today Bhutia beams when he says, “Happiness is very important. We provide good safe food for a healthy, happy life.”
Bhutia says that High Peaks Kitchen’s decor is intended to create the feeling of “a welcoming Tibetan Buddhist monastery.” A portrait of the Dalai Lama is mounted prominently on one wall. Four colorful, tubular hanging zenchay “symbolize umbrellas to protect from bad energy to keep [everyone] safe and to keep minds and souls away from negative energy,” says Bhutia. He grew up in India after escaping political oppression in Tibet by traveling through a mountain pass in Nepal, to a refugee camp in India. He sought a safe life in a compassionate, peaceful community that respects human rights. Two years ago he found that in Oakland.
The Grand Avenue location has a 150-person capacity with tables seating 2-6 people. No reservations are taken at this time. You may call 510-444-0240 or walk in to place a carry-out order. Free delivery is available from 5 PM to 10 PM for orders of $30 or more to addresses within 3 miles.
391 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
Mon 11 AM – 3 PM and 5 PM – 10 PM
Wed. – Sun. 11 AM – 3 PM and 5 PM – 10 PM
Carry-out and evening delivery (within 3 miles; minimum order $30)
EDITOR’S UPDATE: In October 2018, High Peaks closed for remodeling for two weeks and re-opened as GURU CURRY HOUSE. The chef, menu and hours and most importantly, the quality of the food and service have all remained the same. The photo below is of the new owner, Tashi Gyatso.