Blowout Sundays: Himalayan Sports Club

At the flour mill - the door to hell

At the flour mill - the door to hell

I’m living with a caveman and although I’ve yet to be dragged back to the cave by my hair, for the past few months my husband has been avoiding carbs, eating huge quantities of meat and exercising in furious bursts as if being pursued by wild animals.  It looks more like New-Man Yoga to me, but he insists he’s remaining true to his primitive man credo and in the process turning his body into a temple as he eschews sugar in all forms.

Perhaps I’m a bit unreconstructed myself, but personally I think it’s no bad thing for a man to look plumped up on his wife’s pies and cakes, but the Caveman has other ideas.  He’s been on a mission to get back to his pre-marriage sylph-like self and convince the rest of us that mashed potato is the devil’s work.

Our month in Kullu is a huge test of Caveman resolve. Even in the most difficult times (Delhi in the summer), I don’t like to go more than a couple of days without baking but while we’re in Kullu I often spend whole days in the kitchen. And I’m not steaming vegetables or spit-roasting hogs.

As the kids and I punctuate our days with ‘Elevenses’ (muffins or pancakes) and Afternoon Tea (chai and cake), the Caveman is struggling to stay on the straight and narrow.  So far vanity has triumphed over gluttony but at the weekend a chink appeared when he announced the arrival of ‘Blowout Sundays’.  For one day a week, he solemnly declared, we could bring him cake, chips, sugary tea and beer.

Himalaya Sports Club

Himalaya Sports Club

So last Sunday we headed up the valley to Nehru Kund, past Manali and Vashisht and the shacks selling moth-eaten ski wear, to the Himalayan Sports Club. The ‘Club’, a place for which the term ‘Blowout Sunday’ might have been invented, is run by an Austrian who has been living in the area for as long as anyone can remember.  Martin married a local girl and now has two grown-up daughters who help him every Sunday when he lays a handful of tables in  his beautiful garden and cooks up a storm for the lucky few in the know.

His menu is small (always a good sign), but Martin has built up such a huge word-of-mouth following for his signature chicken and chips you have to book days in advance. Among the happy diners last Sunday was the Maharajah of Nalagarh and his extended family, who like us devoured greedily.

Martin (in white) strugglingto keep up with demand

Martin (in white) strugglingto keep up with demand

We all had the chicken which was roasted simply, but to perfection, with a deeply savoury, crispy skin. The chips were a perfect partner and reminded  Caveman and I of ‘Chicken in a Basket’ pub meals of the 1970s. The pizzas coming out of the wood-fired oven also looked impressive and the puddings, a carrot cake and what our youngest heard as ‘Google Cake’ but I think was an Austrian Kugelhof,  were expertly made and a perfectly toothsome finale.

Caveman Blowout

Caveman Blowout

With half a chicken, a mountain of chips and a bottle of beer in front of him, the Caveman didn’t draw breath for at least 20 minutes and then only to ask our youngest if he could polish off his too.

Caveman’s not the only one counting the moments till next Sunday.

Martin’s at Himalayan Sports Club

4 miles out of Manali on the road to Leh,

Over the bridge at Nehru Kund, then ask a local

To book, phone Martin on +91 9816056518


9 thoughts on “Blowout Sundays: Himalayan Sports Club

  1. so you are giving your caveman a tough time……such that he decided to the sunday blowouts….he he…….
    even i don’t mind a man plumped up with his wife’s cakes n pies or may be some halva n chhole bhature….
    and what was that google…er..kugelhof cake like..

  2. Hi Sangeeta – The Kugelhof Cake was a bit like a plain Madeira cake with raisins in. I looked it up though and the true Kugelhof is supposed to be a yeast cake.

  3. Ha,ha-hats off to the caveman for resisting your tempting dishes for 6 days! He certainly deserves a feast after all that fasting 😉

  4. Hey Pamela first things first…congratulations…a wonderful blog..
    and then a bit of envy… you are living our Manali dream! We have bought quite a few homes up in the they say pigs will fly..
    A good friend’s spanish sister-in-law Martha runs a resort and a restaurant called Casabella(its close to Tito’s i think) try it perhaps on yr next blowout sunday..
    and then there is this nice cheese manufacturer in manali and the trout fishing is quite nice too…

  5. Great read. I love the Caveman!!! He sounds like a terrific man struggling with the ease of Yes & giving the path to strong pecs, good blood & inner smug a really good go.
    More caveman stories please….

  6. Hey Chris – fancy seeing you here! You’re right, I’ve been neglecting the Caveman theme! I’ll email you with other news! Love to all

  7. derBeobachter – We had another wonderful lunch there on Sunday – sad we won’t go back for another year but Martin’s Apfel Strudel features in my Mint column this Satuday

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