Yak Cafe is a restaurant serving all-day Tibetan breakfasts, momos, and Indian dishes in bento boxes.
The newest addition to a small bevy of Tibetan restaurants between Macdonnell and Fuller Avenues, Yak Cafe feels more modern than its traditional counterparts.
Bringing over family recipes from India, Tenzin Choedak and his two partners designed the casual eatery to be dine-in and takeout friendly.
The space is woodsy, with a white-brick wall dotted with plants on one side and an scenic mural of Tibet on another.
I've never tried portions of Tibetan food served in a bento box ($8.99), so seeing chow mein, chilli chicken, veggies and a Tibetan steamed bun all placed served together is a change.
The puffy steamed tingmo bun streaked with yellow (from hints of turmeric) is definitely the star of the bento. The chilli chicken also comes in a larger portion ($8.99), and with less corn starch than usual.
Also a standout are the pickled cabbages in the soy sauce tray. Less vinegary and more spicy than you'd expect, these bright pink veggies are fermented for two days with chilli.
The great Indian thali ($7.99) comes with a choice of chicken or beef curry, rice, puri, cholay (curried chickpeas) and dal (red lentils).
The puri is whole wheat, and puffy. On weekends only, the special thali ($8.99) comes with mutton or lamb curry.
In the centre of the tray is a single gulab jamun, a sweet Indian dessert ball akin to a Greek loukamades, or a Timbit.
Momos come at ($7.99) a basket in veggie or beef with more pickled cabbage in the center.
The vegetarian momos are my favourite: juicy and filled with tofu and wrapped in a spinach skin, joined by a small dish of red hot spice and another oily, green chilli sauce.
A portion of gyuma – Tibetan blood saussage – is definitely a more gamey version of a regular sausage with a grainier texture, topped with carrots and onions.
A cold lemon noodle comes dry with a fried egg, grilled beef, corn, peas, and a wedge of lemon.
The noodle to toppings ratio here is a little uneven and leaves it in need of some extra sauce.
A more interesting meal might have been the restaurant's breakfast, the Yak Special ($7.99) which comes with egg, sausage or bacon, potatoes, cholay, and housemade Tibetan bread served with tea.
Other breakfast options include chole bathura ($5.99) of chickpeas and flour and aloo parantha – housemade flat bread – served with cholay and yogurt ($5.99). Pair it with mango lassi ($2.99) or a strawberry version to go with your meal.