A NEPALESE restaurant dubbed a “hidden gem” in Reading has won praise from customers, leading to a nomination for this year’s Reading Retail Awards.

Himalaya Momo House is up for the 2016 Restaurant of the Year gong.

The 34-seat restaurant has been running for four years, with the last two under the stewardship of general manager Bir Chhantyal.

He said: “I am pleased to hear that everyone approves of what we do.”

The Caversham eatery serves authentic Nepalese cuisine, including the eponymous momos which are a type of dumpling native to the country.

Momo’s, as the place is affectionately known, has already earned rave reviews on its website and TripAdvisor page.

Regular customer Sally Hunt decided to nominate the restaurant for the Retail Awards after an offhand chat with her hairdresser about it.

“I recommended it to several of my friends, all of whom have had a great meal,” said Mrs Hunt, 53, who works as a receptionist at the University of Reading.

“Never before have I been to a restaurant where the owner and staff are so attentive.

“Bir is always very friendly, he remembers all of our names and often drives us back home after we have eaten.”

Mr Chhantyal, who hails from the west of Nepal, gained experience managing Reading casinos before taking over Momo’s.

“Everyone has been fantastic in supporting us,” he said.

The varied menu caters for all tastes and the chefs can even alter dishes to suit any individual.

But Mrs Hunt recommends the non-vegetable thali, one of the signature Nepalese dishes, to first time guests.

She added: “The dumpuk biryani is the best you’ll ever get and their butter chicken is to die for. It is very rich and has the full flavour of real butter.”

Mr Chhantyal hopes to expand the company in a few years into a franchising model.

“I want to develop the business to the next level,” he said.

“It will be difficult but I am ready to take on the challenges ahead.”