Sep 23, 2022 - Food and Drink

Austin Uzbek restaurant serves divine dumplings

Dumplings and shashlik at Bowlmenu
Heavenly dumplings, foreground, and shashlik at Bowlmenu, hidden away in a sprawling northwest Austin strip mall. Photo: Asher Price/Axios

Our never-ending search for perfect dumplings — who among us doesn't love a dumpling? — took us to Bowlmenu, an Uzbek restaurant tucked into a corner of one of northwest Austin's great strip malls.

  • The sprawling spot, by the corner of U.S. 183 and Spicewood Springs Road, includes a baseball card shop, an Indian supermarket, a ramen spot, a butcher, a Bollywood dance studio and an eyebrow threading salon.
  • We firmly believe that some of Austin's best food can be found in its (relatively) low-rent strip malls — and Bowlmenu confirmed the theory.

The ambiance: Framed posters of Uzbek monuments like the Hotel Tashkent. Muzak versions of "Let It Be" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" waft in the background.

  • The friendly husband-and-wife team Alex and Barno Khol cook the food, take orders and run the cash register.

What we ate: Clear-brothed, deep red, onion-y and excellent borscht; smoky, grilled chicken and lamb shashlik; a comfort-food rice-and-lamb dish called palov.

What we loved best: Besides the borscht, definitely order the divine dumplings, called manti. Pillowy, with a light pumpkin filling inside.

Pro tip: To try something new, grab an Ayron, a lightly salted yogurt drink.

If you go: Bowlmenu, in the mall at 8650 Spicewood Springs Road, is open 11am-9pm Tuesday through Sunday.

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