Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Haldi is one the new new venues Michelin-starred Executive Chef Hemant Mathur is devoting his time and talent to grow. Chef Mathur is not unknown to me as I was lucky enough to taste his amazing food at Tulsi in November 2013 (he got a Michelin star there), but without a chance to meet with him. I mean, he has an impressive resume: worked at Bukhara, one of the popular restaurants in Deli that I tried last year; he teamed up to open Devi, getting a Michelin star in 2007, being the first Indian restaurant in the country to get one. I admit that I did not like Devi that since closed, but it was anyway way after Chef Mathur left the restaurant.
We spoke a bit with Chef Mathur and I was truly pleased to see how nice and humble he is (he was also going from table to table to check with the patrons how the food was). Contrary to Devi or Tulsi, Haldi is more casual.
Food wise, the menu is not your usual Indian menu: there are of course traditional Indian dishes like Chicken Tikka Massala or vegetable samosas, but the majority of the dishes were unknown to me. These were regional specialties from Bengal as well as Rajasthan (Marwari). I should also mention the jewish bites and entrées that I have never seen before. So we tried different dishes in a tasting size. With my meal, I tried the different kinds of lassi: mango, salty (made with black salt and cumin) and sweet.
After we sat, they brought us some papadum with tamarind sauce to open our appetite.
Then, came our appetizers. The first ones where from Bengal.
Jhal Muri or puffed rice, peanuts, green chutney and tomatoes.
Lamb egg roll, that is different from the Chinese egg roll and is more similar to a kati roll that had been fried.
It was served with a garlic and onion chutney.
Chingri Malai or shrimp in a coconut and tamarind sauce, served with lachi that is a fried bread similar to puri.
Then, we got cheese samosas that are a jewish recipe.
All these appetizers were delicious, my favorite being the chingri malai: that sauce was incredibly good!
Then, the entrées came. No chicken tikka massala for me as it is too standard. We had some vegetarian dishes that were succulent. First was the kali dal, made with black lentils and being similar to dal makhni (so creamy, yum):
The other one was the Haldi paneer (from Rajasthan). Paneer is cottage cheese; at Haldi, they smother it in a tomato and onion gravy.
I then could not resist trying the lamb kebab, served with papaya, poppy seeds and habanero pepper.
As well as the shrimp ajwai tikka, served in a creamy marinade.
Last was chicken makhmura, a jewish entrée. It was diced chicken in an almond-cashew sauce.
We ate our entrées with either rice or some deliciously buttery naan bread.
We were definitely full after all these dishes, but could not resist to try one of their desserts: misti dhoi that is a custard made of caramelized sugar, reduced milk and yogurt.
Last, we drank a massala chai, that definitely helped digest after such a meal.
This was delicious: Haldi is definitely an Indian restaurant I recommend. The food, quite unusual, was fantastic and with the right amount of heat. I cannot wait to try the other restaurants of Chef Mathur and will certainly go back to Haldi.
Enjoy (I did)!
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