10220 103 St. NW, Edmonton – Website
Date of Visit: July 14, 2015
I tried a couple of times to have dinner at this place after seeing it near my hotel but was initially thwarted; first, I was sidetracked by a Tapas Bar that happened to be on the way and, on the second attempt, on a Sunday, I discovered they close that day only after I arrived. I finally made it for lunch on the very last day of my visit to Edmonton…
Ambience and Service
Haweli is nicely and exotically furnished without being overdone and the first thing that strikes you as you enter is the lovely spicy aromas that fill the whole restaurant. There is a little lounge area at the front and a very attractive bar done in dark wood and copper. The only thing I didn’t like the place was the music, which I found too loud.
I arrived just before the lunch hour on a Monday and was the first customer. It began to fill almost immediately and most people, I noticed, came for the buffet. I, however, elected to order from the menu. I was served immediately and my waiter was very polite and efficient during my entire visit. In some places, I have found the wait staff getting almost rude if you order from the menu when there is a buffet but that didn’t happen here at all.
The menu is largely what you will find in most western Indian restaurants with the typical curries, vegetarian dishes, rice selections and breads. I was a little surprised that they described their Beef Vindaloo as being a delicacy of southern India. I think there is a largish Christian community in southern India who do consume Beef, but the Vindaloo is actually a specialty of the tiny state of Goa in Western India. There was a very interesting curry made with Goat that I would like to have tried but I decided to go with a selection of appetizers instead.
Complimentary Pappadum – These 4 pappads were served with 3 relishes. There was a sweetish brown sauce that was mildly spicy but not describable otherwise, as well as a Cilantro relish I didn’t like much. The third was a chutney that I think was based on mango that I did enjoy a great deal. It was unfortunate that the Papads were not crisp and had clearly been made well ahead rather than fried to order. These only rated a 2 out of 5.
Aloo Tiki – This consisted of patties of spiced mashed potatoes stuffed, according to the menu, with cilantro and then pan fried. As it turned out, I could taste no cilantro at all but the patties did include peas and some lentils which added a nice texture along with whole spices. The patties were served on a bed of shredded cabbage and there was a Raita on the side. I did try this but I really do not like raw yoghurt so I won’t try to rate the quality. There was also an interesting garnish of what I took to be red pepper but which turned out to be lovely pickled onion sections. I do not know where the red color came from but it was delicious. I rated the whole, very nicely spiced preparation at a 5 out if 5.
Fish Pakora – The fish here is Basa fillet and it is first blended with various spices, including a Tandoori Masala, and then deep fried. I can’t say the batter was actually much spicier than a western batter with pepper and paprika added and the spice blend dusted on afterwards was less a Tandoori mix as I usually think of it, but rather a Chaat style Masala quite heavy with Black Salt. It was still very nice, though and I really didn’t miss the fact that there was no Raita or other accompaniment beyond the same pickled onion that came with the previous dish. I rated this at a 3 out of 5.
Tandoori Beef Ribs – The ribs, in this preparation are flanken cut and barbecued in a tandoor. I was asked what spiciness level I wanted and chose medium. The ribs themselves were beautifully cooked with a nice char on the outside and tender inside. They weren’t especially (hot) spicy themselves but the sauce on the side was quite fiery. I thought these were excellent and gave them a 5 out of 5.
Haweli is a very nice little restaurant and I enjoyed everything despite my few minor criticisms. I wish my wife could have been with me as she would really have enjoyed the meal. I gave the place a 4 out of 5.