Jheenga Pakora at the Haveli Restaurant in Ottawa
The Haveli Indian restaurant in Ottawa’s Byward Market is gone now, and has since been replaced by the very excellent India Curry and Kebab House. Still, before Haveli closed its doors, I enjoyed many lovey meals there over the years. Unfortunately, the Jheenga (Shrimp) Pakora pictured above was not one of their better efforts.
One thing I liked about Haveli was their outdoor, sidewalk patio and, on this particular occasion, I sat outside on what was a very sultry evening. I usually would have ordered one to of the two Indian beers they stocked as a starter, but they were doing a special on something called a ‘Bombay Blast’, featuring Rum and a number of Tropical fruit juices including lots of Mango. This turned out to be surprisingly good and worth a second.
Pappadums used to be a regular complimentary starter in Indian restaurants, but the practise seems to be falling out of fashion and, in many places, you must order, and pay, for them separately. At Haveli, they still continue the tradition and theirs, at least on this occasion, was prepared with Cumin Seed and is one of my favorites. Surprisingly, they didn’t serve either a Tamarind or Mint Chutney with it, as is somewhat standard, but in truth, I didn’t miss them at all.
Anyway, as for the Shrimp Appetizer this dish looked quite pretty but was ultimately rather mediocre. The menu described it as being Shrimp lightly battered with herbs and spices but the batter was not spicy and was only saved from being completely bland with addition of a few fragments of Cilantro. The accompanying dipping sauce was yoghurt with lots of mint and, though this helped give some flavor to the Pakora, the whole effect was not especially tasty or interesting. I felt the Jheenga Pakora at Haveli deserved only a Rating of 2 out of 5.