You would not expect a restaurant of this calibre to be situated within in a small shopping area of Darras Hall - placed next door to a sandwich shop and co-op supermarket the elegant building kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. However it's location certainly did not put diner's off and the restaurant had a lovely buzz about it as we arrived at 8pm on a Thursday evening.
I was immediately impressed with the stylish surroundings and more importantly, the warm welcome we received at Haveli. The restaurant manager Atul has worked at 5 star establishments throughout the world and this is certainly evident throughout service. His team are an absolute credit to him - I watched as they effortlessly ensured every single diner was looked after. We had a few questions about the menu and it was very refreshing to see that all of the staff knew the menu inside out and could answer our queries with ease. They all seem to genuinely care about your experience and clearly enjoy working as part of the Haveli team.
We were taken to our table for the evening and perused the menu. The wine list was very reasonably priced with a large glass of house white being priced at less than £6. There was a good selection of beers to choose from and some of the signature cocktails sounded lovely - I am definitely going to try one on our next visit.
We were brought some obligatory poppadoms and dips with our drinks - the tamarind, coriander and mango dips were slightly more unusual to what we would normally receive in a traditional Indian restaurant. They tasted wonderfully fresh and were packed with flavour.
Our starters arrived and we were blown away with the presentation. I ordered the Salmon with mustard and honey and a green pea relish. Wow! This is the first time I have tried modern Indian cuisine but it is safe to say it won't be the last. My dish had a wasabi-like kick to it and was served with tiny slithers of radish with caviar which was a lovely touch. £7.95 for this dish is unbelievable value for money. It was genuinely one of the best plate's of food I have ever eaten.
Steve ordered the Bharwa Khumb. These are crisp mushroom's filled with pickling spiced cottage cheese. My husband is a self-confessed mushroom connoisseur and will nearly always order a mushroom starter if there is one on the menu. He described this dish as the best mushroom dish he has ever tasted and has already warned me he will be talking about them in month's to come. High praise indeed!
The main menu has had a little bit of an overhaul recently and I was pleased to see some curry classics to choose from. I opted for the Goan lamb vindaloo (I was feeling brave) and Steve opted for the Chicken Jalfrezi. We shared a rice and naan between us. The lamb in my curry was just so tender and although I had ordered a vindaloo which does have a reputation of being rather hot, it was perfectly manageable and you could actually taste a warming combination of spices. I find that far too often, a hot curry is made that way by the chef simply adding more chilli powder. This definitely isn't the case here and my dish was moderately hot yet still delicately flavoured and absolutely delicious. Steve thoroughly enjoyed his Jalfrezi too and particularly enjoyed the fine pieces of ginger running through the dish which every now and then would provide a pop of fresh flavour.
The dessert menu is small but perfectly formed. Steve ordered the Mango and Cardamon Creme brulee where as I was intrigued with the Masala and Passionfruit cheesecake with rhubarb reduction and a gin and tonic sorbet. Both desserts arrived and again, the presentation was stunning. I genuinely cannot believe how desserts of this quality can be priced at less than £5! It was refreshing to try new flavour combinations that I have not experienced anywhere else before and was the perfect way to end our meal.
Haveli is, in my opinion, definitely one of the top fine dining restaurant's in our region. If you would like to try some modern Indian cuisine then this is definitely the place to visit. Head Chef, Imamuddin Khan is clearly some sort of culinary genius (you can read about his wealth of experience here) and Atul and his team will really look after you and make sure you enjoy your evening.
When you dine at Haveli you feel as if you could be sitting in a high end restaurant in London and not a suburb of Newcastle, yet thanks to the highly skilled front of house team the atmosphere remains very relaxed and informal and I would certainly feel comfortable bringing my children here too.
Prices are very reasonable for the standard of food service you will receive at Haveli and if you dine between 5pm-7:15pm you can choose 3 courses for £21 from the early evening menu. Haveli also now offer a takeaway menu which I would highly recommend if you are planning a special evening in at home.
Thank you Haveli for such a wonderful evening, we are already planning our next visit.
Make sure you like the Haveli facebook page to keep up to date with special offers and competition.
3-5 Broadway, Darras Hall,
Monday 5pm - 11pm
For reservations - 01661 872727