To me, the definition of a delicious dish is when flavours burst like fireworks in your mouth, casting spells on your taste buds and leaves you wanting more…
When Prosecco and Pie was invited to dine at Haveli Indian Restaurant near Darras Hall in Ponteland, I had high expectations. Indian, whether traditional or modern is a cuisine full of flavour, delicate spices and aromas that can make or break a meal when not cooked properly. Happily, the food exceeded my expectations.
The restaurant is juxtaposed between the incredible houses of affluent Darras Hall and a local Co-op and Post Office, so I felt a little overdressed as a I stepped out of the car. I needn’t have worried though, Haveli’s interior is beautifully furnished. Clean, sophisticated and effortlessly elegant, the interior certainly sets the tone for the food.
Our feast began with a bowl generously filled with crispy poppadoms (so light they could have been air-whipped) and a series of chutneys: moreish mango, chilli and garlic and coriander and mint. The mango chutney was a winner for me, so fresh and fruity I couldn’t get enough of it.
With ‘melt in the mouth’ minced lamb, salmon slowly marinated in honey and pan-seared scallops on the menu, it was difficult to choose between starters. Eventually we decided to share the lamb chop burrah kebab and murgh haryali (chicken breast marinated in fresh herbs served with fresh mango chutney).
Beautifully presented, the starters absolutely blew us away. The lamb was beautifully tender and delicately seasoned so as to not spoil the meat’s flavour and the chicken so soft it fell to pieces in your mouth. The herbs and spices were standalone flavours that definitely exploded like fireworks in your mouth, but not too much that you couldn’t taste the meat itself.
For our mains, I chose the jinga khali mirch (slow cooked king prawns in a mild ginger and coconut sauce) on our waiter’s recommendation while my mam chose her favourite lamb rogan josh. Served on a bed of basmati rice for me and mushroom pilau for her, we shared a garlic naan bread too. Portion sizes were very generous and by the time I’d gotten half way through my meal I began to struggle. Happy to pack up what we didn’t finish, we took our leftovers home and tucked in the next day.
Haveli is about a 40 minute drive away from where I live, so it’s definitely somewhere we would think about going for a special occasion rather than a regular place to eat out simply due to distance. The only thing I will say is, savour your bottle of water for the table – we expected to pay a couple of quid for a bottle of water but ended up paying almost £4 for a small bottle of water and when asked if we’d like a top up, we didn’t realise that meant opening a second bottle, so paid another £4 for a bottle of water which we only had one small glass from.
For anyone who lives nearby and hasn’t had a chance to go, I definitely recommend it, the food is fantastic, I’m hoping they open up a second restaurant closer to home!