Review: Still a helluva curry at Haveli, Ponteland

While I’m trying really hard not to empty the contents of my fridge directly into my mouth every evening, there’s no avoiding the fact that I’m now eating for two with a supercharged appetite. Combine this with the amount of things that need done in the house before the baby arrives and my packed work schedule and I’m finding more excuses to eat out. Hurrah (except not so good for my clothes fitting).

Feeling rather hard done to that my weekend highlight was nailing two loads of washing before 10am on a Sunday, I was treated to a surprise Sunday night curry last night and took a trip to a place previously reviewed on the blog Haveli. You can find my previous post on the place here. I’m never too sure how often to post updates on places we’ve reviewed because if we like a place we inevitably head back fairly frequently. However with Haveli being a little out of our way over in Ponteland, we’ve not had the chance to head back since our last visit. My constant suggestion that we should pay the place a return visit seemed to make an impact on Sunday afternoon when exhausted from serious Sunday over-productivity, I put the other half in charge of sourcing the tea.

Since our last visit Haveli has bagged itself a recommendation in the Michelin guide, which didn’t surprise us considering how much we enjoyed the food on our last visit. It’s also added some Paleo menu choices, including cauliflower rice that fellow Slimming Worlders may be interested in but I was too hungry to consider carb cutting.

When we arrived around 5 minutes late for our booking we found quite a few tables were busy but not packed. Haveli is in a bit of a strange spot but the decor inside makes eating there seem more of an occasion. We were asked to wait in the bar area when we arrived and promptly took a seat. I must say we were a little disappointed to be waiting to be seated at our table for 25 minutes, particularly as we had to ask for the drinks menu. As I’d dressed up for the occasion and remembered having a rather lovely cocktail on our last visit I chose a Garden Fresh Virgin Mojito (£4.95) to get things started. This was a lovely accompaniment to my curry when we were seated – a refreshing mix of elderflower, cucumber, apple and lime. It looked lovely too.


IMG_2611I’ve not edited the photos from last night at all – the food really was as colourful and the lights as lovely as they look. As we waited so long to be seated, we were actually a little bit pushed for time when it came to ordering, so we skipped starters and went straight to the main courses. On a bit of a side note, we thought the menus were looking a little worn – probably because the place is so popular but with the classy restaurant vibe they are trying to promote it might be time to have them replaced.

I’m not eating as much meat these days so I chose the Shahi Palak Paneer (£7.50) and Mr Fables had the Railway Lamb Curry (£12.95). We added a side of keema naan and a basmati pilau, though I can’t seem to find the former on the online menu. After our surprise wait to be seated we were a little apprehensive about not ordering some nibbles but the food actually came out extraordinarily quickly, within 5 minutes I’d say.

It didn’t take long for the ‘mmm-ing’ and ‘aaah-ing’ to begin. The lamb in the coconut curry sauce was melt in the mouth, a fairly mild sauce with the occasional surprise chilli. My spinach sauce was creamy and moreish but with a surprising spice level, this wasn’t the mild, bland curry that paneer and spinach can sometimes be. It’s the extra finishing touches that show that Haveli consider how flavours will work together – sweet fried onions topping the rice were a delight alongside my spinach sauce and the keema in the naan had its own distinct flavour too. Best of all, our choices complemented each other well and Mr Fables actually exclaimed he might be tempted to order more vegetarian sides from now on.

With a couple of extra soft drinks our bill came to around £44, which is certainly more than our local curry house but the food at Haveli was well worth making a trip for. The few little niggles on arrival didn’t impact too much on our evening, except to maybe stop us from eating even more and as we didn’t really have room for dessert that may not have been a bad thing. Thanks Haveli for not disappointing! Now, can you open somewhere a little closer to us please?

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