Haldi is Novotel Hyderabad Airport’s signature Indian restaurant that boasts of a diverse menu featuring dishes culled from the length and breadth of the country. The decor of the restaurant is modern and understated. The dimly lit dining area feels both comfortable and personal. The circular arrangement of chairs around the table offers you a sense of privacy, if you so desire. Haldi features an open kitchen and encourages guests to walk up to the counter and interact with the Chef. You can watch your dish being prepared, learn more about its origin from the chef, and even get it customized to your liking. The menu includes several “Aap ki Pasand” dishes that allows you to get an ingredient (such as Paneer, Fish, Prawn, Chicken, and Mutton) prepared in one of the several distinctive styles.
I was invited by Novotel to experience dining at Haldi, which is operational only for dinner. I was welcomed with a trio of refreshers – Mango Raseela, Cucumber and Mint, and Thandai. It’s hard to go wrong with a drink that has Mango in it, and the sweet Mango Raseela didn’t disappoint. However, my favourite was the Cucumber and Mint. The perfect refresher to get reinvigorate myself and get ready for a heavy dinner.
Kebabs might have originated in the Middle East, but we have made them our own. There are dozens of variations – from the Bihari Kebab made from beef to the melt-in-your-mouth Galauti Kebab of Lukhnow. However, none is more famous than the Mutton Seekh – delicately spiced, minced meat kebabs grilled on skewers. A Seekh Kebab is simply irresistible when done right, and the Mutton Seekh at Haldi hit the bulls eye. From the veg menu, I served the Bhutte Kebab – a pan fried corn patty stuffed with onions and pomegranate seeds. The fresh coriander leaf added a wonderful finishing note, but the Kebab suffered from an overbearing sweetness that the yoghurt didn’t quite succeed in balancing. The dish that stole my heart was the Tawa Pomfret – a whole piece of Pomfret cooked Southern style with curry leaves, shallots, and chilli. This dish is a must order for any fish lover.
After the appetizers, we headed to the kitchen counter where Chef whipped up a delicious looking Paneer Kurchan in minutes. He explained to us that this dish gets its name from the way that the spices that stick to the pan need to be scraped up. The hint of burnt masala augments the flavour of this Paneer dish. Joining the Khurchan in the main course were Haldi Daal – a homely preparation of yellow lentil, and Gosht Awadhi – a creamy mutton gravy with cashews.
The dishes I sampled during this maiden visit to Haldi were mostly from the North Indian kitchen. Through the night, Haldi dished out the classics – from the Mutton Sheekh to the Tandoori Chicken to the Awadhi Gosht, and it pulled off pretty much all the dishes with aplomb. However, Haldi’s menu goes beyond the internationally well known North Indian preparations and showcases diverse flavours of the subcontinent – from the Bengali style Fish in Mustard Sauce to the Goan Chicken Cafreal to the Rajasthani Ker Sangri and the Hyderabadi Dalcha. The Southern Style Tawa Pomfret offered a glimpse of the delights that other cuisines of India have in store. I’m looking forward to going back to experience the other flavours of Haldi. A meal for two at Haldi costs around Rs. 3000.