Haandi Restaurant, Nairobi

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Haandi Restaurant, Nairobi

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Review of "Haandi Restaurant, Nairobi"

published 12/10/2016 | Essexgirl2006
Member since : 07/02/2006
Reviews : 566
Members who trust : 271
About me :
Super
Pro Varied menu, good service
Cons Not cheap by local standards
exceptional

"A Haandi Indian Restaurant"

The okra dish is in the foreground, with the spinach and paneer dish behind it, and the mushroom dish to the left of it

The okra dish is in the foreground, with the spinach and paneer dish behind it, and the mushroom dish to the left of it

Introduction

Haandi is an Indian restaurant in Nairobi, Kenya and I visited it whilst staying with a friend who now lives in the city. She had eaten there before and thought it one of the better Indian restaurants she had eaten in during her time in the city, but noted that it was also slightly pricier. So one evening we decided to make a bit of effort and get dressed up to go here.

Where is it?

Haandi apparently also have branches in the UK and four branches in Nairobi. We visited the one in The Mall at Westlands. Westlands is a centrally located suburb in Nairobi and is easy to get to by car (I don’t recommend coming here by public transport other than a private taxi or Uber). You can access the restaurant directly from the multi-storey carpark, so you don’t have to go into the mall itself. There may be another entrance, but I am not sure.
Décor and Atmosphere

The restaurant is a lot more formal than your typical UK local curry house. It is more contemporary in style, and due to its location in a shopping centre, can lack a little bit of atmosphere with its low ceilings. However they have done out the space available very well, utilising pillars to give the impression of privacy and making the restaurant appear more intimate, when actually it is quite big. All tables are covered in table clothes and have fabric placemats and the ubiquitous hot plates will appear when the time is right. As is typical in Kenya, your wine is served in special curved tumblers, rather than stemmed glasses.

I think they did really well in creating an atmosphere here, and it attracts a mixed clientele from the local community including Indian Kenyans (always reassuring in an Indian restaurant), African Kenyans and European/North American expatriates.
Service

Right from the off the service is great. We were greeted by the man who took our booking (worth doing as it seems a popular place) and he remembered my friend asking for directions to the car park entrance, so was quick to ascertain that she found it OK. After being seated a young chap came round with some balls of cotton wool (or so it seemed) and a kettle of hot water. He poured the water on the cotton and they grew into warm small towels to wipe our hands with. I was quite impressed with this touch, making it more personal as you had towel was created in front of your eyes rather than an impersonal packet that had been in the microwave.

Throughout the service was attentive, polite and yet warm and we were all very impressed.
Food

The menu is a lot more diverse than we get at home, and is influenced more by the large Indian and Asian community within Kenya. Here (much like in India) menus are divided up by Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian and there is an extensive choice under each section. It is worth noting that the meat is only chicken, lamb or mutton, alongside local fish. They also cater for regional specialities and those that follow the Jain faith so eat vegetarian but cannot consume onion, garlic, potatoes, aubergines and sometimes other root vegetables.

Poppadums aren’t practically forced on you, and thus we forgot to order any. Saying that it did leave me more room for my delicious main course, without taking the edge off my appetite by eating the equivalent of a bag of crisps before hand.

We didn’t go for any starters in the end but they had an interesting variety such as Sprout and Corn Minty Spring Rolls (lentil sprouts with fresh corn kernels and a minty relish) , Potato Pattice (mashed potato roundels stuffed with coconut, and served with a sweet and sour apple chutney) and Chicken Lollipops (basically upturned chicken wings , deep fried in breadcrumbs, with a garlic dip). Starters tended to be about Ksh 950-1400 (£7-10.30) except for ‘special ‘ ones such as Lobster or King Prawn Tandoori or a Kebab Platter.

For our main we all went for vegetarian options as there we so many nice ones to choose from. I love paneer (Indian cottage cheese) so went for Palak Paneer which is with a spinach puree. I was concerned about spice levels as I love a bit of a kick to my curry but am aware that in some places “a bit of a kick” can mean “annihilate the customer” , so enquired of our helpful waiter. He said he would make it medium hot and that I wouldn’t die. The definition was spot on, I had a tang of spice without being overwhelmed or be unable to breathe by the end of the meal. The spinach puree was very creamy and smothered the lovely cubes of paneer. I think my main course was the nicest of the three but we are still disputing this! The runner-up (in my opinion) was my friend’s Okra (Bhinda) which had baby sized okra (aka lady’s fingers) tossed with onion, ginger and sliced chillies. It was a lovely, flavoursome dish that was also quite herby, again the heat level was medium and that was comfortable as well as spicy and more saucy than the dry stir-fry dish I had imagined.

My other friend went for the Tawa Mushroom Masala (slices of button mushrooms with peppers, onions and herbs). I’m not a fan of peppers which may have coloured my judgement, although I suspect if I had eaten this dish and not tried the others, I would have enjoyed it. Prices for our mains were between Ksh 1050-1350 (£7.75-10). Rice is additional and we went for two buckets of basmati rice, but really one would have done the three of us fine (Kes 650/£4.90 each). I liked how they were served in tasteful mini buckets, similar to buckets they put chips in over here. I’m completely over the chips-in-a-bucket thing , but didn’t mind the rice strangely enough.

Meat or Fish mains included Fish Pattarani (grilled fish in banana leaves with a herby masala sauce), which came in at a more hefty Ksh2000 (£15), Mutton Curry Punjabi (Lamb shanks – apparently, I would have thought mutton shanks – on the bone with a Punjabi sauce of onions, yoghurt and toasted spices) or classics like Chicken Tikka Masala or Korma. Prices for the dishes average about Ksh 1200 (£8.80). Naan breads and other rice dishes are available also.

Two of us had a glass or wine at Ksh600 (£4.50) which was a lovely chardonnay and the other had sparkling water.

As you will see from the food prices, this isn’t cheap being similar to UK prices in some places, but the food is better than average. By Kenyan standards this would be quite expensive and in total we paid Ksh 2200 each (£16) which is the most expensive meal I had in Nairobi.
Conclusion

In reality, it will be some time before I re-visit Nairobi, but if I did I would be more than happy to come back here. It may have been a little bit more expensive by local standards, but it was the nicest meal we had and was a nice way to get together that was more ‘special’ than the other restaurants that we visited during our stay in the city. Therefore, I am more than happy to recommend this restaurant to anyone who is a fan of Indian food and who finds themselves in Nairobi.

Details

The Mall Shopping Centre, Ring Rd Westlands, Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya.
Tel: 0733-648294 / 0719150699
Opening Hours:
Open 7 days at week from 12:30 - 15:30 and from 18:30 - 22:30.


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This review was read 515 times and was rated at
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exceptional

Comments on this review

  • Ag108 published 28/11/2016
    VH :) I love Indian food :)
  • BrutalHonesty91 published 26/11/2016
    Beautifully written and lovely image! - E from me
  • HarrogateHippy published 23/11/2016
    Very helpful
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Product Information : Haandi Restaurant, Nairobi

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Listed on Ciao since: 26/08/2016