Did anyone notice it’s been a bit on the chilly side this week?
Haldi, Southwater’s long-standing Indian restaurant.
Located just three miles from Horsham, in Southwater’s village centre, Haldi was opened 12 years ago by owner Jay Choudhury and is the village’s only restaurant. Because of the close location to Horsham (with its ever-increasing abundance of eateries) Haldi has always had to compete, and does so by providing a slight alternative to the classic Indian restaurant formula we all know and love.
They specialise in (and are experts with) fish and duck, making any of their dishes available with the latter. “We offer something different,” says Jay. “There is no room for an ‘okay’ restaurant.”
Dishes also take their influence from all regions of India, rather than a specific area’s cuisine. Haldi’s interior is smart, stylish, clean and contemporary.
The traditional poppadoms were first onto the table, complete with the four staple accompaniments.
Following hot on their trails were our starters, Chicken Nazakat and Tandoori Monkfish. Both were grilled and served with a delicious tangy and spicy sauce, which provided a nice level of heat.
The Chicken Nazakat was cooked with a garlic sauce and was pleasant, but we were really impressed with the monkfish.
It was perfectly soft and moist, with flavours of coriander running through it, complemented nicely with a squeeze of lime.
Our main course consisted of two dishes accompanied by pilau rice and a garlic naan.
Haldi’s version of the Chicken Balti was a delight – tender chicken in a deep, rich and almost sticky thick sauce. It wasn’t spicy, but what it lacked in heat it made up for with depth of flavour. The naan did a good job of mopping up the sauce.
We were also presented with one of the house specials, Chicken Razala. This dish has been specially designed for the local charity campaign Horsham 100 and is already popular with diners.
Pieces of chicken are marinated in garlic and coriander, skewered and grilled, and served with yoghurt, onion, green pepper and fresh green chillies.
The sauce was light and flavoursome with a medium heat, with the green chillies providing a nice kick, if you like that sort thing, which I most definitely do.
On the subject of hot curries, Jay told us of another popular dish, the Naga, another Haldi creation.
Not for the faint-hearted, this has a similar level of heat to a vindaloo, but packing in more flavour. “You have to be in the right mood, it will make you sweat!” warns Jay.
After our plates had been wiped clean (you can’t waste a good sauce) we were left reflecting on an extremely enjoyable meal.
Haldi maintain the classic Indian restaurant traditions and dishes and deliver them immaculately, but also bring variety to the table with their focus on fish, duck and speciality dishes.
The prices are very reasonable, and with promotions such as the Sunday Family Buffet and Monday Banquet Night, they continue to thrive in a competitive marketplace.
I’m sure the Southwater locals are already familiar with Haldi, as it’s had a constant presence in the village for over a decade.
As well as proving popular with a number of regulars, Haldi also provides a very popular takeaway service. The portions are large, reasonably priced, and there is a free car park right outside – so it’s easy to see why. They also regularly have special offers, such as 10 per cent discount, and a free bottle of wine on orders over £50.
But if, like me, you’re from Horsham, or even further afield, it’s definitely worth a visit.
To download current menus and see the latest special offers visit www.haldirestaurant.co.uk.