A favorite of Moonee Ponds residents, Haldi has brought his tandoor to Carlton North — but not without a few technical challenges.
Owners Dharminder Singh and Raj Singh (no relation), who also own Gaylord restaurant in the CBD, moved from Moonee Ponds to be closer to regulars eating with their families in Haldi and lamented the lack of a neighborhood restaurant in the north that serves quality Indian food .
Haldi’s new home in Nicholson Street is a small terrace. Getting the 80-centimeter tandoor oven through the door was impossible, so a wall was temporarily removed to install the essential kitchen appliances that cook a 12-hour chicken vindaloo, tandoori king prawns and naan bread.
Dharminder (who goes by DJ) says the new Haldi is more relaxed than its predecessor, with no time limit for meetings and comfortable details like carpets, greenery and banquets.
“While people often think of Indian food as just curries after a few beers, this has changed their perception, which is a good indication,” he says, adding that people are exploring more of the menu.
Many different regions of India are featured, from a Goan-style rockling curry to Delhi’s golgappe snack: deep-fried puffs of bread stuffed with spiced potatoes. A recipe from DJ’s mom is roasting garlic stuffed eggplant over fire, chilling overnight and finishing with an onion-tomato masala.
Dietary requirements are taken seriously, many kitchen processes have been adapted so that dishes can easily be made vegan or gluten-free.
The 30-seater offers BYO as well as Australian and Italian wines, Kingfisher beer and local brews.
Takeaway is also available, with welcome news via major platforms in the final stages of the pandemic.
The residents of Moonee Ponds are now making the journey across town. If you ask nicely, you might get a Haldi near you.
Open Tues-Sun 5pm-10pm
375 Nicholson Street, Carlton North, 03 9349 2947, haldi.com.au