Kampala does not suffer from a lack of good Indian restaurants and Haandi’s is firmly among them. First opened in 1997, and situated on the second floor of an unassuming office block on Jinja road, Haandi’s does not first strike you as anything out of the ordinary. That is, until you get your food.
Specialising in North Indian food, Haandi’s has a number of restaurants around the globe. Others are in London, Nairobi and Dar el-Salaam. The glass-fronted kitchen fills you with confidence as you can watch the chefs prepare your meals and the decor of the expansive dining room is a mix of what can only be described as: Tuscan villa meets indo-rattan. There’s plenty of seating so big groups can be easily accommodated although the smaller tables overlooking Jinja road seem to be the favourites.
The prices have risen recently – presumably to match inflation – but remain thoroughly reasonable for the quality and quantity. Starters are between 15,000 and 20,000 UGX. Vegetarian mains are between 16,000 and 25,000 and non-vegetarian mains (prawns, fish, chicken, etc) between 19,500 and 75,000 UGX. For the naan connoisseur, the variations available will leave you breathless: garlic, chilli, onion, butter, cheese, paneer, dhoniya, and more. You name it and you’ll probably find it. In fact, if you can’t find it they’ll probably still make it. All dishes are served in variations ranging from ‘chilli hot’ to ‘mild’ – and, unlike other restaurants, ‘mild’ is not code for ‘flavourless’.
The potato pancakes come highly recommended as a starter and do not disappoint: perfectly seasoned and not greasy or over-fried. While the palak paneer was cautiously spiced and perfectly cooked the palak could have been further creamed. The egg curry masala was enjoyable as was the curry Kerala mutton pepper fry. The Patrani Machi (fish in green sauce/chutney wrapped in banana leaves), however, was the true highlight despite its first appearance on the table wrapped in foil. The seasoning was not overpowering and the fish succulent. It disappeared quickly.
The dinner service begins at 7pm and rarely do the lights come on much before then although the place doesn’t really pick up until after eight. The eternal dilemma of where to find parking downtown and so close to Jinja road is answered by the ‘secret’ car park which cannot be accessed by Jinja Road but only by King George IV Way and proceeding down the alley behind Haandi’s.
To find them online please visit: http://www.haandi-restaurants.com/