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Pinole (Appian Way) - Haweli North Indian Cuisine – complementary seed-sized Indian Good ‘n Plenty ... with seeds

rworange Sep 13, 2006 02:53 AM

With limited Indian food experience, this was difficult to write. Haweli was good enough to make me curious to explore other Indian restaurants and see how the food compares.

Maybe not worth a special trip but tasty and interesting to check out if living in this neck of the woods.

Good mango lassi and herbal tea (black tea with mint, ginger and cinnamon).

Delicious lamb nan, wildly fragrant with spices, flecked with red pepper and filled with flavorful chopped lamb. Very good regular nan too. Very nicely done thin, clean-tasting papadum. This was free and came with two sauces a sweet brown tamarind and a green sauce. Regular nan comes with the curry.

Two tech guys (one from India) at the next table said the advantage is that Haweli is new and doesn’t have much business yet, so everything is being made to order. Nothing is sitting around pre-made. Very true, there is a wait. It took about 15 minutes to get the tea as it was started from scratch and not sitting around ready to go

Also, the guys said the oil was very fresh. They liked the papadum for that reason. One guy said he liked the chicken curry a lot. I actually didn’t try the mango lassi, but one guy said he was a big fan of mango lassi and this is excellent.

The guy from India, a vegetarian who didn’t like any of the Berkeley Indian food including Vik’s, said he thought his food was fresh tasting, but the curries tasted too much alike.

That might or might not be true. The opaque pleasantly sour chicken soup had similar seasoning to the mildly spicy prawn Goa curry. There was a fresh green herb chiffonade on both, but I’m not familiar with what it was.

There are a few coconut curries on the menu, but not really a Goan menu slant. The shrimp is the only dish that carries the name. While tasty, with eight medium strimp in a flavorful tumeric-colored sauce with notes of corriander and fennel, if the word “Goa” had not been in the name there wouldn’t be anything that distiguished it to me as anything but nice Indian curry dish.

Talking to the manager and asking about some other Goan dishes ... well, he was unfamliar with them.

The menu is mainly lamb, chicken, seafood and vegetarian dishes with the words dopiaza, jalfrezi, curry, saag, vindaloo, ghost, korma, kofta, mahkni, masala, Kashmiri, Kadabi, and Punjabi as modifiers. There’s tandoori and kabobs and biriyani.

They are still working out the kinks in the kulfi and mango ice cream, so it wasn’t available today.

Near the door was a big bowl filled with toasty seeds and seed-sized pastel pink, yellow and white candies that tasted like Good ‘n Plenty candy. It was scooped up with a spoon. Maybe this is common in other Indian restaurants, but I’ve never seen it before. What is this called? It was good.

The restaurant has been open about a month and is located just above the Apian Way Mall. Tables at the back of the restaurant overlook the area with K-Mart, Carl’s JR and Burger King with views of the Bay and Mt. Tamalpias beyond. It is a nice white table cloth restaurant, in a hotel banquet room sort of way. Staff is very friendly. The cook makes me smile a lot.

Some of the dishes are a little pricy and others are less expensive than others. A pint-sized clear plastic deli container of chicken soup was $3. It is $1.50 for the same size container of raita (with thin house-made yogurt and fennel accents). The lamb nan was $2.95 a major deal, IMO. However the prawn dish was $12.95 which given the size was a little pricy.

Pakoras are $3.50. The dozen breads run from $1.50 to $2.95. I want to try the nan filled with nuts, raisins, coconut and cherries. Most of the dishes are $10-$11. The vegetarian dishes about two dollars less. Desserts are $2.50. They have a buffet table set up with pretty metal dishes, but said it would be a while before they are ready to serve a buffet. They had a few tali dinners that they have taped over on the menu.

Haweli is located in the little section with Taqueria La Morena and next door to Uncle Chung’s. Actually, I got some good tips from one of the guys who is a fan of Uncle Chung’s. He said that if you don’t go at rush hour, they are very good about adjusting your dish. He doesn’t like oily dishes and said they will make dishes less oily when he asks and they do a special thing with the tomato soup using a clear broth at his request. Anyway, Uncle Chung’s seems happy to make it your way.

As to Haweli, good if not attention catching great and not disappointing as most of the Bay Area Indian Restaurants I tried. I’ll seriously be back to try a few more things to form a better opinion and I don’t, at this point, hesitate to recommend it to people craving Indian in the area.

Haweli North Indian Cuisine
2554 Appian Way
Pinole, Ca 94564

(510) 222-4228

Hours:

Lunch:
Daily: 11 am – 3 pm

Dinner:
Daily: 5 pm – 10 pm

Related links:

Goan cuisine?
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/325284

Indian/Pakistani restaurants serving jalfrezi or dopiaza?
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/325201

Haweli?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haveli

  1. g
    gordon wing Sep 13, 2006 03:38 AM

    Ajanta on Solano Avenue also has a bowl of the "Good N Plenty" by the door as you exit..... not sure what it's called.

    1. janetofreno Sep 13, 2006 04:11 AM

      The "Good and Plenty" mix (a good description!) is called Mukhvas, at least in Gujurati (according to my Gujurati husband). The seed is fennel. There is a variation of this in most Indian restaurants, often in a bowl by the door. You will also be offered it if you are a guest in an Indian home. Some Indian cooks make their own mixture...some prefer just the fennel seed. It is supposed to freshen your breath and aid digestion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: janetofreno
        rworange Sep 13, 2006 04:24 AM

        Thanks !!! So you just scoop it in your hand and pop it in your mouth. I just kind of picked at it enjoying little pieces. What is mukhvas etiquette?

        You know in this cellophane wrapped age, it is a little startling to get something just scooped up with a spoon.

        I thought of you when the Indian guy said he didn't like Vik's ... I persisted and asked if he had been on Saturday. Yep. Nope, didn't matter what day.

      2. janetofreno Sep 13, 2006 05:23 PM

        Well, there's no accounting for taste...:-). As for the etiquette question, we always just pop it all in our mouth and chew (licking it off the hand if necessary..). And yes, I keep waiting for the health department somewhere to say they have to serve it in little sealed baggies.......

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