Haandi is a very consistent restaurant, serving Punjabi food from an open kitchen. The attention to detail can be seen in the humble popadom, here thin and delicate. Murgh burra tikka has good quality chicken, marinated and then cooked in the tandoor. This staple of the Indian kitchen is taken to a high level of quality here, the chicken precisely cooked, the spicy marinade excellent (15/20). Prawn biryani was pleasant but less impressive, the prawns tender but the rice not having the delicate, fragrant texture that you find in the best biryani, such as the ones I recently had at Adaa in Hyderabad (13/20). Aloo gobi was excellent as ever, the vegetables keeping their texture rather than being mushy, the spices vibrant (14/20). Chollay here has tender chickpeas in a dark, rich sauce (14/20). The best bread here is paratha, delicate and neither dried out nor greasy, the two forms of paratha most common in UK restaurants (14/20).
I have eaten many meals at Haandi over the years, and its weak link is service, particularly since its one really good waiter left over a year ago. The waiters are well-meaning, but tonight there was no attempt to hang coats, a cursory greeting on entering despite us being regulars, a bottle of water delivered to the table but not poured. At times none of the three waiters were in the dining room, despite the owner (Mr Singh) being present tonight. The contrast between here and the well-drilled service at Madhu’s and The Brilliant is striking. However the cooking here is every bit as good as those Southall stalwarts, and the surprise is the low price point, despite the Knightsbridge location. £30 a head will buy you plenty of beer and more food than you can finish. Haandi is one of London’s hidden treasures when it comes to Indian cooking.