Melbourne Indian restaurant Haldi moves to Carlton North due to popular demand

Haldi relocated to get closer to its regulars and is now offering Carlton North locals a concise menu of regional Indian ...
Haldi relocated to get closer to its regulars and is now offering Carlton North locals a concise menu of regional Indian specialties. Photo: Sepideh Pourmohammad

Haldi, a favourite of Moonee Ponds locals, has brought its tandoor to Carlton North – but not without a few engineering challenges.

Owners Dharminder Singh and Raj Singh (no relation), who also own Gaylord restaurant in the CBD, relocated from Moonee Ponds to get closer to regulars that dined at Haldi with their families and bemoaned the inner north's lack of a neighbourhood restaurant doing quality Indian food.

Haldi's new Nicholson Street home is a small terrace. Getting the 80-centimetre tandoor oven through the door was impossible, so a wall was temporarily removed to install the essential piece of kitchen equipment which cooks a 12-hour chicken vindaloo, tandoori king prawns and naan bread.

Owners Raj Singh (left) and Dharminder Singh are happy to alter dishes for dietary requirements, including gluten-free ...
Owners Raj Singh (left) and Dharminder Singh are happy to alter dishes for dietary requirements, including gluten-free breads, vegan curries and more. Photo: Supplied

Dharminder (who goes by DJ) says the new Haldi is more relaxed than its predecessor, with no time limit on sittings and comfortable touches like carpets, greenery and banquettes.

"Whereas people often just think of Indian food as 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 feature, from a Goan-style rockling curry to Delhi's snack of golgappe: fried puffs of bread filled with spiced potatoes. A recipe from DJ's mother involves roasting garlic-stuffed eggplant over fire, chilling it overnight and finishing it with an onion-tomato masala.

Dietary requests are taken seriously, with many kitchen processes 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 delivery through major platforms welcome news in the latest phase of the pandemic.

As for Moonee Ponds residents, they're now making the trip across town. If you ask nicely, you might just end up with a Haldi in your own neighbourhood.

Open Tues-Sun 5pm-10pm

375 Nicholson Street, Carlton North, 03 9349 2947, haldi.com.au