Our initial visit was on December 2nd but since it’s been a hectic few weeks, so our review is a little overdue. Better late than never though right?
My very first dalliance with Indian food happened earlier this year at Nawab’s in Calgary, AB. It’s a fairly popular Indian joint on 5th ave in Downtown Calgary and I highly recommend it if you are ever in the area. Needless to say, my thoughts on Indian food have been pretty positive thus far.
S, on the other hand is a stranger to Indian food and her only familiarity with the cuisine is the smell of Chutneze (located at Richmond Centre) crossed with the smells from Pet Habitat. Very unappetizing which explains her hesitance to try Indian food, until now.
S’s friend had suggested that she try Handi on Dunbar for some authentic Indian. A couple weeks back, we asked our tumblr followers in a post , what they would like to see on our site. Indian food was the general consensus, so we decided to cease the opportunity and make our maiden voyage to Handi.
Garlic and Basil Naan – $3.00
I’m quite a big fan of garlic flavoured foods, so I was pretty excited to experiment with this bread. To my disappointment, there wasn’t much of a garlic taste, even when I tried eating it without dipping it in the butter chicken. I don’t have much experience with naan, but the texture was quite chewy and bland. Overall, it wasn’t the best dish as I prefer flakier breads like Roti, for example. Next time, I would just order rice to accompany my dish but that just might be my personal preference.
Butter Chicken -$13.00
Boneless chicken breast cooked in creamy tomato sauce.
First of all, I’m going to say that this was the first time I have tried authentic Butter Chicken. I’ve always been curious about Indian food. I will have to admit the extent of sampling butter chicken is at your friendly neighbourhood mall food courts that have NYF which serve Butter Chicken Poutine. So, to finally experience Indian food was a treat.
The butter chicken is served in a metal pot heated over a fire, so that it keeps the food consistently hot. Don’t be fooled at the size of everything though, since the dish the chicken is kept in is fairly shallow. That’s my only concern, considering that the dish is $1 more expensive than the Vindaloo and the Tandoori. Consequently, I would have appreciated if they put more pieces of chicken in the dish, as I found myself sharing some with G & jeremyjudelee. By the time I had did that, there wasn’t really much left of the dish (compared to G’s Vindaloo, pictured below). If you order rice or naan with this dish, the total for your meal becomes $16, which is a price that doesn’t seem fair to the portion of food you are given.
Even though my tolerance for spicy food is fairly high, I ordered the food in mild, as I was uncertain of the degree of spice they would use. Upon the first bite, it was very sweet. The taste reminded me a lot like tomato bisque. I was expecting more of a spicy kick but to be honest, it just felt like eating chunks of chicken in a creamy tomato soup. I knew beforehand that butter chicken has the tomato base, and I did enjoy the thick consistency; however, if you can take spicy foods, I would recommend ordering it spicier.
In all, I feel that there are other items on the menu that I would rather try/order upon my next visit.
Chicken Vindaloo -$12.00
boneless chicken and potatoes cooked in a zesty tangy curry sauce
For those of you who are strangers to Indian food like myself and unaware of Indian food terminologies, Vindaloo is an Indian curry dish with Portuguese origins. I indicated to the waiter that I had wanted it prepared mild. My Chinese taste buds have very low tolerance for spiciness and I wanted to be able to enjoy the dish rather than worry if and when my mouth catches fire during the meal. I ordered an additional side of rice to accompany the curry, as opposed to naan. I approached the vindaloo with very little expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by it.
First off, presentation of the dish: Impeccable. I was impressed.
Secondly, the vindaloo was similar to the butter chicken in the sense that there is a strong tomato “presence”, but with a curry spin to it. The curry spin being the tanginess from the spices which give the dish more dimension. If I had not consumed as much rice as I did, I could have probably finished the vindaloo in one sitting. However, I became extremely full three quarters of the way in, and risked being carted out of the restaurant so I ended up packing the remainders to bring home.
…Someone polished off the rest of the vindaloo the next day without my knowledge. I was furious. To perfectly express my emotions at the time, think of the episode of Friends where Ross’s sandwich is eaten by a co-worker when left in the communal fridge. “Someone ATE THE ONLY GOOD THING GOING ON IN MY LIFE!”
In short. I RECOMMEND.
Tandoori Chicken – $12.00
Half chicken marinated with authentic Indian spices & grilled in our Tandoor to perfection
- Attentive servers.
- Good service = Not too many tables that night.
- Street parking, there are a few 1/2 hr spots available.
- Nice ambience and decor, the low lit lights give off the date-restaurant feel.
- Slightly on the expensive end, averaging out a little over 20 dollars a person for dinner.
Will we return?:
Yes. The calibre of food at Handi’s is fairly high and consistent so we’re sure the other dishes will not disappoint. Having said this, we do look forward to trying other Indian restaurants.