26 Jervois Road,
(09) 378 8896
The ViewAuckland Review
3 out of 5 stars
You might not know Shahi by name, but many will know this restaurant as ‘the one with the elephants on the logo’ – at least that��s how my friends and I knew it.
With three locations across Auckland; Herne Bay, Parnell and Remuera, I had definitely seen it around in my travels and, prior to this sit down experience, I think I’d even enjoyed the northern Indian menu as a take-away meal. But when we arrived at the Herne Bay site it was my first eat-in experience.
The kitchen is visible from the road through the front window. We parked across the road and even though it had just opened for the evening rush already there were people waiting for their take-away phone orders and the chefs were bustling around each other.
We were quickly addressed and showed upstairs where we were offered to sit at the tables and chairs or to take the big floor cushions and low tables on the landing above the kitchen. I liked the intimacy and chance to curl up on the floor so we took the cushions.
Our waiter, Kieran, expertly navigated the low lights all evening kneeling to take our orders and deliver the food without knocking his head once. Kieran also told us the shahi makhani (butter chicken), lamb khorma and rogan josh were the most popular dishes, so we went with his recommendation and opted for the butter chicken ($20.50) and chose another dish, fish makhanwala ($20.50, fish cooked with ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes and yoghurt). We also had buttered naan to start ($3.50).
There’s no need to order rice separately, each main curry comes with rice, and vegetarian and vegan options are also available. The food came quickly, was fresh and very tasty. I’m always surprised at how filling Indian meals are, and this time was no exception. We shared the meals, and by the time we finished mopping up the sauces with an extra bowl of rice my belly was about to burst.
When our table was cleared, we were offered the dessert menu. I looked, but there simply was no room for the tempting mango laasi (mago yoghurt flavoured drink) or the Gulab Jamun (dumplings dipped in syrup, served with ice cream) that jumped out at me.
Shahi was established in Auckland in 1989, and serves mainly Indian dishes from the north, which are milder than dishes from southern India. Chefs at Shahi pride themselves on unique dishes by mixing two or three different styles.
The name means royal, and the staff say it’s called Shahi so people can feel like royalty in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. I’m not sure I felt like a princess, but I definitely ate like a king for a very affordable price in a relaxed, comfortable and professional environment.
Does this review have you salivating? You can now make a reservation here!
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