Old City gets another Indian restaurant with the opening of Makhani, a BYOB taking the bi-level spot at 7 N. 3rd Street previously occupied by Bistro 7 and then Dos Rosas Taqueria. Makhani, which means “with butter” in Hindi, focuses on thick, creamy North Indian curries, with dried fruit, nuts, and dairy featuring heavily on the menu.
In the kitchen is chef Sanjoy Banik, who studied cooking and worked as a chef in Kolkata before moving to New York. He came down to the Philly area in 2001, taking a series of chef positions at restaurants owned by the same family. That family spawned Shafi Gaffar, who learned the trade in his parents’ restaurants before graduating from Temple and joining New York Ice Cream, Inc., which runs franchises of Dunkin’ Donuts, Jamba Juice, Smashburger, and other popular chains.
Five years ago, Gaffar, 24 at the time, bought the two decade–old Tandoor in University City and brought in Banik as executive chef. He opened other Tandoors before turning his attention to Makhani — again with Banik in charge of the kitchen. (The original Tandoor is now an Ekta.)
Gaffar’s new restaurant is snug, with seats for 34. There’s an upstairs that won’t be opening yet, and outdoor seating planned for the spring. Impossible to miss: a painted peacock on the wall running 8 feet high and almost 20 feet long.
Makhani’s hours are 11:30 to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch may be added later.
Nearby, Indian Grill opened at 114 Chestnut Street late last year.
Here’s that peacock and the tables and banquette:
This is sea bass cooked in the tandoor:
And, here’s the full dinner menu: