Bindaas is Hindi for ‘chilled out’ and, as of the turn of the year, also a new destination for Indian food on Aberdeen Street.
Strangely, I’ve never reviewed an Indian restaurant until now, but this is the first of a few to come. The schtick at Bindaas is traditional street foods and ‘Indian tapas’, a strange Indo-Iberian mash-up of an idea, but ultimately a quick way to tell you that your food will probably be shared, probably from small plates. The interior is typically Indian technicolor with added UV lighting, the soundtrack Bollywood all the way including the stupidly catchy Selfie Le Le Re:
This was an invite with some other food writers so we tried most of the items on the menu. Thanks to my bhabhi-ji I have history with pav bhaji, the Bombay street food snack of a vegetable curry – usually tomato based – with a soft bread roll that has been shallow fried in ghee. It’s a thing of joy in Bombay, all softness and spice, while here in Hong Kong it has also taken a meaty turn with keema – spiced mince goat (a vastly underrated meat) – as a carnivorous choice alongside the usual vegetarian options. Salad helps cut through but ultimately you can’t go wrong with bread, butter and fried, fragrant meat.
The Chingri Malai Curry brings prawns in coconut milk with green chili & coriander,. The spice levels – as always in Hong Kong, tuned down for palates – (except in Chungking Mansions) could be taken up a couple notches, but the curry shows there has been time and care and love put behind it, which ultimately is all that counts.
Next an Indo-Italian linguistic horror-show, but again, good eating. The NaanZa – yes, you read that right- crosses a pizza with a naan bread to make, well, a naanza. It’s far from a bad idea, even if purists from both cuisines would be horrified. If Korean tacos are a menu favourite, there’s no reason this can’t join them and here they take chicken, a tomato gravy inspired allegedly by dhal makhani, add cheese and bake.
Other dishes came and went including chaat, fish fry, boti (beef) kebab – about as Indian as I am, but hey – and a great mutton shami kebab (there’s another underrated meat). Overall they’re doing something different, away from the hitherto slightly generic Indian restaurants in town. With here and Juhu Beach Club (review to come) opening in the last few months, it looks like dining from South Asia is being taken up a notch.
Curries from $88-$168, sides $18-$58. Daily happy hour from 5-9, set lunch Tuesday to Friday from $88.