Indian restaurants have a huge advantage over certain others. One night, you may have planned to go for Japanese, or French, or Italian food. Yet, en route to your destination, your nose picks up a wave of delicious aromas coming from an Indian restaurant that your eyes have not yet detected, and suddenly your legs are carrying you towards it, unable to resist. This is exactly what happened when we found ourselves at newly opened Bindaas, an Indian “bar and kitchen” on Aberdeen Street. We noticed the smell long before actually locating the restaurant and knew that, whatever our previous plans were, Indian was on the menu for dinner.
The word ‘bindaas’ is a colloquial word in Hindi that means ‘chilled out’ and ‘carefree’. That is exactly what this restaurant is. You walk in knowing there’s more to this place than just curry and naan bread. Bindaas is more about smaller, shared plates that are inspired by traditional recipes, yet prepared with a contemporary twist, to complement a selection of interesting cocktails. The vibrant colours and casual décor reminded me of a fantastic Indian street food restaurant in London called Dishoom, so I was eager to see how it would compare.
After waiting a little longer than expected for our cocktails, we started our meal with the Lucknoki Galawti, which consisted of smoked little plaintain and elephant yam patties, topped with a blend of 20 herbs and spices. These were absolutely delightful and indicated the level of deliciousness we could expect for the rest of the meal.
To follow, came the Achari paneer shashlik – a paneer cheese and pepper skewer marinated in mango and mustard, served alongside some puréed spinach. Although it was very tasty, I was a little disappointed that for $128 there was only one single skewer, particularly as the menu implied there would be more than one.
The Bombay style pao with keema was possibly my favourite dish of the night and seemed much more reasonably priced. This basically consisted of sweet, fluffy buns with a pot of spiced minced goat. Scoop a bit of mince onto the bun and this is one hearty, comforting dish. I did think it could have been just a touch more spicy, however.
Last but by no means least, we tried the Bindaas chicken tikka masala. Here, the beautifully tender chicken pieces are presented on skewers in a rich, creamy curry sauce. The menu description of “chicken tikka a l’Anglaise” seemed a little dismissive, even if we all know tikka masala isn’t truly Indian, but when it tastes this good, who cares?!
Let me point out that, on the night we visited, Bindaas had only been open for three days. Service, therefore, still seemed a little hit or miss, where sometimes there were long pauses between dishes, and at other times they came too close together. Although most of the staff were helpful and friendly, one of the waitresses had a little too much attitude for her own good. For example, rather than refilling our empty water glasses, she took them away, and seemed reluctant to admit it was her mistake. Prices, as I already mentioned, are also a little confused – for only four small dishes and two drinks, we paid over $700 between the two of us.
That said, I really enjoyed my meal at Bindaas and will definitely be back. It has the potential to be a really cool hangout, but it’s definitely not perfect just yet.
33 Aberdeen Street
Tel: +852 2447 9998