Like Chinese cuisine, there are a wide variety of regional dishes and flavours in India, from the creamy curries and tandoori dishes of northern India to the vegetable stews and dosas of the south. We adore ‘em all. However, despite Hong Kong’s sizeable Indian presence, we’ve been disappointed that the local Indian restaurant scene is not more vibrant. We’ve found many restaurants’ flavours lacking, often sweeter than they should be. Thankfully, there are a few standouts – places we head back to again and again for a true taste of India and its neighbours.
Bindaas Bar + Kitchen
Indian street food dishes and small plates are the draw at this chic Indian spot in Central. For us, the naanza (naan pizza) is a revelation, better than a regular pizza pie. Our choice is the chicken kali miri naanza ($128), smothered with cheese, Makhani tomato sauce and black-pepper-braised chicken. We also dig the pao (from $88), which are toasted buns served with a variety of meat or veggie fillings, the slow-cooked pork vindaloo curry ($168) and the supremely authentic Bombay-style masala chai ($18). In fact, all the tipples are recommended – we have a soft spot for the fiery Sheik ($98), made with vodka, mango, coriander and chilli – and there are live acoustic bands on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. What’s not to love?
LG/F, 33 Aberdeen Street, Central, 2447 9998
Chicken kali miri naanza
This chilled, cosy eatery located in a quaint lane in Sai Ying Pun (Grassroots Pantry’s old spot) is all about the traditional flavours of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka with a twist. Run by Chef Taran Chadha and his wife, BlackSalt is a true neighbourhood gem, and we return for the friendly staff, purse-friendly prices and, most importantly, the beautifully presented, innovative cuisine. The okra fries ($78), battered with chickpeas and served with chilli mayo and pickled red onion, are a must order, as is the What’s the Mattar Paneer? ($98) – a light, refreshing take on the classic pea and Indian cottage cheese dish, this time highlighted by basil and balsamic vinegar – and the poulet tikki masala ($198 for a half order/$318 for a whole bird): roasted chicken curry, accompanied by an assortment of sides, from pilaf to flatbread.
14 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, 3702 1237
Recently opened in Wanchai, this tiny takeaway joint’s ethos is healthy Indian food. Many Hong Kongers mistakenly believe that Indian cuisine is exceedingly heavy and oily, but owner Tina aims to change that mindset. Located just a five-minute walk from our office, Masala Train has become a lunchtime go-to for its well-seasoned curry meal boxes and wraps that are are both generous in portion and a great bang for your buck. The lamb keema roll ($68), made with authentically spiced minced lamb and lots of fresh, crisp veggies in flatbread, is a firm fave, as is the protein platter ($78), a delicious way to go carb free with its hefty serving of lamb tikka, chicken tikka, paneer tikka and salad. We’ve yet to try the desserts, but we were intrigued to hear that they are completely sugar free, sweetened with dates and other natural stuff.
146 Lockhart Road (entrance on O’Brien Road), Wanchai, 2415 3000