Nothing quite hits the spot like a cold mango lassi on a hot summer’s day or a belly-warming dhal curry on the once-rare-but-now-all-too-frequent days when the temperature randomly drops to unbearable levels in Hong Kong. We’ve rounded up our favourite spots to stuff ourselves silly with garlic naan.
JoJo Indian Cuisine
Oh, JoJo. Established in 1985, this Wanchai institution has outlived them all – and has had more than enough energy to undergo a recent facelift and dig deep into its roots to come up with a menu designed to take discerning diners through South and Central Asia. Taking inspiration from Bombay cafés and popular Indian street food, their lunch buffet was duly explored by us. We particularly enjoyed the aloo gobi adraki, lamb dhansak, sarson mach and JoJo’s exceptional and addictive popadom. Though we didn’t get to try it, we’re stoked to return for their version of English breakfast ($78), with masala baked beans, grilled tomato, mushroom, broccoli and spiced omelette, and the newly launched family-friendly weekend brunch ($168).
2/F, David House, 37–39 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, 2527 3776
This contemporary Indian newcomer in Wanchai sparked excitement amongst us late last year with its off-kilter menu, full of inter-cultural gems like black garlic naan ($58), tandoori portobello mushrooms ($158), and paneer bhurji quesadilla ($98). And although you can’t go wrong with glazed, succulent pork ribs, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when they’re expertly prepared. Daarukhana’s northern Indian-inspired baby pork ribs ($188) use premium Canadian meat that’s brushed with a sweet-and sour-glaze and topped with slivers of radish, edible flowers and dried mango leather – uncomplicated, fulfilling flavours that hit all the right spots. As for the decor, moody lighting and a cosy space with limited seats set the tone for intimacy.
G/F and 1/F, Tai Yip Building, 141 Thomson Road, Wanchai, 9889 9768
Photo credit: supertaster mel
The Clay Oven
Once Kennedy Town’s sole Indian restaurant (and the reason for its devoted following), The Clay Oven has since been joined by other Indian neighbours, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from talking about the eatery’s heavenly butter chicken ($79). Their traditional tandoori oven churns out piping hot, perfectly soft and crispy garlic naan ($5) and the palak paneer ($78) here is tasty as can be. Wrap up with a mango lassi ($22) and you’re good to go.
Kam Hing Building, 27–31 Catchick Street, Kennedy Town, 2872 6900
Gaylord Indian Restaurant
With almost 50 years under its belt, Gaylord Indian Restaurant is a true veteran of the TST dining scene – which has no lack of Indian restaurants as it is and deserves a mention for that alone. Its Michelin-recommend fare draws high praise from the Foodie team for its traditional flavours and playful touches, like the truffle naan ($40), a basket of blistered triangular flatbreads topped with truffle pâté and cheese, and the impressive tandoori jumbo prawns ($268), stunning us with its colours and irresistible aroma. There’s also a bit of an entertainment factor to your meal with live Indian music performances every night.
1/F, Ashley Centre, 23-25 Ashley Road, TST, 2376 1001
Proudly serving up southern Indian cuisine as Hong Kong’s very first vegetarian and vegan Indian restaurant, Woodlands has been a staple of TST’s food circuit since as far back as 1981. With a recent renovation under its belt and new additions to their plant-based and Jain-friendly menu, we return time and again to this popular spot for a dose of fried idly ($55), crispy cakes of rice and black lentils, masala fried popadom ($20), and their incredible cone-shaped butter dosa ($60), made freshly in-house by Woodlands’ dosa specialist, which gets double-dipped in fragrant palak masala ($70) and protein-rich dal makhani ($65).
UG Shop 16 & 17, Wing On Plaza, 62 Mody Road, TST East, 2369 3718
Photo credit: Foodpanda
This is our go-to when we’re feeling especially starved. Khana Khazana’s all-you-can-eat vegetarian lunch buffet is hard to beat, and though we would normally think twice about a buffet (they’re one of the leading factors in the restaurant industry’s excessive food waste problem), the variety of dishes here makes it a great destination when you’re planning a get-together meal with a bunch of friends or family or that big office outing everyone’s been putting off for much too long.
1/F, Dannies House, 20 Luard Road, Wanchai, 2520 5308
Bindaas Bar + Kitchen
Famous for their ingenious “naanza” – a winning amalgamation of naan and pizza – the food at Bindaas is not the only thing that’s funky AF; their basement location on Aberdeen Street could double up as a neon nightclub, there are shiny mirrors everywhere and they’ve got a radiant, stained-glass-backed bar shaking up our drinks. If it’s your first time at Bindaas, the chicken makhani naanza ($128) is the perfect introduction to this chic spot that focuses on using a modern approach to elevate Indian cuisine to sophisticated heights.
33 Aberdeen Street, Central, 2447 9998
Photo credit: @blacksalthk
We love this chilled eatery and its Southeast Asian cuisine so much that we honoured it with a Foodie Forks distinction last year. BlackSalt’s take on the traditional flavours of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka with a twist makes it a true neighbourhood gem, and we return for the friendly staff, purse-friendly prices and 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.
14 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, 3702 1237
Indian Curry Express
There’s no better place to dine on a budget than Indian Curry Express. Living up to the often romanticised “hole-in-the-wall” moniker, this place truly is a hole in the wall, with wooden stools and fold-out tables to match. But that’s when you know it’s the good stuff, right? Order yourself the all-day curry special ($60) and mop it up with fresh, steamy chapatti for a fuss-free meal. The dhal makhani ($70) and paneer khadai ($78) are also very tasty and worth trying.
Shop 6, Rockson Mansion, 27 Water Street, Sai Ying Pun, 6744 6915
Sangeetha Vegetarian Restaurant
This globally adored restaurant from Chennai might be a chain, but you wouldn’t know it from the big flavours and warm service flowing out of its humble TST branch. Our favourites at Sangeetha are the flavoursome aloo gobi masala ($65), the homemade Indian sweets and their legendary paper masala dosa ($105), which has been rumoured to bridge physical as well as emotional distances...
Shop UG1–5 and 31, UG/F, Wing On Plaza, 62 Mody Road, TST East, 2525 0552
This South Indian restaurant chain is a well-known gem within the vegetarian community. Beloved for its extensive menu, consistent quality and very reasonable price range, the Hong Kong branch boasts over a hundred dishes on the menu. Choosing between so many dishes can be a burden, so we recommend ordering off their thali menu if you’re a first-timer to ensure a taste of everything. The Saravanaa special meals ($90), served with rice, sambar, chapatti, two vegetable curries, raita, kuzhambu and popadom, and the North Indian thali ($110), with its offering of sweet, dry vegetables, naan, vegetable pilau, paneer butter masala, dhal butter fry, channa masala, raita and popadom, are the best places to start.
4/F, Ashley Centre, 23–25 Ashley Road, TST, 2736 1127
Fairly new to the scene, Curry Bay’s already making waves with its private kitchen dinners. Knowing that Indian dining experiences can sometimes veer on the traditional and safe side, it’s exciting to see this contemporary concept testing the waters. Curry Bay gets busy on Thursday and Friday nights at Wanchai’s BiteUnite space and is currently serving up a six-course menu for $500. We had a fabulous meal of pan-Indian cuisine there last time we went and can only imagine that the new additions to the menu are just as spectacular. The Madras fish curry, made with a coconut and tomato base and served with vermicelli, is especially outstanding.
15 Lung On Street, Wanchai, email@example.com
Photo credit: Tina.sekharan
Healthy, fresh and quick is what this takeaway joint’s all about. 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 spiced minced lamb and crisp veggies in flatbread, is a firm fave, as is the protein platter ($78), a delicious way to go carb free with its hearty lamb tikka, chicken tikka, paneer tikka and salad. We hear their desserts are completely sugar free and use natural sweeteners like dates.
146 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, 2415 3000
Photo credit: New Punjab Club
New Punjab Club
Black Sheep Restaurants’ upmarket tandoori chophouse New Punjab Club is not only beautifully decked out and serves up some of the most delicious grilled and spiced meats known to humankind – the masalewali chanp ($468) lamb chops are divine – but the staff are some of the friendliest we’ve come across and provide an education on the diversity of North Indian and Pakistani cuisine. They’ve also been newly-minted with their first, and very deserving, Michelin star.
34 Wyndham Street, Central, 2368 1223
First published on 20 March 2018; edited on 11 February 2019.
For more articles like this, like Foodie on Facebook