The slopes of Soho are dotted with many trendy little restaurants and bars, some further from the maddening crowd than others. Tucked away under a gallery opposite PMQ is Bindaas, a small, chic restaurant that’s perfect for the night out when you’re feeling like some good contemporary Indian but don’t want to get to stumble over your belly on the way out.
The restaurant has two entrances, one on Aberdeen Street, the other on the steps of Mee Lun Street. The place has a stylish, hipster charm, with a geometric marble floor and a bar lit with kaleidoscopic patterns. The name comes from a colloquial Hindi term that means ‘chilled out’ and ‘carefree’. And Bindaas is exactly that – the dimmed lights emit a warm red glow from the bar, accompanied by lounge beats (that can at times drown your conversation), it’s not where you’d expect to have Indian dinner. The high chairs and tables look slick, but as you sit precariously atop them, hugging your bag to your chest, they make for slightly uncomfortable seating (although there is the option of hanging your bag on the wall next to the entrance, should you choose).
Having looked through the menu, we order the appetiser prawn ghee toast ($158) and chicken naanza ($118). The prawns are tender and smothered with red spice paste and Indian clarified butter, and are punchy and spicy. The homemade saffron sago chips is also a fun twist, and we love the refreshing texture made up of tiny crunch balls. Moving on to the naanza (naan and pizza, geddit?), made with tomato gravy and an Amul cheese and mozarella mix, this common Mumbai street food is crisp. The chilli chicken topping, that’s wok-tossed in oriental sauces with onions and bell peppers, has a well-balanced sweetness and spiciness. For the mains we select the pork vindaloo, a Goan specialty that consists of slow-cooked pork belly and meat marinated for 36 hours. Zesty and not too overwhelming, the soft garlic naan is a perfect pairing.
As far as pricing in Soho goes, Bindaas is not the cheapest place, but for its contemporary twist on traditional Indian recipes and appropriately-sized portions, it’s the go-to place if you need something spicy for a hot date.