Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bindia: Sensational Indian Cuisine on Market Street

Named after their small daughter, Bindia is a delightful family-owned Indian bistro that recently opened at 16 Market Street, by a handsome husband and wife team, together with her brother Chef Chandan, the restaurant's culinary captain. Even from outside, the restaurant looks inviting, with its glass frontage, modern interior, smart logo and soft lighting. Located in one of the newly restored historic properties along the west side of Market Street, Bindia Indian Bistro is part of the revitalized pedestrian-friendly promenade beside the St. Lawrence Market, which along with new brick street paving and heritage details, beautifully complements the historic nature of the neighbourhood.

Bindia's modern and sophisticated logo

Bindia's snazzy modern interior with contemporary wood finishes, warm golden hued pendant lighting, comfortable seating and dramatic blue and white murals featuring indian-inspired design motifs, provide a fun and sophisticated backdrop for the restaurant's warm hospitality and excellent cuisine. A relative newcomer to the hood, owner Michael and his wife Jyoti say they are thrilled to be a part of the historic St. Lawrence neighbourhood and are moved by the enthusiastic support and encouragement they've received so far from area residents. The restaurant was positively buzzing when we arrived for dinner on a chilly Saturday night. 

Michael, the wonderfully friendly and charming owner of Bindia, together with his beautiful 
and gracious wife Jyoti and brother-chef Chandan

A consistent fresh blue and white colour palette is echoed throughout the restaurant, 
from interior finishes to smart table setting details

The menu

The menu features a full selection of appetizers, tandoor dishes as well as Indian classics including vegetarian selections, rice, naan, chapati, condiments and desserts

As we perused Bindia's extensive menu, fresh pappadam and fragrant coriander mint chutney arrived to whet our appetite and provided a glimpse of the excellent food to come. As we considered which wine to choose from the carte des vins, our server suggested the 2012 Reméage Rosé de Syrah, a rich and satisfying rosé which, as we would discover, paired beautifully with the food.

Bindia complimentary pappadam and coriander mint chutney

The 2012 Reméage Rosé de Syrah paired beautifully with the food

Rich in colour and full of flavour, the rosé was delicious

With a tempting selection of eight appetizers to select from, we decided to start with Bindia's Vegetable Samosas filled with potatoes, peas and spices, and the Vegetable Pakoras, mixed vegetable fritters in a gram flour batter. An ardent and unwavering fan of Indian cuisine, I've had the pleasure of dining in many fine Indian restaurants around the world, but Bindia's samosas and pakoras were among the best I've ever had. Ethereally light and flaky, the samosas were mouthwateringly delicious, and the vibrant saffron-hued pakoras were delicately fried and full of flavour. When our server came to remove the plates, she asked how we enjoyed the appetizers. After we gave her an enthusiastic 'thumbs up', I had three words for her — "Who's the chef!"

Ethereally light and flaky Vegetarian Samosas served with a flavourful tamarind chutney

Mixed Vegetable Pakora fritters in a gram flour batter served with tamarind chutney

Trying to decide on two or three entrées was a challenge, as everything on the menu sounded amazing. An array of dishes 'from the tandoor' included Chicken Tikka, Tandoori Jumbo Prawns, Lamb Seekh Kabab, Tandoori Lobster Tail, Tandoori Lamb Chops and the family-style Tandoori Platter with a selection of Chicken Tikka, Jumbo Prawns, Paneer Tikka and Chicken Kabab, to traditional Indian classics such as Butter Chicken, Lamb Vindaloo, Dal Makhni, Palak Paneer, Baingain Bharta and Biryani. The menu also features Basmati and Pilau Rice, as well as Garlic, Stuffed, Regular Naan and wholewheat Chapati.

Butter Chicken: tender pieces of tandoori grilled white meat 
simmered in a rich creamy tomato sauce with special house blends

House made yogurt Raita with shredded cucumbers and roasted cumin

Dal Makhni: slow cooked black lentlls in a rich cream sauce with ginger,
garlic, tomato and fresh coriander

Homemade pickle

Palak Paneer: fresh spinach purée cooked with Indian cheese, garlic, ginger 
and tomatoes with a touch of cream

Garlic Naan

Bindia Stuffed Naan with tandoori chicken, onions, green peppers and mild spices

To our great surprise, Chef Chandan took time out from his busy kitchen to bring our spectacular platter of Tandoori Jumbo Prawns and to introduce himself. Word had obviously travelled quickly that he had a swooning admirer. Not only is Chef Chandan a tremendous cook, he is also a lovely, warm and gracious man with an enormous heart. He echoed his brother-in-laws delight in being in the St Lawrence neighbourhood, but also being so close to the market where he buys most of his ingredients. A man after my own heart. Having lived in the area myself for almost 30 years, the market is my culinary beacon also.

Chef Chandan took time to bring out our prawns and chat with us about the restaurant.
A thoroughly charming fellow, he was as lovely as his cuisine.

Tandoori Jumbo Prawns marinated with tandoori spices

Plump, moist and absolutely delicious, the presentation made the dish even more dramatic

Tandoori lamb Chops marinated with fresh herbs and yogurt serve with 
vegetables and fresh mint chutney

A gracious gesture at the close of our meal, Michael and his wife brought over a complimentary dessert for our table to share. Slightly sweet with a hint of caradamom, the Kulfi was the perfect end to an outstanding evening. Just as 'bindi' are symbols of success and good fortune, Bindia Indian Bistro is a hidden gem destined for great things. With its contemporary yet sophisticated take on traditional regional Indian cuisine, friendly atmosphere and warm hospitality, Bindia lifts the spirit and engages the senses with unexpected pleasures. It's truly a culinary destination not to be missed.

Kulfi, an Indian ice cream flavoured with cardamom and garnished with shredded coconut

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