With its rich flavours and varied dishes, Indian food has a legion of passionate fans. Here in Hong Kong we benefit from the presence of the city’s Indian community ensuring there are plenty of authentic restaurants. Here we review six of the best Indian restaurants in Hong Kong.
Gaylord first opened its doors in 1972. In view of Hong Kong’s highly competitive restaurant scene, not to mention the sky-high commercial rents, we wanted to discover the secret to its longevity.
The charming bar is very welcoming and the Gaylord welcome continues around into the dining area as you are greeted by smiling faces and the heady aromas of spices and freshly baked naans from the tandoor. Quite an entrance.
We are seated in one of Gaylord’s plush alcoves with views into the kitchen. It’s comfy yet elegant, and we simply can’t wait to dive into the menu. The onion bhaji and vegetable samosas are crispy delights. Chicken tikka malai is delicately marinated in yoghurt and cardamom, and the plump chicken is moist.
The vegetable dishes are delicious, too. The fresh okra in the bhindi masala retains a little bite, while chole bhature is a wonderful contrast of textures; chick peas in rich tomato gravy with two large bhatura (fried unleavened bread).
Now for the big hitters. Gaylord absolutely nails the chicken tikka masala, but the real showstopper is the lamb madras, tender chunks in a rich, spicy, coconutty gravy – out of this world, with fragrant saffron pulao and the most delightfully charred yet pillowy garlic naan.
The restaurant’s general manager Bharat Devgan and his staff take great care in everything they do. The menu is vast, the service warm and the live pianist another nice touch – and the wonderful dishes proudly take centre stage. It’s 46 years young, and while many others have come and gone, Gaylord is still very much lord of the manor. – Karl Woodbury
1/F Ashley Centre, 23-25 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
If being busy is the sign of a good restaurant, then Bombay Dreams, a fine-dining eatery that blends a contemporary feel with authentic Indian dishes, is clearly excellent.
We opted for the tasting menu – three courses, plus accompaniments and desserts. Aside from being very reasonably priced at HK$498 per head, it has the added benefit of making selecting from the extensive menu a lot easier!
The meal began with the arrival of an amusebouche, which signalled straight away we were in for a special night. For the first course, I chose scallop kadipatta – scallops with dried curry leaves and roasted garlic; it was a marriage of flavours that didn’t disappoint. My husband started with the cheese balls – homemade cottage cheese dumplings stuffed with peppers and served with tomato chutney, a substantial starter with a rustic feel.
The second course offerings were a choice of tandoori pink salmon, rosemary chicken tikka or sesame paneer tikka. My rosemary chicken tikka was easily the best I’ve ever had – great flavour with perfectly cooked chicken. My husband was similarly impressed with the paneer.
For the third course, we chose a lamb dish, dum ka gosht, juicy chunks of meat slow-cooked in gravy with cashew and brown onion paste, and chicken Murgh-e-Bahar, before we enjoyed anjeer ka tukda, a delicate bread pudding with figs and pistachio, for dessert. – Melissa Stevens
4/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central
When Ashish Gind moved to Lantau four years ago, he felt there was a lack of good-quality, authentic Indian food available in the area, so he opened Curry Lounge in 2016. I took my kids along to give it a try, and with Miss Fussy in tow, Curry Lounge was in for a real test!
We started with dahi puri – crispy puffed balls filled with potatoes, tomatoes, onion, yoghurt and tamarind sauce. The punch of flavour inside the crunchy shell was a delicious way to start our meal.
Keeping to the traditional favourites for the mains, we ordered butter chicken, which was creamy and full of flavour, lamb rogan josh, also a winner with its tender lamb and tasty sauce, and chicken tikka, served on a sizzling platter. All the dishes, including the must-have garlic naan, were absolutely delicious.
The highlight of dessert was the gulub jamun, which are like warm donuts, soaked in a light sugary syrup and rose water, and topped with almond slivers.
Whether it’s date night, or a night out with the family, Curry Lounge has certainly delivered on providing an authentic, enjoyable dining experience, with great food, modern décor and impeccable service. And the verdict from the toughest critic of all? “I love Indian food now, and I can’t wait to go back.” – Danielle Higgins
Shop S, G/F Retail, Seaview Crescent,
8 Tung Chung Waterfront Road, Tung Chung | currylounge.com.hk
New Punjab Club
It’s fairly obvious as you enter the elegant setting that is New Punjab Club that you’re in for a special experience. With plush leather booths, embossed wall panels and fascinating artwork, the place oozes sophistication with its bold post-Colonial Punjab ambience.
The well-stocked gin trolley arrived shortly after we sat down. I’m not usually a gin drinker, but I decided to indulge after our waiter explained the options with such enthusiasm, and I’m pleased I did.
The waiters are friendly and knowledgeable and we went with their recommendations throughout, starting with one of the stars of the night, samosa chaat. The smashed samosas, covered in tamarind glaze and yoghurt, with crispy noodles and pomegranate seeds to add some crunch, were simply sensational. Next, we tried the keema pau – delicious spiced mutton – and lahori seekh, a wagyu mince kebab.
For mains, we ordered the Mughal Room Makhani, which was rich and creamy, but the showstopper was the masalewali chanp, two huge lamb chops, served with beetroot salad and emberroasted onion.
We were so full, but we had to try dessert (it’s a different stomach, right?). The sticky toffee pudding was sweet and delicious, but the standout for us was the lemon posset with raspberry sorbet – light, refreshing and just perfect.
The food is superb, the service is impeccable and you leave feeling like you’ve just experienced a little slice of Punjab history, right here in Hong Kong. – Danielle Higgins
New Punjab Club
34 Wyndham Street, Central
JoJo Indian Cuisine
JoJo Indian Cuisine in Wan Chai has been undergoing something of a revamp, with its latest innovation a leisurely weekend brunch.
The brunch has two components, a live chaat counter where a chef prepares authentic street-food style dishes, and a buffet of hot dishes. We started with a fresh mango lassi and a classic masala dosa with a delicious potato filling and a flavoursome chutney, before our freshly prepared street snacks were delivered to our table.
It was my first, but certainly not last, experience of dahi bhala, a beautifully decadent mass of yoghurty flour balls. We also got to sample pani puri, a round hollow fried crisp that you puncture and then fill with sauces. Pao bhaji, an Indian fast food dish consisting of a vegetable curry and soft bread roll, was fun and filling.
We then moved on to the second stage of the brunch by hitting the buffet and salad bar. We loved the delicious vegetarian Manchurian curry, and the rich and creamy chicken korma. This was all accompanied by fresh and fluffy naan and a biryani. There’s also a selection of traditional desserts to finish the meal.
While we stuck to the lassis, you can order sparkling wine by the bottle for HK$128, and a selection of other pitchers of drinks. At HK$168 per person, and HK$108 for kids aged four to ten, it’s easily one of the best value brunches in Hong Kong, and definitely one of the most interesting. – Melissa Stevens
JoJo Indian Cuisine
37-39 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai 2/F, David House
It’s always exciting to see how a cuisine evolves. Bindaas promises a cultural journey around the secret kitchens of India and it really is a thrill-a-minute ride. General manager Sam is highly animated and talks passionately about bringing the street food of India to the diners of Hong Kong.
Sam says that Bindaas is the Hindi word for “chilled out”; it has even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary. Just as language evolves, so do some of India’s most tried and trusted recipes, getting the Bindaas makeover.
Keema pao is like a “Sloppy Joe”, Sam informs us. The minced goat with peas on a lightly toasted bun is a triumph. The naanza (spicy toppings with melted cheese on a crisp naan base) is another invention of the restaurant. We opted for the delightful Kerala beef chilli naanza. Another street food elevated into a fun canapé, sev puri is humble mash potato on a mini fried puri with spices and chutney.
Bindaas also offers “small plates” and these tapas are real crowd pleasers. The samosa spring rolls were superbly crisp cigars, each served in a shot glass on a tomato chutney. Mutton galawati – melt-in-the mouth mini burgers in milk pittas with a zingy apple salsa – are fun, modern and fresh.
This is a place that champions all that is new and is a world away from traditional Indian fare. Variety is the spice of life and, with its inventiveness, Bindaas truly tantalises the tastebuds. With craft cocktails and live music too, it really is a great place to “chill”. – Karl Woodbury
33 Aberdeen Street, Central (corner of Hollywood Road)
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This article first appeared in the June/July 2018 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.