The ancient kings of India would feel at home at Bindia

Noma unseated from its number one position (photo: Antissimo)
January 13th, 2012 2:18 pm| by admin
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In ancient India, under direct orders from the king, his subjects were instructed to eat Indian food to increase their libido. This ancient prescription still holds true today but there’s also a few other reasons why dining on Indian food – particularly from Bindia – is good for your health and your taste buds.

Upon entering most Indian restaurants, your attention is drawn towards Bollywood music videos or the aroma of stodgy butter chicken. But upon entering Bindia we found ourselves in a modern, sophisticated Indian restaurant featuring saffron-coloured candle holders and pictures of sikhs. The only blindingly overt Indian reminder was the gold-plated column made of real gold – 10 carat to be precise.

Owner Amer Sulman’s love of great Indian cuisine led to the birth of Bindia in 2003. The playful name reflects his devotion to great Indian food – ‘bindi’ refers to the dot that a man places on his beloved’s forehead representing love and prosperity.

Sulman desires to give diners an experience of Indian food that transcends traditional notions. A large focus of his is to serve up Indian food that’s healthy and fresh. Nothing here is deep-fried or stir-fried, and no butter or animal fats are used. Even the raita (yoghurt salad) has only 1.8 percent fat.

While it may be easy on the hips, it’s also fantastic on the lips. Our starter kicked off our appetite. Little bread pockets with mixed fillings of mint, coriander, parsley and chilli provided a plethora of zesty flavours – just what you always wanted Indian food to taste like but never got! These were accompanied by grilled aubergines encompassing small pieces of Indian cheese. Alongside this were six fantastic chutneys, ranging from pomegranate to mint to spiced carrot.

One of the defining factors that sets Bindia apart from other Indian restaurants is the flexibility of the menu.  You choose your curry separately from your meat, so the typical Butter chicken can just as easily become a Butter lamb. There’s also the platter option – created to fit the popular European way of presenting food. My platter was the Yellow curry with lamb and may I (as a proud Kiwi) add that the lamb was of New Zealand origin. There was a small portion of rice (which is all you need), a great piece of naan and some fresh raita. A great size, I was satisfyingly full but not bursting. My companion was brave enough to make his way through the Chicken madras curry – a great one for the spicy lovers out there.  

Drinks-wise we enjoyed a good Indian beer, and with our meal a very creamy mango lassi. No Indian meal is complete without a great lassi! Sulman has also proudly created a great juices menu saying: “It’s actually better to eat the food with a juice rather than a beer.” The most recent edition to the drinks menu is the Indian wine – a thought perhaps if you’re feeling adventurous.

We finished our little Indian expedition with some extremely creative Indian desserts. Whilst a very nice mango crème brûlée was on offer, we chose the carrot cake and the milk cake. These are not what you think. The carrot cake is made of raw carrots … just sweeter. But the real taste of India came through in the milk cakes – small dome-shaped pieces of rich, sweet, sugary goodness. Indian desserts are traditionally heavy, so Sulman has created lighter versions and kept the portion sizes small. Some fresh fruit on the side made all of this go down quite a treat.

It’s a shame that Bindia wasn’t around at the time of India’s ancient kings, as I’m sure they would have told their subjects to feast there. Nevertheless it’s here now in Copenhagen, providing some of the healthiest, innovative and sharp-tasting Indian cuisine in Denmark.

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