Exterior

Exterior

Bindi has recently opened, taking over the premises that previously were home to Ann Purna. The vegetarian Indian theme of the previous place continues, but Bindi blends Gujarati and East African influences, with a focus on street food.

I’d been invited along to their launch event, the previous week, but hadn’t managed to make it. I’d heard good things, though, from Edinburgh Foody’s Danielle.

"Not-poppadoms" and pickles

“Not-poppadoms” and pickles

The place is fresh and bright, with simple white, red and wood tones to the fore. The cornicing is elegant and the atmosphere full of heady fragrance.

Service has the strong personal touch, with owner Bindiya Kanani, guiding you through the whole experience with an expert hand. I’m not sure this will be able to be maintained with a packed restaurant, but what everyone visiting this lunchtime experienced was exceptional five-star service.

From their signage, I’d spotted the thali lunch as my prime target, but was keen to try at least one more dish from the menu, as I was plenty hungry enough. With guidance, I settled upon the chowpatty taster plate, which allowed me to sample an array of options from their starter selection. Excellent chai, rich with cardamom, provided the liquid refreshment.

Rice flour and semolina cake

Rice flour and semolina cake

But before we got to that, there were “not-poppadoms” (lightly fried, and flavour-packed pieces of crispness) with excellent pickles, and a lovely spiced rice flour cake. It’s one of the joys of visiting a place in its first few days, that you sometimes get to take part in such wonderful experiments as these.

Next up was the chowpatty taster, which brought together garlic mogo (cassava chips in a wonderfully perky sauce), batata vada, (little fried potato dumplings), chaat, the classic staple street food snack, and pani puri, which were the stars of the show. Bindiya took me through how to apply the mint and coriander dressing, then pop the crisp shells, filled with potato, chick pea and onion mix, straight into your mouth. Each element was entirely delicious.

Platter

Platter

The thali maintained the exceptional standard. Excellent spinach & aubergine and cauliflower & potato curries were accompanied by moong daal, basmati rice, and fresh rotis. It was all lovely, with the spinach and aubergine dish probably the single strongest part of the whole meal.

I was easily convinced that I should round things out with a little sample of their dessert, so I was brought the trio of gulab jamun (little cardamom dumplings), shrikhand (sweetened yoghurt) and gajjar halwa. The latter is a huge favourite of mine, with its wonderful blend of carrot and cardamom. It was a fittingly exquisite end to what had been one of the standout meals of the year.

Thali

Thali

So overall, Bindi was an absolute revelation. Rarely have my socks been so comprehensively knocked off by a place. Each dish was outstandingly good, and the warm and knowledgeable service was truly joyful. I’d recommend you visit soon and you visit often, as this is a superb new addition to Edinburgh’s rich tapestry of restaurant excellence.

Scores
Blythe scores Bindi
5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
5/5 for service
giving an overall 18/20

Desserts

Desserts

I ate: spiced rice flour and semolina cake, crisp “not-poppadoms” with pickle tray; vegetable thali (cauliflower and potato curry, aubergine and spinach curry, rice, moong daal, roti); Bombay chowpatty taster (garlic mogo, chaat, batata vada, pani puri)

I drank: chai; water

I wore: black and red

Total bill: £11

Zomato – Restaurant search and Food Guide

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Written by BKR