How can one family owned restaurant, continue to dominate the Indian dining scene? Zipporah Gene investigates…
After 10 years in Bangkok’s cut-throat restaurant industry, Indus still manages to rake in award after award – year after year.
Loved by locals and expatriates alike, it’s unique selection of Mughulite dishes, is credited for putting authentic North-West Indian cuisine at the forefront of Bangkok’s dining consciousness. Centrally located, the restaurant itself sits in a renovated Californian style bungalow in the meandering but exclusive Soi 26.
We went along for a quiet Saturday brunch.
As you cross the impressive, carved, antique Rajasthani doors, you’ll soon realise the reason why, people can’t seem to get enough of this place. With its large and spacious interior, calming ambient music – the atmosphere is just right.
You’ll definitely need time, to take in all the delicately positioned sculptures and artefacts. And, you certainly wouldn’t be faulted for dawdling in this sanctorium of subdued elegance.
My eyes darted around, senses piqued, as the intoxicating aromas of a customer’s order, made it’s way to my olfactory bulbs.
I was ready to eat.
Fortunately, the staff – friendly and prompt – were quick to see this, and we were timely seated in the main dining area. Indus boasts of having a cocktail lounge, a function room as well as an ultra swanky and private VIP room. Luckily, from where we were sat, I had a beautiful, uninterrupted view of the exotic garden terrace and outside seating area.
Whilst holding true to its Kashmiri-influenced Mughali recipes, there is also an incredible selection of well known favourites. With the exception of it’s highly coveted spice blends, which are imported whole from India and prepared daily; most of the ingredients are locally sourced and organic. Because of the lack of the heavy, excessively rich flavours, which are usually associated with Indian cuisine, you’ll find that many of the dishes available are actually healthier re-workings on well established classics. You may also be glad to know that there is a substantial array of vegetarian dishes on offer.
It is this dedication to light but healthy tasting food, that immediately comes across in our starter – the paneer tikka. Akin to cottage cheese, it is cooked in a yoghurt dressing, and infused with a racy tikka masala spice blend. It’s firmness gave way to a smooth rich centre that only kept me wanting more with each mouthful.
The tandoori creamy broccoli was generously seasoned yet elegantly reserved; and was certainly the perfect way to lead on in my gastronomical expedition into Mughali cuisine.
Just when as I assumed things couldn’t get any better, the chicken malai kebab – sent my heart fluttering. A juicy, melt-in-your-mouth reinvention of a timeless classic, I’d eaten so many times before; this dish unequivocally won my heart.
I’d be lying if I said the rogan josh came in at a very close second. This slow cooked lamb curry was unabashed in its spiciness and richness of flavour. A soul warming delight, the subtle but present bouquet of cardamom, cinnamon, and bay, danced around the tip of mouth even after I’d eaten the very last piece. This particular dish is best paired with one of the many naans on offer; all cooked in the tradional tandoor oven.
For those not so keen on either vegetables or meat, I would definitely recommend the seabass curry. It is light, fragrant and full of flavour yet deceptively fluffy.
The surprise treat during the whole visit was the new resident mixologist, Virender Thakur. Recently relocated from India, and a veteran of many of the famous bars in South Asia, his genius with cocktails can never be overstated. His signature martini was dry, crisp and mature, and only pleasantly hinted at the addition of Asia’s most utilized herb – ginger. However, my favourite drink of the night was the lady lime with lemongrass, an addictive concoction that I actually didn’t dare put down.
From the impeccable service, to very first plate, to the last drop of soothing chai tea; Indus, provides a royal dining experience.