Dining / Pack-a-punch street food finds a home

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WHILE I always seize the chance to dine at a Michelin-star restaurant, I also seize every opportunity to dig into pack-a-punch street food.

Binnys Kathitto dishes up some pretty yummy Indian street food from the country’s southern region. I’ve only been once (so far) but have dreamt about my visit ever since. Do yourself a favour and share, share, share, so you experience as much as possible.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

Established in 2015, Binnys introduced the first Indian street food van to Canberra (at The Hamlet). It’s now opened a decent-sized restaurant further down Lonsdale Street, next to Hopscotch and The Schnitzelhaus, with its outdoor dining area soaking up sun during the day.

We knew we were on a good wicket when the vegetarian Palak Pappadi Chaat arrived ($11.90). It’s a super snack to share. The batter-fried spinach leaves were topped with crushed, crispy papdis and the dish came with potatoes and some sweet chutney. It was to die for.

Next we headed to the street specials section of the menu and, after much consideration, selected the Idiyappam and Stew ($18.90). Again, sharing was the go. The spring hopper pancakes were made of fine ground raw rice and grated coconut and the stew slow-cooked goat with a rich coconut-milk gravy. The meat melted in the mouth. It couldn’t have been more tender.

We both love paneer and are fascinated by the gazillion ways to spice up this fresh cheese. At Binnys, the cheese is cooked in a creamy tomato onion base with butter and spices ($16.90). At first we wondered if the dish would be too creamy, but it wasn’t. It was full of flavour, looked gorgeous, and another winner.

Also on the curry line up is a duck option cooked in tomato, ginger and spiced coconut paste marinade and a pork belly marinated in handmade vindaloo masala. Fish, chicken and beef are also available.

Binnys is Canberra’s first and only Indian restaurant (that I know of) that serves nothing but 100 per cent gluten-free food. The restaurant serves Kathitto wraps, dosa, seven street specials and as many curries.

Desserts include deep-fried dumplings soaked in cardamom and saffron-flavoured sugar syrup and a cardamom-flavoured ice cream (both $6.90).

The restaurant is licensed, with whites and reds starting at $28 and topping off at $49. Sweet mango lassi and other Indian drinks are also served ($5.90).

We left Binnys excited and knowing we’ll return – time and time again.

Binnys Kathitto, 5 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Call 5100 2055. Open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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