Indigo is *that* restaurant. The one that made London Evening Standard news for going entirely gluten free and dairy free without telling anyone and no one noticed! Dominic the Chef wanted to ensure the menu was a success for diners without gluten and dairy restrictions before announcing the shift. Gluten free and dairy free people, join me in thanking Dominic and those diners for bringing us a new safe place to eat!
Venue and Menu
The Indigo environment is a wonderful background to enjoying food and company. Lighting is intimate. Chairs are plush and comfortable and on wheels for ease of movement. Live piano is entertaining and not too loud to compete with conversation. Dining on the mezzanine floor offers views to Covent Garden or the ground floor bar.
The Indigo al la carte Menu is viewable online and currently features this text at the bottom. “All dishes are entirely gluten and dairy-free, however they are not prepared in a dedicated gluten and dairy-free kitchen”
This is because Indigo does prepare and serve food containing gluten for breakfast and for afternoon tea. Afternoon Teas are also available gluten free however.
I welcome this straight forward disclosure as a clear starting point. There are very few 100% Gluten Free venues. The important thing is understanding the level of actual risk. I always want to know how confident the Chef is that cross-contamination risk is minimal thanks to their protocols since this can vary widely from “negligible risk” to “we really cannot be sure” from venue to venue. My confidence started high and was reinforced by engaged, friendly, knowledgeable serving staff. Questions were answered capably. I believe there is neglible risk.
Chef Dominic is now offering Gluten and Dairy Free Masterclass sessions. Tips and tricks are followed by a three course meal and a take away of recipe cards and One Aldwych Apron- http://www.onealdwych.com/gluten-free-masterclass
Food, on a rating from Sublime to Orgasmic?
I chose Hand Picked Dorset Crab, Potted Shrimp and Pickled Mackerel as a starter. The shrimp combined creaminess with curious and tantalising mouthfeel. The mackerel, pickled in citrus juices, was moist, tender and dancing with flavor.
For my main I agonised between desire to try Potato Gnocchi, Beer Battered Day Boat Fish & Chips and Grilled Halibut with heritage tomatoes, olives and basil. Whenever I have this terrible dilemma of choice I need to remember how wonderful it is to have choice!
I chose the Fish & Chips. Why? Well to my dismay, both of my top two favourite fish & chip venues in London have closed in the last few years. First the marvelous Maddys Fish Bar bar in New Cross Gate. Then more recently the terrific Truscott Arms. So choosing the Fish & Chips here allowed me to compare it to the best in class these venues used to offer.
I recognise two great kinds of fish batter. One provides ‘just right’ levels of crunchiness as a contrast to the tenderness of the enclosed fish. Another is is a lighter, flakey, tasty blanket for the fish. Truscott Arms perfected the former, Maddy’s the latter. At Indigo my battered cod had that ‘just right’ crunchiness around the edges of the fish. Never too much batter, always just enough. The chips and vibrantly green peas with flavour to match were suitable partners. Tartare sauce and basalmic vinegar were welcome compliments.
For dessert I was again expecting a tough choice. The online menu currently includes a Compressed Peach & Elderflower Doughnut but this was changed to a Polenta Cake. Hiding my dismay, I asked why? The doughnuts, made with almond flour, are not yet meeting the standards the chef demands. Too dense, not light and fluffy enough. This I can understand and appreciate. I did suggest that they should sample Borough 22 doughnuts in order to be inspired and flatter by imitation!
So instead I devoured a Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich. Crispy biscuit, not too sweet. Smooth, cool ice cream. Strawberries and strawberry jelly. A lovely, fairly light dessert. I experienced no buyers remorse, despite my dining companion relishing a Valrhona chocolate mousse & cherry sorbet.
My dining companion ordered some amazing drinks but the Gardeners Delight deserves special attention. Feast the eyes!
Would I Return?
Can you guess? Simple answer. Yes. Safety, service and amazing food. I enjoy eating out at diverse venues. Cafes and restaurants. Fast casual, Buffet Bars, Pizza places, also fine and upmarket dining. This is fine and upmarket dining. I would bring friends and family here who did not have dietary restrictions confident that we would *all* enjoy the dining experience.
Add this to the growing list of venues offer great food which also happens to be gluten free and dairy free. Equal emphasis on *great* and *free* rather than on the latter to the expense of the former. Once Dominic starts making doughnuts to his satisfaction he has a very willing and eager taste tester ready to return.