Long story short: With homely comfort cloaked in finesse, Indigo Deli is both elegant and excellent
Little did I know when I woke up on this Sunday gone that, as part of our weekly Hunger Games, I would visit a series of places to tame the beast in my (our?) belly. Of them, Indigo deigned to be the second visit and I’m pleased it was. Mumbai has a culinary scene that drifts towards mediocrity more often than not, but one restaurant very rarely (if ever) treads that territory. Indigo is famed for constantly raising the bar and then smashing it as it raises it again because, sod it, why not?
My first visit to Indigo (so far back that I wasn’t even on Zomato then) was its Andheri outlet, and while that visit was very unmemorable, I was hoping to be served some food for thought today.
There are two things that become amply clear to me as I tread towards Indigo with friends in tow. The first is that Indigo is a restaurant that seldom disappoints and the second is that it is not a place that’s big on style. The entrance is best-described as humble and low-key, with none of the oomph and pizzazz that you would expect from a swanky eatery that’s one of the best in town. The wooden floors leading up to the entrance have nothing by way of ostentation, excess or frivolity, and this is a trend that continues inside, with the swooping wooden fascia that hangs from the ceiling the only element of design that represented a win for form over function.
That is not to say Indigo was not easy on the eyes. It’s pretty in the same way that Huma Qureishi isn’t the most beautiful woman in the world, and yet she possesses a charm about her that warms the cockles of the heart. Indigo, in much the same way, warms up to you with its humble feel that never aspires to knock you out with awesomeness.
Nosireebob, that’s the job of the food on offer.
While we waited for the food to make its way to make its way to us, Ruhi ordered for a Sangria for herself and it wasn’t the finest start to proceedings. Slightly bitter with the usual diced apples, I found myself not enjoying it after a small glug of it and so I distracted myself by wondering why Mumbai restaurants don’t do anything different with their Sangrias, such as going with Strawberries or any berries really. Always. Goddamned. Apples.
Off the menu, but not forgotten, legend has it that Indigo cooks up a legendary Salmon Risotto. A little bit of cajoling later, the staff agreed to make one just for us and even called in the best chef for it. Now that’s going the extra mile for the customer. And boy, was it worth it.
Loaded with cubes of Salmon and some chopped onions, this risotto was not miserly in the slightest when it came to protein. Big on flavour and size, you know a dish is a surefire hit when a deathly silence descends on the table and the need to click photos is superseded by the need to grab just another forkful before everyone else polishes it off. It becomes a race to finish, and by the time we’re all done everyone’s a winner as they gorge on food that’s fit for a feast.
The only fly in the ointment was the fact we asked for some capers and it never came to the table. I’m still waiting for it, but I’m not optimistic it’ll arrive anytime soon.
Maintaining the fishy theme for the day, the Himalayan Trout, which was the special of the day was the next order of business for us. Served sans any pretensions, there was never a doubt that it was the Trout that was the hero of this dish. The French Beans and the Basmati rice doused in a blink-and-you-miss-it chilli sauce were both there only to serve as the Robin to the Trout’s Batman. And as always, Batman kicked some serious ass.
Light and wholesome, this was easily one of the best seafood dishes I have had in Mumbai for quite some time and that is saying something. The Trout was cooked to perfection, which means it was tender and moist, with the outer crust giving way easily to the moist, lovely innards. This was a dish fit for kings, but 4 peasants ended up devouring it like there was no tomorrow.
At this point, my lady was still hungry, so I sent out the huntsmen far and wide to get her whatever she wished for, and what she wanted was a Creamy Tuna Salad Sandwich. Such an anti-climax. After the star turns of the two seafood dishes, this was a return to homeliness but then what else did you expect? It was comforting, creamy Tuna Salad wedged between two toasted pieces of bread, and it was nice in the same way you might enjoy a nice trailer before that movie you’ve been waiting to see. The mistake we made was ordering this after the seafood dishes, it was a bit like making Nirvana open for Creed. It was a tough act for the Tuna Salad to follow, but it did its job stoically nonetheless.
I like chocolate, like most sane people do, but I’ll give you a little tip. If you love chocolate, pencil the Triple Chocolate Parfait served here into your must-have list. With a mix of dark and sweet chocolate, this was a decadent dream come true. I was busy snapping pics when I noticed no one else doing likewise. Realizing that the chocolate kingdom was under siege, I rushed to its rescue with a spoon in hand and only just managed to grab a few spoonfuls before the evil infidels laid it to waste. Smooth and easy-going with just the right amount of darkness (just like yours truly), this dessert was the perfect way to round off the meal.
For a decade now, Indigo Deli has been the flagbearer among delis in the city and with its typical brand of homeliness cloaked with finesse, it continues to win fans everywhere. My first visit to Indigo all those years ago might have been so-so but lord above, today was something else. They say third time’s the charm, so I’ll have to return here to sample more of their delicious food. For the sake of science, course. The things we all do for scientific study…