Friday, April 24, 2009

Expensive tastes

Indigo is the champion stand alone phenomenon in Mumbai, with its quaint eateries (Indigo Cafe, Indigo Deli) and the ultimate fine dining experience (THE Indigo) topping the charts of most good food book guides.
The Restaurant is limited in scope: it's great for a fine dining experience but most of us don't have the inclination (read as money) for regular extravagance. When my boyfriend took me out to Indigo for my birthday, though I consider myself to be above gimmicks and the 'personal touch', I gurgled happily to find a menu headlined with "Dinner with ###" followed by the day's specials. Melt in your mouth gnocchi, perky scallops (though in my opinion, slightly overdone), the risotto, the fettucini... divine. It was fine dining at its best. But the finest hour was the dessert, a Chocolate Fondant with Jalepeno Ice Cream. The name speaks for itself. The bill was also mindblowing, just so you know.
The true charm of Indigo cuisine and what sets it apart is the array of flavours they pack into every bite. Sharply contradictory flavours literally blow your mind. Watch out for the spicy aftertaste of the ice cream.
The "pret" Indigo options are just as great, if not more. Having visited all of them, honestly, if you had to make me choose between the three (in the sense that I shall never eat at the other two ever again) I'd take Indigo Cafe without blinking, even if it means dealing with the Lokhandwala Link Road traffic. The must have is the pesto pizza. You're advised by smiling waiters to crunch it down as soon as it gets in, it's wafer thin (this is not a exaggeration) and topped with dollops of pesto, sundried tomatoes and mozarella. Also not to forget the souffle of the day. If there's ever the blue cheese and broccoli one available, don't think twice. It's sin in a ceramic cup.
Indigo Deli, opposite Tendulkar's, is a little too noisy for my liking. The set up is like a Deli in that you can buy cold cuts and cheese and other foodstuff, even, which is an overdone concept (Good Earth, Salt Water Cafe, Basillico) - what, have we run out of stores? The menus of the Deli and the Cafe are substantially similar, which include their desserts. The Chocolate Mud Cake is served after a pop in the MV with a generous swirl of blueberry sauce. Molten chocolate sneaks out upon contact with your trembling spoon. The creamy dark chocolate with the burst of sour berry is exactly what you think it is. Last night, we decided to move from the standard Mud Cake Order to the baked blueberry cheesecake. We mulled over the wiseness of our decision and wondered if anything could match up to the mudcake. Moral of the story: Don't doubt when Indigoing.
I stick to the daily specials as a confirmed fish lover and the catch is always fresh and indulgently cooked. The Ravas marinated in Cilantro, served with Ratatouille did not disappoint. The staff is well aware of the menu (which is rarer than you think) and are happy to customize your order.
The Cafe (and the Deli) are good with the drinks. The Cafe's outside seating is particularly pleasant to sip on some CnC (Curry and Cucumber, a Vodka cocktail with a marathi koshimbir aftertaste) or a Sangria or even a Indigo Mary (an Indian spin on the Bloody Mary). It also has a massive colelction of wines and spirits.
Indigo can't do much wrong, in my eyes, and it has a pretty awesome strike rate in that sense. Yes, the prices are high (375 onwards for mains) as are the expectations but they don't take their reputation lightly. A friend informs me that post 26/11 and recession the Indigo Restaurant is taking a serious beating, with expats and tourists shying away. Sigh.
I shall shut up for now, or at least until I make it to the Indigo Sunday Brunch...