‘Quick Service Restaurants’ can be franchised, but a restaurant which works on a format like that of Indigo deli can never be. Simple reason being, its concept! Not many would know, It drives on ‘A Chef Format’. A chef format of a restaurant, works on the principle of daily special menus chalked out by their team of chefs taking into account and advantage seasonal produce, fresh availability and recipe-experiments. Menus, presentations and tastings, therefore, can keep changing daily. But this is beyond keeping a large part of menu as a constant. The auditioned stars on the daily specials, find a bypass into the menu folder. I personally feel, to maintain, control and up the quotient of deliverables constantly, it’s imperative to hold onto the reins. For this simple reason, where the team has to create a bank of recipes and express their passion, the line of management has to be tighter and crisp.
On this controlled thought, opens Indigo Deli at Inorbit, Malad, amidst much fanfare and frills. A warm welcome and a cozy, comfortable corner in the restaurant reassure us of the notches raised by this uber cool culinary landmark. The ‘week old’ sixth outpost in Mumbai is a bustling place already. We walk in around seven in the evening into a well spaced zone on level 2 at Inorbit. We order for some cocktails, which are refreshing yet lacked the punch the names suggested. Mixed berry caipirojca was a very heavy mix of strong flavours. Banana and cinnamon was too clichéd and just what the name read. Watermelon and mint slush was pale and lacked flavour and appeal, in totality.
Soups more than made up for it and set us on track for the courses to follow. Sweet potato chowder with corn and sour cream had the right notes of creaminess with the nuttiness of roasted corn niblets and sour cream to cut a right balance. The addition of chives took the whole experience of eating a soup to the next level. Naturally sweet and elegant. Spinach and chicken soup was like a ‘five-finger exercise’ yet hearty. Freshly baked quiches were flaky, crisp on the outside with the perfect moistness of the custard and filling. Roasted cauliflower and cheddar will surprise a lot of cauliflower eaters. However, the smoked flavour of the delicatessan meats with the pungency of paprika in the smoked meat quiche, stole the show.
Effervescent and jovial Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee, introduced us to his culinary magic. His most devoured pizza. Absolutely (paper) thin, crisp and flaky, with a creamy topping of cheese, sage, black pepper and bacon chips was delightful. Chicken barbeque with shavings of mozzarella was a little on the sweeter side and will be enjoyed by the ones enjoying the sweet notes of barbeque sauce. A fellow diner rightly suggested some beer as an accompaniment. Swiss cheese and garlic soufflé was very rich, creamy and well aerated. However, diners may look for something more appetizing and may end up cribbing for the amount spent over it (a leavened INR 465).
We head for the mains, which look very creative. While a large part of the menu is the same as its flagship, the team’s new experiments are on the day specials. Pan seared halibut was served. Crunch of the crisp skin encasing the near perfect, buttery and flaky fish with a sharp and pungent grain mustard mash. A hybrid barley risotto accompanying grilled tiger prawns was bland. However, a tiny blob of raw mango salsa was the saviour. Pulled pork burger has stood the test of time and has been one of my favourites on the menu, almost since I remember. And it certainly proved to be a long standing one with the right juiciness of barbequed pork sandwiched between sliced buttery bun and minimalistic presentation. The sweetness of the barbeque sauce is a classic with pulled pork.
Freshly churned chocolate hazelnut ice cream was creamy with well balanced aroma of bitter chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. Strawberry cheese cake with strawberry compote was over baked and definitely not in its best berry moods. Low on sugar-cobbler served with shocks of lemon-squished strawberries was dry, and surely looked recipe-less. Also, the aroma of a freshly baked dessert, riding to our table from the ovens was missing.
To sum the whole episode, cocktails and desserts can be given either a revamp or a twist, by the team. But, when it comes to the other courses, they are served with much grace and charm. The chefs truly know how to keep innovating, expressing their culinary creativity, keeping up with international trends and techniques. Their flavours and combinations are a matter of creativity, with a harmonious balance of taste.
Indigo deli menu features are rightly called ‘Gourmet re-creations of comfort foods’