Indigo

Indigo is the flagship restaurant of Rahul Akerkar, one of the few ‘celebrity’ chefs in the city. Recession notwithstanding, he is in an expansionary mood and appears all set to launch his fourth restaurant in the city. Indigo Cafe and Deli in Andheri and Colaba respectively serve a more casual soup-and-sandwich fare. The flagship is more fine dining, with a menu ranging from stodgy classics (mushroom soup + truffle oil) to innovative but not always successful Indian fusion items (snapper with tamaatar saar, plum tandoori chicken).

HiM enjoyed a quiet dinner at Indigo recently. The restaurant is housed in what looks to be an old converted bungalow. There is a bar and some seating downstairs, and private rooms and some picturesque outdoor seating on the terrace upstairs. The crowd was mostly foreigners, with a smattering of ABCD/NRI types thrown in.

The wine list was commendable, and the cover was dotted with dubious (Thank you, Robin Goldstein) Wine Spectator recognitions. All the major growing regions had adequate representation, and they had about 10 bottles available by the glass. I had a glass of a 2006 Sangiovese red from Emilia Romagna which was quite excellent.

Appetizers were a cilantro crepe with lobsters and prawns and a cured salmon and cream cheese torte. We failed to detect any cilantro in the crepe dish, although the cream-based sauce that was in the filling was drowning in chives. By contrast, the salmon torte was exceptional. Finely layered and delicate, it was served with caper berries that did a fantastic job of cutting through the fattiness of the fish and the cream cheese.

Entrees sampled included the lobster risotto with black olive tapenade, apparently a signature dish. The rice was cooked beautifully, and the tomato and tarragon in the dish made it quite successful. The tapenade, however, was not bright enough to stand out, and lost much of its meaning as a garnish. The fish special was one of the intriguing Indian fusion dishes: sesame crusted snapper served with spinach and baby potatoes, with a tomato saar sauce. The ‘saar’ was the star – a hint of asafoetida and the velvety sauce drew an immediate association with the original, all without being overpowering for this setting. The fish was well cooked, but was inexplicably served skin side down. Not only did this rob the skin of any crispiness it once possessed, but from a purely mechanical standpoint serving the fish like that on a bed of spinach made it impossible to eat. Poorly thought out.

Dessert was a chocolate fondant with jalapenos that required twenty minutes of advance notice. There was a pleasant heat from the chiles, although the occasional piece of pepper skin in the mouth was an annoyance.

Service was excellent. The servers were attentive and knowledgeable, and prompt without being too intrusive. The only aberration was when I was asked if I would like garlic bread or cheese garlic bread with my meal – it was strangely reminiscent of Dominoes Pizza and quite out of place.

For a meal for two with a glass of wine each, the check was Rs 4200. While I would normally balk at paying five-star prices at a standalone restaurant, the truth is that you would be hard pressed to find an equivalent experience at this price point. Indeed, a similar meal at the Zodiac Grill across the street might easily have been twice as much or more.

INDIGO.

4 Mandlik Road, Colaba, Mumbai. Phone: 66368999, 66368980, 66368981.

**** 1/2

RECOMMENDED: Torte of cured salmon and cream cheese, Lobster Risotto.

Reviews are on a five star scale and reflect quality of food, service, ambiance and price. HiM reviews anonymously and pays for his own meals (unless he can con a dinner companion).

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