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Published January 11th 2014
Double Bay’s best kept secret…
My three week holiday draws to a close and I decided on a day out with family members in Sydney's eastern suburb of Double Bay. I had not been to Double Bay for awhile, since my early university days in fact. Fresh out of a nerdy all-girls school in the south and straight into university in the eastern suburbs, I used to hang out late (very late) with old friends and new-found male classmates, some of who were the old-fashioned chivalrous type (smile) insisting on their shout to ice cream, not because it was the only thing a university student could afford in the area to impress a girl, but because Double Bay was known to be the place to get ice cream back then. I noticed that same homemade ice cream place is still there.
I have grown up. Interests have expanded somewhat beyond quality homemade ice cream and university boys – European designed and cut clothes, shoes and handbags in quality fabrics, beautiful 'one of a kind' imported and Australian made homewares, 'Made in Germany' bath towels (you have to try them, luxuriously so soft – head to Powder Blue to get these), and luxurious sandalwood smelling vegetable soaps (available at The General Trading Company) are more my thing now. I have a weakness for anything from France or Germany. I appreciate effort and detail good designers go to in making bespoke quality products.
You can get all this in Double Bay's boutique shopping village. There is also another reason to return to Double Bay more often and that's to dine at Indigo, a wonderful local café or trattoria located in Cross Street serving modern Australian food with European influence of the finest quality. The vibrant photographs of our meals simply tell all...the food was insanely mouth-watering.
Location and Ambience
Indigo is nestled in a tree line street in the heart of Double Bay. There are two main dining areas - the seating area on the main street area next to the boutiques and an alfresco dining area in the middle of the road on an island strip where tables and chairs are situated in between beautiful large trees and manicured landscaped gardens.
We arrived just before 12pm on a Saturday and it was very busy (a good sign for a good establishment). It was a 10 minute wait for a table for five people. Two of us (me being one of them) ducked into the nearby imported homewares boutique whilst the others waited for our seats. We were seated at our table on the island strip with other diners who noticeably had well groomed, manicured, well behaved poodle or some terrier cross pooches that seem to know their local owners' daily drill. My seven year old cousin (a budding car addict thanks to his dad) was 'Porsche spotting' along the way and noticed another opposite to where we were having lunch. His tally of Porsches spotted in the area came to nine.
Indigo cafe in a beautiful tree lined street in Double Bay in Sydney's exclusive eastern suburbs
On a warm Australian summer's day, having brunch or lunch at Indigo is really a picture postcard place for 'the little on the upmarket side' of casual dining (particularly if you can get a seat on the alfresco island strip area). There is enough shade so it doesn't get too hot, though if you get too comfortable and stay there a little bit longer you might have to shift your seats to the shady area.
Now to the food. 'Variety' is the word that epitomises the menu ensuring this won't be our only visit to the establishment. The food on the menu is categorised into 'From the Bakery', 'From the Farm', 'Indigo Breakfast Favourites', 'For the Garden', 'From the Deli' and 'Indigo Lunch Favourites'.
Lunch from the 'Indigo Lunch Favourites' and 'From the Garden' menu
When our selection of our meals arrived, we just gasped at the presentation and the smell of the food. It didn't take us long to realise these were no ordinary salad and burger dishes. The dishes were rich appetising colours served on wooden cheeseboards. iPhone cameras were out and photos were taken. Simply stunning presentation. For about five minutes, we admired the detail and effort that was put into pulling each dish together before we decided to eat it.
We ordered three main dishes (no one was going to share, three of us got the same dish).
I selected the grilled garlic marinated lamb salad with crispy flat bread, sweet yoghurt, brussel sprout leaves, fresh orange segments, drunken raisins, watercress, grilled radicchio, and mint leaves 'From the Garden'. My marinated lamb was perfectly seared to the way I like it, tender, and the salad tasted citrousy with a hint of sweetness.
Another dining family member ordered the open fresh Tasmanian smoked salmon sandwich on rye with chevre (essentially goat cheese), caper berries, kipfler potato & butter leaf, avocado, asparagus salad 'From the Deli' part of the menu. When I asked what makes this salmon salad different from any other salmon salad, the reply was, "There seems to be a lot of attention paid to what went into making this salad, ensuring it was fresh and full of flavour". I would have liked to watch the chefs at Indigo make our dishes – seems to be a very thoughtful process.
Three of us wanted the pan roasted wagyu beef burger on a brioche bun with zucchini pickle, beetroot relish truss tomato aioli and chips. The serving size of the wagyu burger is pretty decent (not really kids size) and my seven year cousin did a pretty good job in cleaning up his board. The best burger he's ever had, he tells me with a grin. I had a taste of the wagyu patty; profoundly soft beefy flavour and nicely browned on the outside. I watched with some amusement my other teenage cousin eat the burger, holding the brioche buns in her hands as the savoury juices from the meat trickle down her mouth, hands and plate, oblivious to fact that maybe using a knife and fork might be a little bit more refined. It doesn't matter, the main thing was that she was enjoying it.
Delicious marinated lamb salad and pan roasted wagyu burger on a brioche bun
The food dishes for lunch were a little on the pricey side (about $23-$29 per person), but you are paying for good quality food and dining in a beautiful location.
Service was friendly and good. The wait staff regularly checked up on us to see if we needed anything else, despite being really busy at Saturday lunch time.
Really, all I can say us well done to the chefs at Indigo in Double Bay for the exceptional alfresco dining experience. Not only for creating food that tasted good but also visually pleasing in a wonderful chic Sydney location. I appreciate the quality, the thought and effort that goes into creating these dishes. I'll be back…