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Indigo Tasting Menu – Dairy and Gluten Free Fine Dining at One Aldwych
There are many, many excellent restaurants in London. But, spare a thought for people who have serious food intolerances – those who are coeliac for example and need to avoid gluten at all costs. Or those with a dairy allergy. While many restaurants offer a limited gluten free option and can tell diners what dishes include dairy, it means that those who need that kind of specific dietary care are offered a limited choice – and always run the risk of the front of house team getting it wrong. At One Aldwych their fine dining restaurant Indigo ONLY serves gluten free and dairy free dishes. It makes life very easy indeed! They have pretty much everything on the menu an omnivore like me would expect – and now they even have a tasting menu.
Of course, we had to go along and check it out. I took a friend who tries to follow a gluten free diet along with me. And, we were both astonished by the ingenuity of the food, which may be free-from gluten and dairy but is definitely not lacking in taste!
That said, we started by sitting in the bar downstairs enjoying a cheeky glass of champagne. Always a good way to begin an evening. In the elegant mezzanine of Indigo restaurant, we sat down to check out the tasting menu and nibbled on some delicious gluten free bread which came with a dipping bowl of olive oil.
To start the meal, a dish of Isle of Wight tomatoes with green tomato compote, olive and wood sorrel. A light and refreshing dish, I particularly liked the delicate and fragrant clear compote and the addition of the citrussy wood sorrel to lift the plate.
Next, seared Orkney scallops with granny smith apple, cauliflower and sea purslane. Perfectly cooked scallops should just show a little caramelisation without being in the least bit rubbery. It’s an art to get this one right – but here they were spot on. And the classic apple and cauliflower accompaniment worked well with just a touch of sea purslane to add texture.
Our meat course was tenderloin of Rhug Estate pork with confit vine tomato, Jersey Royals and Merguez sausage. I love pork tenderloin, especially served pink like this – it’s a very lean cut of pork but with all the flavour of it’s fattier brothers.
Pre-dessert, if you can call it that, was a substantial portion of poached peaches with frozen yoghurt and peach tea sorbet.
Ironically, the listed dessert was a strawberry parfait and I have a strawberry allergy. The restaurant was perfectly accommodating though and we were brought a stunning and delicious Valhrona chocolate mousse, mint ice cream and chocolate crumb instead. It was the sort of dish where I was left wondering how on earth such beautifully creamy ice-cream and such a light, fluffy mousse could be dairy and gluten free.
But then, I’m not Dominic Teague, the talented Head Chef at Indigo. What sets this restaurant apart is that the entire menu is dairy and gluten free…but you’d never know. Apart from the dishes on the tasting menu you can indulge in delights such as beer battered day boat fish that is gluten free or dairy free summer berry and elderflower trifle. And, if you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that there was anything ‘free-from’ about these dishes.
We rounded off the meal with coffee and petits fours and I went home feeling pleasantly full without that sense of bloating that you sometimes get from a fine dining menu.
Finding somewhere that produces such excellent food and yet is both gluten and dairy free is really quite special. If you are planning to visit London or just want somewhere to eat out in town that can offer real choice to your whole party why not pin this post for later.
London WC2B 4BZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7300 1000