Friday 3 February 2017

Food Review: Indico Street Kitchen, Shirley

Shirley is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment, with a shiny new shopping centre and host of shiny new restaurants to go with it.

The latest restaurant to open at the Parkgate Centre is Indico Street Kitchen. Another Indian restaurant, you may say, but here's one with a difference.

Inspired by Indian street food vendors, the interior is unlike any Indian restaurant you've seen before. An explosion of primary colour, pop-art inspired paintings adorn the walls, whilst the real talking point is the ceiling covered in red, yellow and blue umbrellas.

Onto the food, we arrived for a midweek meal only to find filming to be taking place by Hajra Lalljee for The Place to Eat on AndTV. After a brief stint being interviewed(!), we returned to the menu's. Starting off with drinks, I opted for a non alcoholic Mumbai Mojito (£4.50) whilst my dining companion went for the Cashew and Banana Smoothie (£4.50). We also tried out the Goa beer (£4.95), recommended to us as it's gluten free.

Although the menu does state which dishes contain nuts, dairy, are spicy or vegetarian, it doesn't state which dishes are gluten free. However, the manager was able to show me a print off of which dishes I could eat.

To start, I picked the Aloo Tikki (£4.50) whilst my dining companion went for the Lollipop Chicken (£4.99). The Aloo Tikki was presented in two large patties, covered in chickpeas and a tamarind chutney sauce. The Aloo Tikki themselves were plain potato with coriander, onion and spices, and I would have liked to have seen these made with peas. However, the addition of the sauce and chickpeas made it a much more substantial starter and stopped it from drying out, as the dish does benefit from a sauce. The Lollipop Chicken was in a league of its own. Attractively served with a clean bone, the chicken itself was soft and encased in a sweet, sticky, crunchy batter. A delicious sweet starter, I see why these are called lollipops!

For our mains, I had the Chicken Biryani £9.50) and a side of Daal Makhani (£5.95), whilst my dining companion had the Mattar Paneer Tiffin Box (£11.50). There was also a huge selection of meat including tandoori chicken, grilled kebabs, salads and kathi rolls. 

A Tiffin Box is a traditional Indian lunch box used by street food vendors to deliver hot lunches to city office workers. At Indico, the Tiffin Box includes a curry, in this case Mattar Paneer, a portion of daal, rice and 2 chapattis as well as salad and raita. For me, this was the star of the show. For the price, it offers excellent value, whilst the novelty of being able to sample a little of everything is something that I'm drawn to. The curry itself was just right, mild and not too creamy, instead offering up tomato flavours.

The biryani was flavoursome, packed with spices and vegetables, it is served with raita, a yoghurt dip. This benefitted from the addition of the lentil Daal as it kept things interesting. If I'd have been hungrier, I would have tried the masala fries too! 

Unbelievably, we still had just a tiny bit of room for desserts. My dining companian opted for the Pistachio Kulfi, which came served on a stick and dressed in chopped pistachios. I opted for the Gajar Ka Halwa, carrot grated and cooked in condensed milk, served with vanilla ice cream. We were both very happy with our desserts, and I recommend ending on a sweet note.

Overall, Indico was a great dining experience. The music and atmosphere when we visited was just right and the decor is eyecatching and a real talking point. I also love the way that the kitchen is open and framed by painted buses to reference the Highway Dhabas who inspired this kind of street food.

Bright, lively and full of fun, Indico is a fabulous addition to the dining scene that's perfect for relaxed midweek meals with friends and family.

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