Edinburgh’s Indigo Yard is a stunning bar, especially when it’s not totally jammed pack with people. Last night I went there for a three course meal and drinks off their extensive list. Indigo Yard is located on Charlotte Lane, just a stones throw from Charlotte Square gardens, and adjacent to Sygn: another style bar in Edinburgh’s West End.
Indigo Yard, as the name would suggest, is a bar that’s been brilliantly converted from an old courtyard into an original space for drink and food. You enter the bar via a beer garden which is a lovely wooden deck accomodating many tables under large outdoor umbrella’s. All the tables were occupied last night, so we ventured inside. Entering the main bar through some glass doors, you’ll find a canvas canopy overhead and tall green plants creating a tropical effect, and even though you’re technically inside, it feels as if you’re still outside. This is helped further by the glass ceiling above the main bar area, which is harnessed off the original buildings. A dimly lit, more formal dining area lies behind the far stone wall in Indigo Yard, as does the staircase that leads to the mezzanine area. The mezzanine is perfect for drinks or less formal dining and this is where I sat for my meal last night. The glass roof affords an excellent view of the green dome that belongs to West Register House.
The menu read impressively with starters of soup, mussels, fishcakes and thai stew to name a few from the nine in total on offer. The mains were split into ‘Comfort Food’ (fish and chips, sausage and mash, steak burger, etc.) and ‘Mains’ (cod fillet, thai green curry, pork fillet, sirloin steak, etc.). A bar snacks menu with choices such as nachos, chips and salads is great for when you’re out just for drinks, as are the sharing platters that have chicken sticks, spring rolls, fries, etc.
For starter I settled on the duck spring rolls with hoisin sauce (Â£3.95) and my dining partner went for the long-winded goat’s cheese crostini with cherry tomatoes and balsamic reduction (Â£4.95). Both were totally excellent. The spring rolls were sensational; a healthy filling of duck, helped by a superb viscous sauce. Meanwhile, the crostini was perfectly toasted and the tomatoes oozed freshness - a true pleasure to eat. The portion size was without fault, infact for this price it could be called generous. The table service was a little inexperienced, yet ultimately very pleasant.
Worried beforehand that the portion sizes might not live up to my hunger I ordered chicken fajitas for main (Â£8.75). Expecting a huge serve, I was disappointed to see what looked like a meagre serving of chicken and just three flour tortillas. However, the duck spring rolls had taken their toll and the portion size proved adequate. Though, if you’re really after a huge serving, I would look elsewhere. The fajitas themselves tasted excellent - onions and chicken on a bed of fresh, bright green lettuce. While there were only 3 tortillas I savoured each and every one. The crispy skinned chicken breast (Â£9.25) was a more satisfying visual image than the fajitas. The mustard sauce that accompanied it was delicious and the sweet potato puree, whilst perfectly matched to the dish, had more of a sitffer mash consistency - but still appreciated. To follow the crostini this was an excellent choice - if any evidence were needed it would be the empty plate not long after the waitress delivered our meals! We should have stopped there. But after a few glasses of wine, two excellent courses (especially the chicken breast), we chose a couple of desserts. These proved a disappointing end to an otherwise great meal.
From Indigo Yards dessert menu I chose the banana and chocolate spring rolls with vanilla ice cream (Â£4.50) and my dining partner the banoffi cheesecake with toffee pecan sauce (Â£4.25). I’d got carried away by the success of the duck rolls for starter. Upon arriving, I was surprised to see two large spring rolls which upon cutting into exploded and out came a typhoon of chocolate sauce that drowned my plate. They were not nice - too big, too much chocolate, not enough banana - just a big gooey chocolately mess. My struggle with the spring rolls distracted me from the ice cream, that after just a few minutes had totally melted. I gave up. The banoffi cheesecake fared no better. Rubbery would pretty much sum it up, but stale and rubbish also fit the bill.
So the meal at Indigo Yard started off on an absolute peak. The main sustained this level, perhaps dipping a little for the fajitas. Disappointingly the deserts sent the chart tumbling so far down, it reached not so much a trough, but a complete black hole. It’s a shame because the concept of both deserts is very good; but the execution terrible.
Still, let this not distract too much. Overall my night at Indigo Yard was hugely enjoyable and the food, except the desserts, was excellent. The venue is a must visit for residents and visitors to Edinburgh, although like many original and excellent venues of this calibre, it can get spoilt at weekends when it becomes packed to capacity with drinkers. And drink is another speciality of Indigo Yard - they have a dazzling array of cocktails, wines, beers, spirits and champagnes. It’s popular with the after work crowd and is a frequent choice of the work night outs organiser. Indigo Yard is renowned for attracting the wealthier crowd, although it’s prices and lack of real pretence should not distract anyone from visiting. Infact, I found Indigo Yards food prices very reasonable and their drinks prices are inline with other style bars in Edinburgh’s West End and George St.