The Mailbox had a couple of restaurant closures last year, not least Tom’s Kitchen that left a sizeable hole in its foodie offering. Indico has moved its vibrant brand of Indian street food into the site opposite Estrillo which fills a gap nicely. Indico has been wowing diners at its original Shirley restaurant for years. So, what of its second site?
For a start, the interior is a joy with colourful prints, patterned crockery and a lively vibe. There’s a confidence in Indico’s rustic menu featuring snippets of information about the food’s origins in the Punjab region. The emphasis on street food means there’s a relaxed bustling atmosphere, an open kitchen, speedy efficient service and minimum fuss – you’ll find knives and forks in colourful teapots on tables.
We sampled Punjabi samosa chaat with a spicy veggie filling served on top of moreish chickpeas and a sweet chutney followed by chilli chicken – moist pieces of breast in a fiery sticky sauce with salad – one of the stand-out dishes.
There were many parts of the menu that appealed including a tandoor section, Tawa rolls which are essentially wraps made with traditional paratha, burgers – the Dirty Malai sounds like a winner – as well as curries, obviously. In the interest of trying lots of things we opted for a Thali – a meze of sorts with lots of small dishes to sample.
Without the starters, the Thalis would be ideal for one person. We shared the chef’s special Thali between two given we’d already been tucking in. The thali consisted of poppadoms with all the trimmings, delicious pakora, rich daal makhani (lentils), makai palak (spinach), rice, a top-notch naan and a choice of two curries – we went for butter chicken and lamb rogan josh. It sounds like a lot of food, but with a small bowl of each it was perfect.
The lamb and chicken curries were seriously tasty while the daal makhani could have had a bit more spice for us, the makai palak which we’d never tried before complemented all the other dishes and all the accompaniments were just fantastic.
Don’t go expecting fine dining, it’s reasonably priced – very reasonable actually – and packed to its attractive rafters with flavour.