Review: Indie, DIFC

A smart local that has an eclectic mix of food and drinks that’s genuinely exciting and different
Review: Indie, DIFC
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 03 Mar 2016 01:06 PM

For days after visiting the new DIFC nightspot, Indie Kitchen & Lounge, I was unable to talk about much other than its delicious ‘Rossini Jr.’ dish.

This was a plate of food so off-the-chart delicious that it threatened to upstage everything else – despite it all being very good.

The Rossini Jr is a plate of six bite-size chunks of medium cooked beef with lightly seared foie gras and a delicate shaving of truffle on top.

To say it was a taste sensation is an understatement: the juicy meat, crispy foie gras that melted and oozed as soon as you bit into it and the earthy taste of truffle was simply heaven.

It is one of Indie’s statement grazing dishes, described on the menu as ‘bites and sliders’ but really this does them a disservice as it conjures up images of American diner-style fare like mini burgers and fried chicken wings.

These bites are not pub grub and they are hardly light bites, they are near-perfect morsels of rich and delicious ingredients put together in unusual combinations that absolutely work.

Take the spicy tuna dish: not-too-frugal slices of raw tuna placed on top of warm rice cakes just out of the pan – a perfect combination of chewy and crispy and spattered with a coconut and sesame seed sauce.

The Rossini Jr, a plate of six bite-size chunks of medium cooked beef with lightly seared foie gras

My guest and I also had the rock chicken (yogurt and chili-marinated chicken strips) and the salmon tartare – fresh, tangy and styled like a South American ceviche, with a lime, red onion and tomato salsa. 

Our dishes were accompanied by a huge bowl of sizzling hot edamame beans and pont-neuf fries bathed in a cream sauce with truffle oil and roasted garlic.

It’s an eclectic mix of food that more than filled us up but was also genuinely exciting and different.

From the press material circulated ahead of its opening, I expected Indie to be the shabby, after-hours ‘speakeasy’-type venue you tend to find in London or the US but rarely stumble across in Dubai. I was wrong – it is much chicer and smarter than that. This is DIFC after all, and Indie is part of upmarket steak restaurant Gaucho, which is located just below.

But it maintains a very open, relaxed and friendly vibe with a mix of tables to eat and drink at, colourful sofas and small smoking tables – scattered all across the venue rather than fenced off in separate sections.

Venue manager Natissa Bouhezila-Teton said the intention is that people may book a table for four, but actually have eight people at it – some standing, some sitting – and not feel uncomfortable or lacking in space.

The décor is intended to be alternative and based on vintage style – there were a few random pieces such as a naked mannequin wearing a gas mask, but on the whole it fell on the side of chic rather than pretentious.

And I noticed that the music – a similarly eclectic mix of disco, house and hip-hop unlike the ubiquitous hotel lounge fare or commercial beats – was not loud enough to drown out conversation, which I think is really important in a bar that aims to encourage people to socialise and relax (call me old-fashioned).

Indie is definitely somewhere I would go back to again – it feels like a smart local and has some truly delicious food and drink.

Indie, DIFC, is open daily, from 5pm to 2am, with a daily AFTER WORK promotion from 5pm to 6.30pm.

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