No idea seems more comforting than a late winter night drive to a homely deli where one can tuck into decadent ice cream combinations with friends. The new ice cream and sundae station at Indigo Deli, with its dark wood family tables lit by tiny overhead yellow lamps and pretty white candles, seemed like perfect timing.
The delight was short lived. It had largely to do with the service of the staff that has become arrogant, possibly due to rave reviews that Indigo Deli’s food has received over the few years. If you try their sundaes, be prepared to be told by its staff that there is no physical menu. If they take ages to reveal their ice cream sundae list (because they don’t recall the names), and if you ask for a moment to access their menu from your smart phone, you might face a staff boycott. This would include unlit candles at your table, a wait for paper napkins, and more waiting for the cheque. You might be spoken down to, as if you were a casually dressed collegian who walked into a high-brow restaurant.
With no menu, and several ice creams on display without a description or tag, we were forced to taste the flavours and face the unapproachable staff. We ordered for the Drunken Waffles Sundae (Rs 475), a Black Forest Sundae and a scoop each of Tiramisu (Rs175) and Nilgiri Vanilla (R145) ice creams. When we asked for the caramelised banana soaked in brandy and batter fried Mars bars (it was on their press release), we were rudely told that it wasn’t part of the non-existent menu.
Disappointed (read: annoyed), we waited, for over 20 minutes, before our sundaes arrived — both were served in tall, wide glasses, topped with a preserved cherry. These were followed by two little scoops of Vanilla and Tiramisu ice creams. The sundaes were massive, a happy marriage of crunchy, creamy, sour, tangy, bitter and sweet elements. The Drunken Waffle lived up to its name with a generous yet not-too overpowering drizzle of quality liquor. The waffle was outstanding — crunchy on the outside, buttery soft in the centre. The cream, to compliment the waffle’s texture, was perfect, especially when combined with grape jelly but the ice creams don’t stand out like in the Black Forest Sundae.
Texturally, the Black Forest Sundae was similar. The brownie had a crunchy crust; the inside was moist, dense, gooey and not too sweet. It combined well with preserved cherries, chipped cream, vanilla and chocolate ice cream and hot fudge. With the Nilgiri Vanilla and Tiramisu Ice cream, the Tiramisu tasted nothing like coffee or mascarpone cream, but more like Butterscotch. The Vanilla was great, not too white and artificial, not oversweet, with the right amount of vanilla beans. The sundaes were delightful but with limited offering, awful service and ice cream scoops priced at R175 (plus taxes), why one would choose Indigo Deli when Haagen Dazs serves a sinful scoop at R180.