A vegan surprise: review of Indigo Yard

My best advice for anyone who’s thinking about going vegan and is wondering where the best place to eat is to phone the restaurant you’re planning to visit. Sure, you can do your research and look online, there are plenty of resources available online that it’s now so easy to find which restaurants offer vegan options. Sites like my own blog or a good friend of mine, Vegan Edinburgh, review plenty of vegan options in Edinburgh and I’m certain that this will also be available around the world too. But sometimes you get a lovely surprise when you do phone up to ask what options they have available, like our visit to Indigo Yard on Charlotte Lane.

Taking a glance at the menu they publish online, it doesn’t seem like this would be somewhere any vegan would go, but we had it on good authority that there were plenty of vegan options. Still riddled with doubt, we contacted Indigo Yard just to be certain, only to be reassured we will be catered for and not to worry. Our nerves now at ease, I was certainly looking forward to seeing what they had to offer.

The bar and restaurant on the West End of the city centre has a mix of comfortable bare wood with a glamorous display of various liqueurs and beers on tap, to painted metal lampshades and chairs to wide comfortable booths.

I wasn’t sure what to expect after having seen the extensive online menu that had meat, dairy or eggs in it. When I sat at the booth we were allocated, I was pleased to see they had a completely separate vegan menu with plenty of options to choose from for each course. Seeing as how we were meeting for lunch, I had to try to remember that I don’t have as big an appetite in the afternoon as I do at dinner, so I had to try and choose my courses carefully.

Shredded vegetable tacos with crushed avocado, pico de galla salsa and coriander

The tacos were nice and soft and the shredded vegetable provided a nice contrasting crunch to the soft tortilla. The creamy avocado helped lessen the slight kick to the spice of the salsa. If you prefer your meal spicy, you’re also given a little cup of sauce on the side as well.

Tempura asparagus with piri piri sauce

As nobody else was having a starter and I couldn’t resist ordering this, I decided to have it as a side dish instead. It’s been a long time since I’ve had tempura as a lot of restaurant made batter use egg as one of their ingredients. When you put tempura on asparagus? It’s guaranteed I’ll want to order this! Indigo Yard certainly didn’t disappoint, their light and fluffy tempura batter with a slightly salty crisp outer shell was a nice complementary flavour to the perfectly cooked sweet stalk of asparagus. I was certainly in seventh heaven and while the stalks came with piri piri sauce, I had dipped some occasionally but because of the spice factor, I was quite happy to eat the tempura asparagus without.

Baby spinach, tomato and avocado salad with croutons, chilli and peanut dressing

It seemed at first like the salad was more an architectural work of art with not much substance, but when you’ve mixed it up, the helping of salad is actually quite generous. At first it seems like a lot of spinach but there is enough avocado there and with the peanut dressing, you do feel quite satisfied without feeling bloated afterwards. Again, with the chilli added to the dressing, it does have a bit of a kick to it, but it’s got a nice Thai feel to it, with the chilli dressing on fresh raw spinach. I would highly recommend this option if you’re visiting the bar/restaurant without a big appetite and want something filling without feeling to heavy in the stomach.

Vegan sausage and mash with beer braised onion sauce

For those of you who prefer a hearty meal and miss your sausage and mash, this is definitely a good choice. For those who miss the texture of sausages, I’ve been told this is quite a good imitation. I for one am not keen on foods that taste too much like the non-vegan product, but I’m all for recommending dishes that non-vegans miss if it means they can see that it’s possible to still get the same (but vegan version) dish they think they’ll be missing on by going vegan.

For a bar and restaurant on the West End of Princes Street, Indigo Yard was a pleasant surprise. From a fully animal-based online menu to offering scrumptious vegan dishes, I would definitely go back again just to prove that restaurants that offer a heavy animal-based menu can also produce an equally tantalising vegan menu. Let’s hope that you continue to offer amazing menus for vegans so we keep coming back regularly!

Indigo Yard can be found on Charlotte Lane on the West End of Princes Street, at the end of Queensferry Street. For enquiries and reservations, call 0131 220 5603. Alternatively, you can book a table online here.

Have you been to any restaurants that have surprised you with their vegan offerings you would like to see on my blog? Drop me a comment below to let me know!

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