Indigo in London’s One Aldwych Hotel Showcases Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cuisine
In the heart of London lies One Aldwych Hotel, a Leading Hotels of the World property, located in the former Morning Post newspaper building. The hotel is decorated with a contemporary design and bright colors that are both inviting and intriguing. Upon arrival, I took in the stunning aesthetics as I made my way upstairs to Indigo — one of its featured restaurants.
I took a seat with my friend as we began pursuing the lunch menu. Everything sounded mouthwatering and fresh: beautiful Scottish salmon, beer-battered fish and chips, seared scallop,s and much more. I was contemplating what to choose for my starter and main, which always takes a bit of time given my gluten intolerance, when I noticed the fine print on the bottom of the menu. It clearly stated that the entire lunch and dinner menu were both gluten and dairy free.
I stared at it in shock and disbelief. It took everything I had to not openly weep at the table. Instead, I just dove head-first into their menu.
Executive Chef Dominic Teague spared no expense when he revamped his food and beverage menu several years ago. After redoing their kitchen, which took three months, the chef decided to experiment with a gluten and dairy free concept. At first he made small changes, like using grape seed oil instead of butter, and swapping out any heavy cream for a lighter alternative. But by the time he was done with the entire overhaul of the menu, guests couldn’t even identify what was missing from the many dishes offered.
“I decided I was going to change the way I thought and cooked,” Teague, a chef trained in classic French technique, told us. “I realized no one was doing this in the high-end luxury market. My focus is on good fish, meat and [vegetables]. It’s pretty simple.”
With chef Teague’s food philosophy in mind, I carefully selected my luncheon options. I began my meal with the cured salmon with grapefruit and avocado, followed by the beer battered fish and chips with hand cut chips, crisp peas and tartar sauce. Each bite of my salmon starter was crisp and light, filled with a welcomed kick of bitterness from the grapefruit topping.
Perhaps nothing gave me greater joy than indulging in a fish and chips meal that was entirely gluten free. The pieces of fish were meaty, yet flaky coated in a light beer-batter that was light, but with enough texture to have that crunchy experience I so badly crave, with each bite. If I had closed my eyes, I could’ve been transported to a traditional British pub where I was enjoying a classic dish, but this was even more meaningful. I had the feeling of tradition, but the satisfaction of knowing I was eating a cleaner, healthier, tastier version of one of my favorite dishes.
I couldn’t end the meal without something sweet, as one does when visiting the UK. For dessert, I ordered the pistachio and polenta cake with Yorkshire rhubarb, white chocolate and rhubarb ice cream. The cake was moist and flavorful, packed with pistachio, one of my all-time favorite flavors. The “ice cream” was lush and velvety, a beautiful accompaniment to the polenta cake that had me dreaming of the dish long after I said goodbye to Indigo at One Aldwych.
Below, Chef Teague was kind enough to share his gluten and dairy free beer battered fish and chips recipe.
Beer Battered Day Boat Fish, Crushed Peas, and Tartar Sauce
4 x 120gr fresh white fish
Gluten free beer batter
50g gluten free flour
25g rice flour
25g potato flour
10g corn flour
10g gluten free baking powder
1g xanthan gum
Mix all ingredients together
To make the batter:
120g batter flour
½ bottle gluten free beer (330ml)
Mix a little of the beer into the flour mix. Add the egg and whisk in the rest of the beer till smooth.
200 g Peas
5 g Dill
5 g Mint
Boil the peas, cool, and blend till roughly chopped. Add some olive oil, salt, and the chopped herbs.
100 gms mayonnaise
20gms Finely chopped Shallots
1 tblsp Chopped Parsley
25 gmsChopped Capers
25 gms Chopped cornichons
Salt to taste
Dip the fish into a little gluten free flour and coat with the batter. Deep fry till golden brown approx. 4 mins at 220C. Drain on a cloth, warm the peas, arrange on plate and place fish on top. Serve with tartar sauce, chunky fries, lemon, and vinegar.