Hotel Indigo, Dundee – Review
Hotel Indigo, Dundee
by Roger Crow
When I’m invited to review the relatively new Hotel Indigo in Dundee, it turns out to be just the autumnal challenge I’m looking for. I never need much of an excuse to go to Scotland, even if it’s a five-hour drive. And with so much I’ve not explored, the idea of visiting Dundee (a first) is hugely appealing.
As someone weaned on The Beano, The Dandy and many other comics produced by DC Thomson, the fact we’re staying half a mile from the home of Desperate Dan is a bonus. I’ve never checked into any hotel which had three copies of The Beano waiting for me. A definite plus point from the off.
“Set in a former textile mill with a landmark bell tower, our hotel reflects its industrial heritage with bare-brick walls, hardwood timber floors and simple, pendant lighting,” boasts the advertising blurb. And they’d be right to wax lyrical about the residence’s interiors and ambience. The bare brick-ceiling offers an essential feel of the hostelry’s history.
Bespoke fabrics and antique furnishings in our room reference the city’s historic linen trade. A nice touch, though many will be more concerned with the hugely comfy bed. There are also plenty of essentials to ensure our stay is a memorable one. There’s a huge smart TV with speaker linked to the bathroom. A weird side effect being when you change channels in the bedroom, it sounds like a dripping tap in the bathroom. And the latter is splendid, with an elegant bath, power shower (with all-important waterfall setting – the norm in many posh hotels), and standard shower – ideal for freshening up before dinner.
The superfast WiFi means we’re online in no time, uploading photos and refreshing statuses like the social media obsessives we are. There are also USB ports for charging assorted devices, in case you’ve forgotten a plug.
Tea and coffee-making facilities are provided, but strangely there’s very few UHT milk cartons. However, as with Hotel Indigo a week earlier on Walmgate, we ask at reception and soon have a small bottle of milk to tide us over.
“A welcoming mix”
You can drive or walk into town, but we’re booked into the Daisy Tasker restaurant on the ground floor, and want to see what it has to offer. Design-wise, it’s a welcoming mix of industrial chic, with exposed air-con vents and cool, soft lighting.
For starters I enjoy Arbroath smokie chowder with charred leek and chive oil. Together with warm mini rolls and butter, it’s a delicious autumnal treat, though pretty filling. Rachel has char-grilled leek and preserved mushroom with croutons. Though she’s uninspired by the menu’s vegetarian choices, the food itself soon wins her over.
I’m sold from the outset. My Schiehallion battered fish and chips with tartar and pickled onions is terrific. The melt-in-the-mouth batter is crisp and delicious. Rachel’s pearl barley risotto with greens, goat’s cheese and a quail’s egg is far from disappointing either.
Towards the end of service we meet head chef Macca, and I congratulate him on the dishes with a handshake. It’s not quite as legendary as Paul Hollywood’s, but given the quality of food I reckon Macca could give the twinkly eyed Bake Off veteran a run for his money.
We wrap things up with a couple of desserts. “It’s like a Cadbury’s creme egg in a pastry base. It’s ace,” enthuses Rachel over her chocolate marshmallow fondant with orange sorbet. The citrus zing is certainly a welcome counterpoint to the chocolate.
My dessert, white chocolate ganache with tarragon, meringue and caramel ice cream, is equally welcome and not too overpowering. I just wish I had room to finish it. The plentiful chowder scuppered those chances, but it was a worthy trade-off.
Defeated, we head back to our room after soaking up the ambience of the reception area, with a collection of type-writers, video game ephemera and vintage cash point, all elements of the rich history of Dundee.
Our bed is so comfy there’s little wonder we’re both asleep in no time, though there is some much needed air con adjustment in the middle of the night as it feels like we’re sleeping in a sauna.
Once sorted, we enjoy a peaceful Sunday morning. Blackout curtains ensure we get a good rest, and we rush back to the restaurant where we had dinner for a terrific breakfast in one of the elegant booths. Like all waiting staff during our stay, Alice is courteous and hugely efficient.
I grab a bowl of muesli before ordering my full Scottish. It comes complete with obligatory haggis, sausage patty, tattie scone, baked beans and bacon. The poached eggs look like a work of art and the mushroom is phenomenal. It’s all beautifully prepared.
Rachel’s tatties with wilted spinach and poached eggs is demolished in no time, and she is in her element with locally made marmalade on toast. So, a perfect breakfast to set us up for the day.
Like the tourists we are, we enjoy a walk round town; a photo op near the beloved DC Thomson office, and a look round the free McManus art gallery, featuring gorgeous art from The Beano as well as assorted other historic masterpieces. Ideal for those on a budget on a rainy day, which sadly it is. However, if you prefer pottering round the shops, there’s plenty of those at the Overview mall. Outside, we enjoy another photo by a Desperate Dan statue. The neighbouring Minnie The Minx also brings a wealth of childhood memories flooding back.
There’s an impressive looking venue in Caird Hall, and our hotel is perfectly located should we come back for a random gig in the future.
We’ve still got an enormous amount of Scotland to explore on future trips, but we won’t have to think too hard about where we want to stay when we return to Dundee.
Hotel Indigo Dundee, Lower Dens Mill, Constable Street, Dundee, DD4 6AD
Rooms from £79 on a b&b basis
Rooms can be booked through IHG.com