Jute, jam and discovery in Dundee
We recently took a day trip to Dundee and a short stroll from the V&A and shopping areas of Dundee is Daisy Tasker restaurant which is part of the Hotel Indigo/Staybridge Suites complex. So why the unusual name of 'Daisy Tasker'? This is all to do with the history of the building, which was Baxter Brother's jute mill, the Baxters were once one of the biggest weavers in the world. Their heritage can be seen throughout Dundee as they gave the city Baxter Park and contributed towards Dundee Museum and Art Gallery. The park and pavilion were gifted to the people of Dundee by the Baxter family in 1863 with the park laid out by Sir Joseph Paxton. So back to Daisy Tasker herself, she was an employee at the Jute Mill who liked to organise the socials. Tea dances, lunches and the sort, Daisy was your girl (she was a mere 14 years old when she worked there!), so it makes sense to name the hotel restaurant after Daisy Tasker!
The impressive former jute mill now utilised by Hotel Indigo and Staybridge Suites is just to the east of the city centre past Wisher's Arch. Entry is from the south, Constable St, which leads you into the courtyard entrance.
We were here to try their Larder Lunch menu. Bits of everything on a buffet with three side plates and/or a big plate in addition to the buffet. This operates Monday to Friday 12.30 to 2.30pm and Saturday & Sunday 1 pm to 4.30pm. The various options are:- DINE & DASH – Bakery and Salad from the counter, Mon to Fri only - £10 LARDER LUNCH – Bakery, Salad, Cake, 3 Small or 1 large plate - £15 STRESS-FREE - Bakery, Salad, Cake, 3 Small plates and 1 bigger plate - £25. Having just travelled from Glasgow and not having had breakfast, we went straight for the stress-free option!The decor is industrial meets...er, bistro! With lots of bright globe lighting, plush seating and a definite New York Loft apartment feel. Local beer is on the menu courtesy of 71 Brewing, so, of course, we had to try a couple of their fruity, hoppy pale ales, Cloud Fall APA (4.5%) and aurora Burst IPA (4.1%).
Once refreshed, it was time to decide what to order in addition to our buffet selections...
The buffet bar is filled with bread, vegetables and salad items like cous cous, humous, tomato and mozzarella, and then scones and cakes at the far end with jam and marmalade (of course!).
We filled a plate of savoury snacks while we waited for our hot food order to arrive.
Mr Foodie wanted a large plate and looking for something a bit different he picked the Skate Wings with supergreen stir fry and wild garlic pesto as skate isn’t all that common, whilst I picked small plates of chips & gravy, Arbroath Smokie Fish Cakes and fish goujons.
He really enjoyed the quite delicate flakes of skate with a green pesto topping, courgette, green beans and runner beans. Mr Foodies loves pesto and as it was made using wild garlic it had a light, earthy garlic taste.
He also lapped up the homely sea salted and hand-cut chips which came with a strong sweet gravy that was sticky and beefy like gravy meets a bourbon sauce, all that missing was some curds to turn this into poutine! I found the gravy to be a bit overpowering as the salted chips were enjoyable on their own.
The fishcakes were not your traditional heavily filled with potato and very little fish covered in ruskaline. These were fluffy, Pakora type snacks. Without the spice but with lots of fishy flavour. Good finger food sized chunks with a cup of creamy mayo for dipping.
Today was sponsored by fish it seemed so up next goujons. Each encased in a crisp batter which pulled away from the meaty and perfectly-cooked fish. All of the fish choices were excellent.
And then it was time for dessert...stage 1! We sampled a clotted cream scone with jam and a dinky chocolate & tonka bean tart before moving onto the big cake! You'll notice in the picture above that there's not much cake left, well fear not as the chef brought out a brand new cake below, which was quickly dissected!
This was white chocolate cake with peanut butter. Very sweet and gooey and very filling.
Before you pay up and leave there's another bonus here - the clock in cards which work a bit like coffee loyalty cards, only better! Get 1 stamp per visit and collect 5 for a free lunch, while 10 stamps get you a free overnight stay!
A smart idea, giving customers flexible lunch options - not too hungry then just go with the dine & dash and have some salad and baked goods. Need more sustenance then pick the larder lunch and order some hot food. If you're absolutely starving then go stress-free and have the buffet, small plates and one large dish. We had a very enjoyable lunch in relaxed surroundings. Music was at a low volume, we couldn’t work out what any of it was but it was a pleasant background soundtrack. Staff were courteous, we were seated quickly, with drinks and food orders taken and delivered promptly. The range of buffet items is pretty good and sweet and savoury baked goods were replenished regularly but it would be nice to have a bigger bread selection. All the hot items were ordered were very good.
Toilets are a little tricky to find - go through the double doors past the lift then walk to the right away from reception, they’re on the left and immaculate inside with Arran After the rain hand wash & hand cream (a Mrs Foodie favourite!), and both a Dyson Airblade and thick hand towels.
There's also space outside for potential outdoor seating / beer garden developments.
+ Novel concept
+ Pleasant spot for lunch
+ Local craft beer available
+ Clock-in card is a great idea
+ Quality toiletries
+ A short walk from the city centre
- Small bread selection
Daisy Tasker at Hotel Indigo
3 Lower Dens Road
Tel: 01382 472114
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Disclaimer: we received complimentary food so only had to pay for drinks. Fred has no concept of money but gave his purr of approval to this honest review.