For a special event on Christmas Eve we headed over to the Indiana in Cottesloe for a relaxing lunch. The Indiana is an iconic location, overlooking the beautiful beach and takes it’s name from the ‘Indiana Tea House’, an ice cream parlour operating on the same spot in the 1910’s. It too has become a landmark for beach goers and diners alike. When we arrived it was initially overcast and miserable, but fortunately for us the sun soon came out and we were able to admire the magnificent view.
We were seated at a large stone topped table, surrounded by a meticulously engineered ‘random’ cluster of coloured and wooden chairs. We were promptly given the menu but it took some time to be asked what drinks we would like or even to get water at the table. The staff definitely weren’t impressed to be working christmas eve, and there weren’t many of them, that being said I wouldn’t want to be working all afternoon Christmas Eve, but there wasn’t even many diners to serve. The same level of service continued throughout our lunch. We started with some cocktails, and the pina colada was the popular choice, it just felt right for a relaxing and celebratory occasion. The drinks took some time to arrive but they were worth it. The pina colada was sizeable, creamy and with a nice buzz , without an overwhelming blast of alcohol that some seem to think passes as a cocktail (if I order a cocktail I don’t want to feel like a teenager doing shots – no the extra alcohol content is not good value).
The Indiana could only be faulted for their failure to ask in a reasonable amount of time if we wanted, the answer would have been yes but the service just didn’t meet our expectations. Coming to food, after behind told one of our original choices (baby back ribs and a truffle mac and cheese YUM!) has been sold out we instead went for the ground lamb, feta cheese, saffron, mint and silvered almond pizza. As much as I wanted to dislike it because I had my heart set on some truffle mac and cheese it was a really good pizza. It was crispy, no sogginess in the middle and wonderfully melted cheese. The lamb was lovely and the silvered almonds added a delicious crunch. Plus being a pizza, it was an incredibly generous size.
We also tried a sampling of all the sliders – pork belly, pulled lamb shoulder and wagyu beef. The pork belly was incredible, it has a nice chilli jam and delectable Szechuan caramel. The pulled lamb and the wagyu beef, while both tasty, were nothing spectacular. The pulled lamb was served with roast tomato and Harissa yogurt while the wagyu beef had caramelised onion and Swiss cheese. Though we ordered three sliders, it wasn’t really enough, and we ended up getting four to be satisfied.
Along with the pizza and sliders came chips, a shaker bag, chicken salt and aioli. We were a little confused by the bag, as it was pretty impossible to actually shake the bag with the bucket of chips inside, though it was a nice thought. The presentation was interesting coming up to the table, everyone wondered what was inside and we could see other tables turning to have a look.
Finally dessert, we selected the chocolate and salted caramel parfait, as well as the lemon meringue in a glass. The parfait was nice but nothing particularly special. The parfait was a little too firm, but the salted caramel was delicious, I’m not sure what the strawberries were supposed to add, and aside from being fresh and ripe were nothing special. The dish was just not up to the presentation standard we would expect from a restaurant marketing itself as more fine dining either.
The lemon meringue in a glass was similarly nice and lemony, the meringue added a good texture but as with many desserts which are replicated in a glass it was fancier but not necessarily better then a good ole lemon meringue. As with the previous dish this included strawberry but it wasn’t necessarily apparent why.
The Indiana is in a beautiful location and convenient location. However ultimately though they serve good food, there isn’t anything particularly special about it, and for the price you can get a better feed elsewhere. They also seem a little confused with their decor, a mix of beachy and almost oriental, but we really enjoyed the expansive windows. For their location and view, quite separate from the food, we would probably go back, just with more realistic expectations for a good, but not fantastic meal.