We recently chatted to Aileen of the Indigo Cafe about why you should swing by the next time you’re at the North Coast (especially if you have a four-legged friend).
Aileen, tell us about Indigo…
Indigo is a small family-run dog-friendly cafe in the heart of Portrush that serves simple home-cooked breakfast, brunch and lunch, along with homemade traybakes and fantastically good coffee.
And how did it come about? What’s the story behind it?
Indigo evolved a few months after we bought over the Ocean Cafe on Eglinton Street in Portrush. We bought it over in Sept 2018 and rebranded in April 2019 in time for the summer season and ‘The Open’. Along with a new vibe, we launched a new menu which ensured that Vegan and Gluten Free options were always available. It was important to us that everyone was catered for and that eating out with dietary requirements shouldn’t be a difficult or lesser experience.
Tell me a bit about your hot beverages.
We use Belfast-based roasters, Bailies Coffee. Having worked with Bailies in previous jobs I knew that they were the company to go with to provide the best espresso-based beverages. We chose their Umbra blend which is a big-bodied but smooth blend. It tastes fantastic as an espresso shot but works perfectly with your choice of milk, creating lattes, flat whites and cappuccinos. We always have two types of plant-based milk on offer too. We do also offer a Colombian filter throughout the day and a fantastic-tasting Decaf.
It was important to us to choose a roaster who has a strong ethical approach to their work and Bailies have developed some great long-term relationships with farmers and their communities.
And what kind of food do you serve?
Our food is simple yet tasty, with our All-Day Full Fry being our most popular item on the menu! We always have several Vegan and Gluten free options available including our homemade soup. We work with our local Butcher, Etherson’s, to offer the best burgers and freshest chicken for our menu. We use local suppliers where possible with the local bread man, milk man and egg man arriving early in the mornings.
It’s important to us that all our baked goods are made fresh on site by our own fair hands, with our brownies proving so popular that some say they are the ‘best brownies ever’ and our Vegan chocolate chip cookies a close second. We love that our customers appreciate the love and attention that goes into our baking.
What’s your speciality?
The triple chocolate chip brownie must be tried slightly heated with fresh cream on the side and of course accompanied by a coffee (also, when we say fresh cream, we mean it – no squirty cream, ever!).
Are you open all year round?
We are one of the few cafes in Portrush that opens all year round as we are here for the locals as well as the tourists. We do however close on Sundays (due to our lease agreement).
Do you have any big plans for the future?
Having had a challenging first two years with so much work going on for ‘The Open’ in the town and then with Covid-19 and all the lockdowns, we do still plan to grow the brand, but our time scale may just have shifted slightly.
Finally Aileen, what’s your favourite thing about Indigo?
Our favourite thing about Indigo has to be the community. Being a small cafe, everyone tends to chat across from table to table and the craic, as they say, is always 90! If someone hasn’t been around for a while others will notice and will ask about them, have we heard from them, are they keeping well. Our regular customers love the relaxed atmosphere and the fact that we tend to know their order before they do.
The Portrush community is close knit and the locals are great at supporting us all through the off peak season. Being dog-friendly all year round and not just in winter means we have a fantastic four-legged following, because nothing beats a walk on one of our beautiful beaches followed by a hot coffee and treats. Our doggies are also now loving our Doggie Club and we have had so many sign up to be members.
The whole family is welcome in Indigo.
Find out more about Indigo Cafe here.
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About the author
Hi, I’m David: creator of Trek NI, husband, Christian, dog-owner, Liverpool fan, watcher of movies, drinker of caffeine. Not in that order.