In 2009 Indeblue opened in a small storefront in the quaint town of Collingswood, NJ. In 2013 we opened our second location in Philadelphia's Midtown Village that features a restaurant with a full bar.
Chef Ramola is classically trained in Indian cuisine and received his culinary degree in Mumbai, India. His experience spans over 18 years including stints in London, India, Cypress and Kuwait.
By Beth D'Addono, Inside Jersey November 2013
"The hypnotic twang of the tabla and sitar transported me to Varanasi in northern India, where I’d heard the classic Indian music played on the banks of the sacred Ganges. But tonight I was closer to the banks of the Delaware, enjoying a much finer culinary experience at IndeBlue in Collingswood."
"We got lucky and dined on a Thursday, the night when co-owners Rakesh and Heather Ramola feature live music in their BYO, yet another bright spot on Collingswood’s sprightly restaurant row. Curvy light wood and contemporary lighting set a stylish tone, but it’s what’s coming out of the kitchen that really makes a bold statement. Since opening four years ago, IndeBlue has set a high standard for modern Indian cuisine, earning a cadre of fans and a second location in Philadelphia.
Chef Rakesh Ramola has a reputation for raising eyebrows with unexpected flavor pairings."
"His Philadelphia menu pushes the envelope with dishes such as pulled pork samosas in blue cheese sauce...."
"In Collingswood, it’s the specials that tend to veer from tradition..."
"Ramola’s food is a dramatic departure from the typical curry house take-out chicken tikka masala. Fresh, seasonal ingredients and homage to regional Indian specialties take center stage at IndeBlue, along with the occasional appearance of unorthodox ingredients such as truffle oil or blue cheese."
"Like a jazz artist who only improvises after he knows the tenets of music inside and out, Ramola can make a brilliant curry that pops with complex layers of toasted spice and aromatics. So, if he wants to riff off the standard notes, he has the chops to do it."
"My special, spicy Cornish hen chettinad earned raves, a hen simmered to fall-off-the-bone tenderness in a chili-spiked sauce thrumming with nutmeg, fresh curry leaves, coriander and cinnamon. It’s a dish that still haunts my dreams. My pal’s shrimp moilee channeled the exotic cuisine of coastal Kerala in southern India, a lightly spiced stew of coconut milk, chilies, garlic, coriander and cardamom. Toothsome basmati rice and a tad-too-sweet Kashmiri naan stuffed with cashews, raisins and coconut rounded out a memorable feast. "
"A variety of biryanis, aromatic layers of basmati rice with shrimp, chicken or vegetables, lamb shank braised with cardamom, and fish kotmiri cooked with mint and cilantro are a taste of IndeBlues’s well-conceived menu. For a sampling of dishes, order a thali, a multicourse feast served on traditional silver plates. Homemade rose ice cream provided just the right floral endnote to our meal."
"IndeBlue stands out of the crowd, as much for chef Ramola’s respect for traditional Indian cuisine as for his ability to cast familiar dishes in a fresh light. It’s a tune he plays like a pro."
Craig Laban, Philadelphia Inquirer October 2013
"The live music, rising from the two men seated on the floor at Indeblue, lent an exotic resonance to the gold-and-plum-color restaurant as big groups of young Indian professionals filed toward their tables, servers arrived with chili-spiked lychee martinis, and the aroma of grilled kebabs settled over us with a heady perfume. "
"...a jam-packed Indeblue - the stylish new Center City outpost of the Collingswood standby - was humming along like a Bollywood reverie in Midtown Village."
"Refreshing chaat salads were among my favorite starters, a bed of fryer-crisped spinach leaves drizzled with house-made yogurt and sweet-sour chutneys among the most addictive. I also loved the crunchy pastry balloons of dahi puri, each filled with chickpeas, chutneys, and avocado, instead of the usual potato."
"Beautifully seared scallops dusted with turmeric and chili came in a South Indian coconut milk infused with musky curry leaf and lit with rasam powder's gingery, fenugreek punch. Pakora-battered vegetables were tangled with "Hakka" noodles, then glazed in a dark chili-soy shine that reflected the salty, sour, sweet, and spicy fusion of the current Indo-Chinese craze. A pair of roasted fresh Kashmiri chilies called degi mirch, stuffed with housemade paneer and sweet onions then set over a smoky tomato puree, are Ramola's tribute to the long hots of South Philly. And those peppers mean business."
"An unceremoniously brown bowl of seafood moilee was as traditional as it gets, the seafood in rust-colored onion gravy flecked with shredded coconut and mustard seeds, set next to a tangy yellow mound of lemon rice. But the freshness of the ingredients inside - tender, plump shrimp, big lumps of sweet crab - helped elevate it far above the mundane."
"A mound of fragrant biryani rice was studded with soft morsels of lamb. The lollipop lamb chops, meanwhile, were sublimely tender, their tandoor-charred meat singed with smoky garlic and mace."
"A tender chicken kebab was electric from a gingery basil-mint marinade. Chicken Reshmi kebab, marinated in chickpea flour, green chilies, and yogurt, came with sweet mango chutney enriched by coconut. The vegetarian thali platter was a fantastic lunch value with spot-on channa masala, creamy veggie korma, and gingery eggplant baingan bharta."
"A vivid mango panna cotta ringed with a saffron-tinged rabri cream sealed my approval almost at the moment the sitarist and tabla master took a well-earned break. As though on cue, Ramola appeared, all smiles beneath his giant white toque as he bowed graciously to guests."
Trey Pop, Philadelphia Magazine July 2013
"At Indeblue’s second location, they’ll find a handful of old favorites dotting a menu that’s trimmer and more open to Western influences than the one at the New Jersey BYO. With Ramola at the stoves (while his wife, Heather, oversees the Collingswood kitchen), that mostly boils down to recognizably Indian technique (curries, chutneys, grains) with the occasional addition of unorthodox ingredients...."
"....spicy scallop and the mustardy shrimp/scallop/mussel moilee are musts. And he’s also something of a rice whisperer, from the saucy richness of his goat biryani to the fluffy, dry elegance of grains scented variously with saffron, lemon, and whole garam spices."
"His cooking is most interesting, though, when it features just enough of a twist to cast something familiar in a fresh light. Exquisitely tender lamb chops, thrumming with mace and nutmeg, come with a white wine/rice wine vinegar “mojito” sauce that provides a pleasantly harmonious top note. Long hots stuffed with house-made paneer and a touch of mozzarella, spiked with extra chili powder and sauced with tomatoes, seemed both credibly Indian and classically Philadelphian at the same time. Squash stuffed with paneer, cashews, pistachios and raisins was also a winner."
Philly Food Lovers Blog, October 2013
"This is by far, the best Indian restaurant in the city."
Phillyism Blog, July 2013
"If you like Indian food, you’ll love this place."
"The chefs tasting menu is the way to go..."
"At first bite, this was far and away the best tikka masala we’ve ever had."
Janet from GlutenFreeTravelSite.com, September 2013
"Indeblue is an amazing Indian food restaurant that really caters to the gluten free and vegetarian group. I have found other restaurants that do well with one or the other but gluten free and vegetarian together gets tricky. This restaurant not only is fabulous but the staff are knowledgable and go the extra mile in educating the guest. the food is a real treat! One of the few places that I feel like I have had a complete dining experience."