One of Brighton's best Indian restaurants has an English chef. Luckily, he knows what he's doing.
The Chilli Pickle, Brighton Review
Brighton’s Chilli Pickle is a family run, multi award-winning Indian restaurant which continues to go from strength from strength as one of the city’s finest eateries.
Chef Alun Sperring and wife, Dawn opened The Chilli Pickle on Meeting House Lane, in a space which could only hold 50 covers. They then moved and expanded to occupy the much, much larger restaurant space under Myhotel on Jubilee Square.
Widely considered to be the best Indian restaurant in Brighton, The Chilli Pickle’s team draw on their regional knowledge to create a menu which stands out from your usual Indian restaurant menu, so expect plenty of dishes you’ve never heard of that may just become your new favourite.
Mrs Foodie Brighton and I have been to the original Chilli Pickle many years ago but had somehow managed to avoid visiting the new one since we moved back to Brighton earlier this year but I’d come for lunch a couple of times and had fantastic thalis, which are available for just £10 each Monday from 12-3pm.
It’s a fantastic deal and is surely one of the best tasting and best value lunches around;
— Gary @ Scoff Reviews (@ScoffReviews) August 10, 2015
However, this was our first visit for dinner and with the in-laws in tow, I was hoping The Chilli Pickle wouldn’t let me down!
We had a table booked for 6pm on a Saturday evening, as it was the only slot they had available. Like most of Brighton’s top restaurants, you’ll need to book and book ahead if you want to dine at a time you actually want to eat at.
I’ve found the service at lunch time a bit hit and miss and a bit student heavy but they’re all friendly and our waitress this evening was good and seemed to have a good knowledge of the menu.
As well as some nice Poppadoms & Chutneys (£3.95 for 4pcs) mix of dry roasted and fried with signature chutneys, pickles and onion salad, we ordered a couple of starters from the interesting menu;
Pani Puri (£5) puffed mini puris with green apple, chick pea, green moong dal, pepper & potato salad, herb pepper water and tamarind chutney and Chicken Momos (£6.50) classic Nepalese steamed meat dumplings served with garlic & chilli sambhal & a shot of chicken broth.
These are both dishes I hadn’t heard of, so was keen to give them a go. Dumplings aren’t something I associate with Indian cuisine but the Chicken Momos were delicious, especially with a mouthful of broth and pretty similar to their far eastern equivalent.
The Pani Puri were also very tasty and good fun as you delicately fill it with all the lovely accompaniments before stuffing the whole thing in to your face. Great balance of flavours and textures.
On to the main course, we ordered a couple of sides and a few mains for the table;
Tandoori Chicken Platter (£14.50) pepper chicken seekh, red tikka leg and malai tikka breast, served with red chilli sambhal, chunky cachumber, mango ginger chutney and spring onion naan. I love a mixed grill and this dish was spot on for me. Each chicken element had a different texture and flavour but all had that gorgeous tandoori smokiness running through them too.
Murgh Pulungari (£14) chicken simmered with coconut, tamarind, squash, turmeric, curry leaf, mustard seeds, black pepper & cumin and sambhar masala rice. This was nice and mild, with richness from the coconut and plenty of depth of flavour.
Nagaland Pork Curry (£14) crispy pork belly pieces in a fiery hot & sour curry with warm spices, brown onion, habanero chilli, fresh tomato, spring onion, coriander, ginger & beets served with steamed rice, which was the only dish on the menu with 3 chillies so we were in two minds whether or not to order it but despite our server’s warning that “it’s really hot”, we went for it anyway.
This turned out to be the only disappointment for me as although there were a few whole chillies on top, there was hardly any heat in the dish itself and the while the pork belly was beautifully tender, the crackling on top had inevitably become sticky and chewy after sitting in that vibrant, deep red sauce.
The Chilli Pickle deserves its reputation as one of the best restaurants in Brighton. Taking on a space this large must have been daunting but Alun & Dawn have made a success of it and I’m sure they’ll continue to do so.
|Poppadoms & Chutneys||£3.95|
|Tandoori Chicken Platter||£14.50|
|Nagaland Pork Curry||£14.00|
|Dal of the day||£4.00|
17 Jubilee Street,
Brighton BN1 1GE