Nationally acclaimed fine-dining restaurant, Indian Summer, has been serving up traditional Indian dishes in Brighton for fifteen years. It ranked in the top 50 restaurants in Britain last year, in the AA Rosette awards, and ranked in the top 100 of the 2015 Cobra Good Curry Guide 2015. It was also deemed to be the ‘Best Asian restaurant on the South Coast’ by the Asian Curry Awards 2015.
Indian Summer is run by Minesh Agnihotri and Byron Swales. Minesh Agnihotri grew up in Gujarat, West India, and changed career from creating medical prosthetics to establish the restaurant and serve authentic Indian food, which is inspired by his mother’s cooking. Byron Swales’ family were forced to flee Burma in a wooden plane.
We interviewed Minesh to find out his view on what drives the success of the business and his inspiration behind setting it up. Here’s what he said…
What inspired you to change career and open Indian Summer?
It was mainly driven by my mother’s dream of opening a restaurant and also to set the record straight about “real Indian food”.
The children all had their own careers and I hit a crossroad when I was 30 and decided to give it a go. The offering in Brighton at that time was all high-street curry houses all with the same menu and definitely not the food that Indian families eat.
We were confident that if we offered the same style food that my mum has cooked for decades then customers would enjoy it.
Please tell us about the dishes on your menu.
We have some favourite classics like masala dosa (south Indian breakfast pancake) and bhel puri (the famous street snack from Mumbai) as well as a south Indian pork stir fry (from Christian, our south Indian Keralan chef).
All our dishes are individually made without any master sauce, therefore, our menu is small with only 8 starters and 10 main courses.
What contributes, do you think, to the huge success of Indian Summer?
I ask myself this a lot, I believe it is mostly down to our passion for spreading the word about real Indian Food, which is teamed with our desire to stand out as one of Brighton’s Best restaurants.
We have a somewhat relaxed style of management and I like to think our staff share our philosophy. This might be the reason that we have four staff who have been with us for over 10 years. This also brings consistency and an understanding of our business.
Beneath all of this is a passion to continue pushing the boundaries, which keeps things exciting and our guests interested.
What is the most popular dish on your menu?
The most consistent dish which has been on the menu since we started is Masala Dosa. We recently introduced a sesame scallop starter, which is proving very very popular. It’s difficult to choose as our menu sells quite evenly across the board.
The Indian summer thali which is a mezze of lamb, chicken, dal, and vegetables is probably the most popular.
Please tell us about some of your favourite spices
I love using cinnamon, nutmeg, black cardamom and dried whole red chillies.
What drinks do you recommend pairing with Indian cuisine?
For beer I love Tusker which is a Kenyan gold award winning beer.
In terms of wine I think that our lamb dishes pair perfectly with a bottle of Chateau Musar, or an Eroica Riesling compliments our Vegetable thali beautifully.
And as for an aperitif, our very own Brighton Gin and Tonic can’t be beaten!
You can read our review of the food at Indian Summer here. Have you eaten there yet? Leave your comments below on your thoughts on the restaurant.
Find Flavour Seeker on social media: