Indian Summer in Brighton has been serving contemporary Indian cuisine for 15 years. The restaurant was set up by Minesh Agnihotri and Byron Swales, who were passionate about bringing authentic Indian cooking to Brighton. They recruited a team who have worked in many of India’s leading restaurants including Bukhara in Delhi, and Karvalli in Bangalore. You can read our interview with Minesh on his inspiration behind setting up the restaurant here.
Owing to its popularity, Indian Summer was forced to move premises in 2015 to accommodate a growing number of customers. The quality of the dining experience at Indian Summer’s has been recognised with a host of accolades, the latest of which being the award for ‘Best Place to Eat & Drink’ from the 2016 Brighton & Hove Independent Business Awards. We were keen to visit to see what all the fuss is about.
Visited: August 2016
The tasteful decor
The selection of authentic Indian dishes
The excellent service
The sesame scallop starter tasted incredible
Personally, we would have liked to have seen more authentic Indian desserts on the menu, perhaps gulab jamun or a modern twist on a pistachio kulfi ice cream.
We had heard good things about Indian Summer and were looking forward to our visit on a Friday evening in August. The restaurant was reassuringly busy and we were immediately impressed by the tasteful decor and the leather-bound wallet-style popper menus. The maître d, greeted us and showed us to our seats was enthusiastic and helpful, providing advice on what drinks to order, he’s an Indian Summer veteran having worked there for the past 12 years.
We began with lentil papads and pickles. The chutneys were more interesting than the usual line-up found in many curry houses, with our favourite being an apple and tamarind affair.
We were then served a warming amuse bouche of cauliflower, aubergine and tomato soup served delicately in a small espresso cup and saucer.
To start I ordered the (not massively traditional) sesame scallops, and I’m so glad that I did. They were sweet, perfectly cooked and served in a delicately spiced creamy tomato pepper sauce and wonderfully presented – I can see why they’re one of the most popular dishes on the menu.
Tim ordered the masala dosa which was deliciously comforting served with sambhar (a lentil-based vegetable stew) and coconut chutney. Tim remarked that it was the best and most authentic masala dosa he had been served outside of India.
We were then served a sweet palate cleanser of passion fruit sorbet, in a miniature honey pot with a teaspoon.
For our main course we opted for the Malvani mutton and the Hyderabadi Murgh.
Having done some prior research I had learned that a lot of preparation work goes into the Malvani dish, which is described as the classic ‘Marahathi warrior dish’, and quite often takes up to two hours to prepare.
We asked for advice for an accompanying wine and the suggested Portuguese Douro red pleasantly complimented the spice of the food. The mutton was beautiful, the strong taste of the meat was not obscured, rather complimented by the spices used.
The Hyderabadi Murgh chicken was spicy, rich and aromatic. Wonderfully presented as a shinning tiffin tower, which was separated to reveal the individual meat, bread, and rice components.
On offer for dessert were choices such as white chocolate cheesecake, spiced bread & butter pudding, and mango brulee. Although these desserts are always welcome on any menu, we personally would like to have seen some more traditional Indian offerings, Indian petit fours were also on offer and perhaps these may have been the more authentic choice (if they had been traditional Indian sweets). We opted for the cheesecake and the mango brulee. The brulee was beautifully presented and the ajwain shortbread it was served with was perfectly spiced, with a flavour akin to caraway.
The cheesecake was not as expected, served deconstructed. It was very pleasant but I was hoping for an Indian element within the dish but struggled to find it.
To sum up, the whole experience was wonderful and and one we’d like to share with family and friends, we’d certainly revisit and recommend. Others who have visited have advised that the quality of food and service is consistently excellent.
Overall verdict: (9/10)
Cost of food: Two courses in the evening menu are priced at £26.95 and three courses at £31.95. A two-course set lunch is available for £15.95 or a lunchtime Thali will cost £10-£13.
70 East St,
We were lucky enough to be invited to Indian Summer on a complimentary basis. The views and opinions in this article are all our own.
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