Restaurant Review: Indian Summer, Brighton in East Sussex
Indian Summer, it seems, is the go to place for Indian food in Brighton. We arrive early on a Saturday evening and the popular restaurant is already buzzing with locals. A stone’s throw from the town’s iconic promenade, Indian Summer has been open 15 years and offers the coastal town distinct Indian dishes with contemporary twists, suited to their modern 21st century audience.
Here the chefs run far more than just the kitchen. Co-owned by Minesh Agnihotri and Byron Swales, in partnership they serve dishes that hone in on and represent the pan-Indian experience. A variety of options with inspiration taken from across India’s distinct regions – favourite dishes that keep the locals coming include the Indian Summer Thali, (a mezze of chicken, mutton and aloo subzi served with dal, papad, pickle, roti and basmati rice) alongside more regional dishes such as the Malvani mutton (from the Konkan region of Marahastra and Goa), cooked with black and green cardamom, coriander, cumin and black pepper; served with coconut rice, raita and salad and lastly the Tandoori black bream – marinated black bream in roasted spices served with Mumbai aloo, sesame raita and fresh fennel, pomegranate, baby tomato salad.
Described as rich, warm and utterly flavoursome, Indian Summer draw diners in with dishes that mimic the comforting homemade Indian recipes that Indian families would eat at home. Taken from the street food of India, we share the Onion Aubergine Pakoda, (which is similar to the familiar onion bhaji with aubergine), with a Masala Dosa – a large golden rice & lentil pancake, filled with vegetables and served with sambhar and coconut chutney. With the familiarity of a stack of poppadoms, these starters themselves represent and highlight the regions and local recipes Indian Summer is inspired by.
Complete with the expected mix of fish, meat and vegetables to please all – my guest orders the Tandoori Platter; a sizzling carnivorous dish laid proudly with a selection of meats from the grill and tandoor with mango chutney, mint ratia and a baby spinach & red onion, coriander salad. I order the ‘Hyderabadi Murgh’ – (not that this means much to me) but with a marinade of yogurt, nutmeg and cinnamon and prepared with chilli, roasted coconut, mint leaves and cashew nuts – I am lured in and not disappointed with the rich and fragrant offering. A curry dish, this is served with basmati rice, garlic cumin butter roti, mango pineapple chutney & pickle. We share a Tarka Dal which adds moisture and balance to the meaty Tandoori Platter.
Spearheading a new wave of delicacies and independent Indian dishes within the UK, Indian Summer has been recognised with a number of accolades. These include the Asian Curry Award for the ‘Best Indian Restaurant on the South Coast’ in 2015 as well as one of the ‘Best Places to Eat and Drink in Brighton’. A realisation brought to life; the success of Indian Summer has partly materialized from Minesh Agnihotri’s ambition to change the perception of what we recognise as ‘curry’. Altering his previous career path to actualise his parents vision of opening an authentically different Indian eatery that is unrelated to many other Indian restaurants across the UK.
Address: Indian Summer, 70 East St, Brighton BN1 1HQ, UK, +44 1273 711001, indiansummerbrighton.co.uk