Indian Summer Brighton A Review

Award-winning authentic Indian cuisine from the comfort of your own home, and an exclusive preview of their soon to be launched innovative street food inspired menu.

With some of the unprecedented challenges that the hospitality industry has been facing of late, I was beginning to be fearful that some of my favourite eateries might not be able live to tell the tale. I have however, been truly amazed by some of the stories I have heard from local restaurateurs about how they have adapted to survive, some having to rethink their whole business model. Indian Summer were one of the first in Brighton to adapt their regular menu so they could still provide delicious award-winning authentic Indian cuisine during a challenging time, and they have some very exciting plans for the near future when they are able to open to the public again. I recently tried out their takeaway menu and had the pleasure of speaking with Rob, local Jazz musician with the likes of Brighton based Soul City and Freakout, and restaurant manager, who gave me a sneak peek at his plans for the future of Indian Summer. Here’s how it went.

Rob, who was more than happy to recommend dishes to suit our tastes when I called to order our takeaway, selected some vegetarian starters and a meat and a prawn dish as mains, as well as a selection of naan to soak up the sauces. There were plenty of spaces to park right outside on East Street and despite it being heart-breaking to see this normally lively restaurant devoid of customers, it was comforting to find all the recommended precautions are being adhered to. A pristinely clean makeshift serving area has been constructed at the entrance with a waiting area big enough to be able to keep your distance from the staff and other customers. Rob eagerly tells me all about their plans for when they can open, and they sound like music to my ears! He has been working with the chefs to come up with an exciting new menu concept based on Indian street food and, as I have mentioned, Rob is a keen Jazz musician, and plans to make full use of the grand piano sitting in the corner that regular customers will be familiar with, holding regular live music events. They have secured a bar license so dishes from the street food menu can be served alongside delicious bespoke cocktails with a live jazz band to entertain. I imagine I will be spending a great deal of my time here this summer.

To my delight, Rob invites us back to try out some of the dishes from the new menu in the week which I absolutely cannot wait to do! As he pops back to the kitchen to retrieve my order, pangs of hunger are aroused by the incredible fragrant smells emanating that regular visitors will be familiar with.

We begin our takeaway dinner with our vegetarian starters of Tandoori Paneer and Onion and Cauliflower Pakoda. The Paneer is lovely and creamy and had a lovely subtle flavour from the tandoor, served with lacha onion which went well with the accompanying coriander and tomato chutneys. The Pakodas are a delight, subtle and incredibly well balanced fresh and fragrant spices encased in a light crisp shell. Served with Tamarind sauce and Coriander chutney which were both lovely and perfect for dunking them in.

For mains we plumped for Chicken Saumy, and Prawn Tamarind, with plain and lemon rice and some paneer naan. Everything was exceptional. The fragrant colourful cashew and tomato Saumy, packed with meaty chunks of chicken breast, had a lovely delicate flavour which somehow stays with you. The Prawn Tanarind was slightly spicier with sour notes from the ginger in the sauce was just sublime. The rice was cooked to perfection with a nice intensely fragrant aroma of its own. My favourite part was of course mopping it all up with the best naan I have ever tasted, perfectly spiced, with the paneer cheese giving it a lovely doughy texture to boot.

Later that week we took Rob up on his offer for me to come down and try out some of the dishes from their new Indian street food inspired menu, and it really was a delightful treat. Everything we tried looked and tasted absurdly good. When the chef brought out the beef and chicken burgers my eyes nearly popped out of my head. They were truly a sight to behold and both tasted delicious. Juicy and tender tandoori chicken breast or beef patty stuffed with melted Paneer cheese topped with red onion, tomato, green and tamarind chutneys, and lovely crisp “pakora rings”, with a lovely creamy raita drizzled over everything in a lightly spiced bun. Both burgers were so tasty we devoured them in seconds. These were certainly the most innovative burgers I have tasted and highly addictive to boot. After a little breather, we were treated to Indian Summer’s fresh take on the quintessential Indian street food dish, Biryani. We tried both the shoulder of lamb and half chicken options and both really were amazing. The Biryani rice itself had some inspired twists, such as tangy passion fruit seed and crisp pakora shavings that added an extra dimension to this classic dish.  It was adorned with either a succulent slow cooked lamb shoulder that fell apart at the slightest touch of my knife and melted in my mouth to release the full flavour of the meat, or half a delicately spiced and perfectly cooked plump,  juicy and flavourful tandoori chicken that was just incredible. Both came with a lovely pot of creamy raita to drizzle or pour over the top to your taste, which did a great job of soothing everything down. We tried our very best to finish them, but after the burgers we ended up taking a rather sizeable doggy bag home with us, and it was every bit as good heated up the following day!

I loved frequenting Indian Summer and getting the whole restaurant experience before the restrictions. It is a huge relief that they are offering a delivery and takeaway service so I can continue to get my fix. All the dishes travelled exceptionally well in the environmentally friendly packaging. If you are after treating yourselves to a takeaway Indian Summer will surpass all expectations. I am super excited about the plans for the future of the restaurant and their soon-to be launched innovative street food and cocktail menu too, from what I have experienced so far, I am certain it will all be a huge success.

Tony Shattell

Indian Summer. 01273711001. 70 East Street, BN1 1HQ