Restaurant review: Indian Summer, East Street, Brighton

Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people.
Adam Lowe

Image: Indian Summer Brighton Facebook page

Indian Summer offers South Asian cuisine with a difference. The focus is on a high-quality dining experience – and the curries are good too.

Well-sourced, seasonal ingredients form the basis for these healthy but tasty Indian dishes. We were pleased to be greeted with a small amuse-bouche of potato, black pepper and cumin before our first course, which was light, smooth and slightly spicy. This really helped get the tastebuds whet.

For starters we tried the dum prawns hariyali and the tandoori zeera swordfish. Both dishes were gluten-free, and the swordfish was also dairy-free. The dum prawns hariyali was a dish of mint-marinated king prawns cooked tandoori-style and served with dum spinach and mint sauce. The prawns were succulent, and the mint and spinach provided a fresh and light flavour to the dish. The swordfish was marinated in whole ground spices and toasted cumin seeds, served over samphire and with a side of tomato salsa. This was a meatier dish, as expected, but no less succulent. The starters definitely set us off on the right foot.

After the first course, we were treated to an orange and saffron sorbet, served in small jam jars, which was a nice touch. For mains we ordered the tuna pach phoran (gluten- and dairy-free) and the Indian Summer thali (which can be made gluten-free on request). The tuna was encrusted with Indian five-spice and sesame seeds, giving it a nutty flavour. This was offset by fresh kale, cabbage and quinoa thoran and sweet potato seviyan (a kind of noodle). Compared to the Indian Summer thali, this was a much lighter dish, but one with a good range of vegetables, including the starchy sweet potato and filling quinoa – so you do still feel satisfied afterwards. The Indian Summer thali was a mezze board of small curries, with dal, pickle, papad, basmati rice and roti. The curries were lamb, chicken and potato spring onion sabzi. Of these, the lamb was the most flavoursome, and our clear favourite. The potato dish came second, although the chicken dish was slightly less flavoursome than both of the other dishes and tasted a little muted. A bit more of a kick would have been welcome.

For dessert we tried the dark chocolate-glazed peanut butter tartlet with peanut brittle and the mango brûlée served with coconut drop. The peanut butter tartlet was a decadent dessert, to be sure, but will be a surefire hit with chocolate lovers. The mango brûlée was basically a crème brûlée with mango sauce in – this was a fruity, light dessert packed full of flavour. The coconut drop was warm and freshly baked, which was a lovely touch, and helped round out the caramel and fruit flavours of the brûlée.

The staff at Indian Summer are welcoming, friendly and keen, and we were surprised at just how fast the food came out. This was just as well, as the dishes were relatively light, so we didn’t need time between courses to let the food settle too much. From sitting down to the third course took less than an hour. We took our time with the dessert wine, but it’s feasible that diners could be in and out within 60 minutes if they wanted.

Finally, the bill – which included three courses each, a bottle of wine and two glasses of dessert wine – came to about £80 for two. We were positively shocked at how fantastic the price was. For this, and the many reasons listed above, we heartily recommend Indian Summer for its delicious spin on Indian classics, its cool decor and its great staff.

For more information, visit indiansummerbrighton.co.uk

Indian Summer, 70 East Street, Brighton BN1 1HQ / 01273 711001.