The Chilli Pickle: A decade serving up the best Indian food in Brighton
It’s hard to imagine there’s anyone who hasn’t heard of The Chilli Pickle, such is its reputation, but would you believe it, the other day I came across someone who hadn’t. Realising the word still needed spreading about this brilliant Indian and after countless meals (and takeaways), I’ve finally written a review of the restaurant.
A decade in business
To begin let me give you the back story… Husband and wife team, Alun and Dawn Sperring, set up The Chilli Pickle more than a decade ago and they still run the Indian restaurant together today. Chef Alun (previously of the Cinnamon Club in London) leads the charge in the kitchen and General Manager Dawn works her charm at the front of house.
£10 King Thali on Mondays
There are three elements to The Chilli Pickle, the main kitchen covering the lunchtime and dinner period, The Chilli Pickle Canteen – where the team run the delivery and takeaway service, and The Chilli Pickle street food cart outside, which serves takeaway boxes at lunch – weather pending. Each of the menus adapts to the seasons with great care taken to source sustainable, local ingredients and avoid waste. Eat-in prices vary too with starters around £6 each and more stand out, premium main courses up to £18.50 but the real bargain to be had is the £10 King Thali (on Monday’s only 12-3pm) which gives you the chance to try all the best bits from the menu.
A quirky & vibrant interior
The interior has a stylishly kitch feel, with colourful star-shaped paper lanterns hanging from the wooden ceiling rafters, as well as brightly painted, upcycled wood palates, transformed into seats in the takeaway waiting area. Look closely here and you’ll also notice the shelves are stacked high with their own range of Chilli Pickle condiments to takeaway and enjoy at home.
From small acorns to oaks
Originally the business launched at a much smaller site than the now 115-cover restaurant. It was tucked away in Meeting House Lane and always fully booked. Luckily 8 years ago, a fantastic opportunity came up next to MyHotel on Jubilee Street providing a much-need larger home to expand to. At that time there were just two regional Indian chefs, plus Alun working the kitchen. One from Kerala and one from Nepal but today there’s a whole brigade of specialist chefs, each with a different regional focus to represent the distinctly unique cuisines of Deli, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
Consistently excellent food
Food-wise I have never eaten a bad meal here but I do have a couple of favourites on the menu I would recommend:
For dinner: If you’re not into spicy food opt for the Whole tandoori seabream (£18.50) which comes wrapped in a banana leaf. The beautifully moist flakes of fish are brought to life with a tangy ginger chutney and pickle on the side and a crisp charred skin, served with a delicate coconut coriander rice. Looking for a hotter option? The Kashmiri mutton curry is just what you need, with tender chunky mutton pieces in a hot Kashmiri masala gravy, served with a fragrant biryani rice and beetroot riatta (Indian condiment).
For lunch: If like me you have no trouble handling spicy food then go for the Buttermilk chicken fry with an open chapati kati wrap and punjabi (spicy) fries (£10.95).
Dietary requirements: This is one of many great places in Brighton to eat at if you have any sort of dietary requirement. Much of the menu is gluten-free and vegetarian and vegan options are also available. I tried a creamy squash curry with a rice pancake on my last visit and I was surprised how much I liked it. If there’s something you can’t eat or maybe you’d like something suited more to you taste, just mention it and these guys are only too happy to make adjustments.
Must Go | Worth A Try | Give It A Miss
This diverse and authentic Indian food offering, paired with welcoming, very attentive, knowledgeable staff and consistently delicious food, has garnered an excellent reputation for the restaurant, locally as well as nationally. With two AA rosettes and a Michelin Bib Gourmand, as well as listings in Hardens and The Good Food Guide, and a place in the National Restaurant Awards – the accolades are coming out of their ears! If you’re looking for quality food, a good atmosphere and the ability to dine in big groups, then look no further than The Chilli Pickle. This is somewhere you can rely on for a delicious, filling meal every time you visit.
The Chilli Pickle Brighton
17 Jubilee Street, Brighton, BN1 2ED
I think The Chilli Pickle is the best Indian in Brighton, but do you agree?
Leave me a comment below and let me know…
*Disclaimer: I was invited to dine in February although, with an invite or without an invite, you will always receive my entirely honest feedback.