As we entered 2017, I began compiling a list of all the places I had yet to try around Brighton. One restaurant I’d continually heard great things about was Cafe Chilli, so of course it was on there. Well you can imagine my absolute delight when the owner, Seb, contacted me to invite me down for a meal!*
Once upon a time, Cafe Chilli existed in Hove as The Green Mango. After a few years, owners Seb and Suchani decided to change their menu and style, and ended up rebranding entirely. Retaining many of their classic Thai dishes, Cafe Chilli brought with it aspects of Thai street food and experimental fusion dishes.
We arrived one horrendously rainy evening, to be greeted at the door by Seb and welcomed into the cosy surroundings.
The menu is vast, with a variety of soups, curries, stir fried dishes and street food. The dishes have really fun names, such as ‘Oh My Buddha! Beef’ and ‘Lovely Duck’ – adorably named by their three year old daughter, Isla, who we spotted toddling around!
It took some time to pore over the menu and make a decision, as so much of it sounded delicious! For starters, we chose the Spring Roll Duo and Crispy Chilli Squid to share. The duo consists of duck rolls and crab and spinach rolls, with hoisin and sweet chilli dips; both were perfectly crispy and packed full without a hint of grease. I think my favourites were the crab and spinach – quite the surprise as I’d never actually tried crab before!
The squid was gorgeous and really well seasoned. I get nervous trying squid in new places, but this seemed to be of high quality and cooked perfectly! No cheap stringiness here.
I settled on the Angry Duck with sticky rice next, whilst Brandon went for a chicken Green Curry with sticky rice.
The duck is stir-fried in garlic, chilli and lemongrass, and claims to burst with flavour – they’re not wrong. It definitely packs a punch in heat, perhaps where the angry part comes from, and I had to pace myself a little to get through. But oh my was it delicious, with tender duck and plenty of it, too.
All of the dishes are served beautifully, and we were really impressed.
Cafe Chilli is a definitely a new third place for me. With its pleasant atmosphere and walls that tell a story, you immediately feel at home. Seb was a fantastic host and we learnt a lot about Thai food and traditions (such as the norms of eating sticky rice for breakfast!). Add in the mouthwatering food, it’s really easy to see how they keep their regulars coming back.
You can check their food and adventures out on Instagram.
Have you been to Cafe Chilli before? I would love to know about your experiences!
*I was very kindly invited to Cafe Chilli for a complimentary meal, so did not pay on this occasion. However, you can be assured, as always, that my opinion is completely honest and my own!