Indian Summer is one of Brighton’s long-standing Indian restaurants. Originally founded by Minesh Agnihotri, now founder of The Kari Club, and Byron Swales, the restaurant has proudly stood since 2001, bringing authentic regional tastes of India through a diverse team of talented chefs.
I’d visited just once before with a couple of friends and been super impressed by the food and service, so was really excited when they got in touch just before Christmas to invite me in and try out the winter menu.*
The first thing that struck during my visit to Indian summer was how knowledgeable and professional each team member was, from recommending wines to a selection of starters to share.
Kicking off the meal, a little espresso cup of warming soup is served. It’s a simple touch, but something I’m pretty fond of at Indian Summer. Next, we chose bhel puri and marinated mackerel to start. A mix of puffed rice, gram flour sticks, potatoes, onions, chickpeas and tomatoes, with coriander and chilli and yoghurt chutneys, the bhel puri was both cooling and rich, crunchy and a little spicy. It was an interesting combination and not something I’d ever really tried before, but you do get quite a lot in the bowl! The mackerel fillets were marinated in honeyed spices, served alongside a cool gel and scut through with a sweet beetroot salad. I’m really glad we chose this dish, as it’s not usually something I’d order at an Indian restaurant and it was delicious.
To finish the course off and prepare us for the next, a little pot of fruit sorbet was served as a palate cleanser.
Main courses at Indian Summer
As soon as I’d seen the menu, I knew I’d be ordering the wild boar Vindaloo. Despite its name, it’s not what you’re thinking; the traditional Vindaloo hails from Goa, but its origins can be traced to Portugal for a traditional pork dish cooked in wine. Brought to India, it was, of course, then adapted with chilli and spices to create a tangy, yet sweet curry. It is not the over the top spicy dish we often see on many British-influenced curry menus, so I was really keen to try the authentic dish.
I was not to be disappointed; the wild boar was well spiced (but not overly hot) and succulent, melting in amongst the sweet and sour curry. Served with rice and pickle on the side, I may have also indulged in Indian Summer’s buttery garlic roti as previous experience told me I’d regret not ordering one.
We also ordered the chicken saumy, a creamy dish in a cashew and tomato sauce, serviced with rice, roti, mango and pineapple chutney and raita on the side. Whilst I don’t usually tend to order mild curry dishes, I was pleasantly surprised by how flavoursome this was, with the tomatoes and peppers balancing out the creamy cashew to create a more punchy sauce than your typical korma.
And then, if we weren’t already full to bursting, dessert. A lot of Indian restaurants don’t give much weighting to their dessert menu, but there are some delectable choices on the menu at Indian Summer. I chose the mango brûlée with lime honey shortbread, which was a delightfully sharp twist on the classic (that I’m otherwise not too fond of).
Despite just a couple of visits, I’m really fond of Indian Summer and have no trouble recommending it to people looking for a truly special dining experience or for an Indian menu that stands out for its attention to detail and authenticity.
I’ve spoken to people that have been visiting Indian Summer for years and everyone has the same thing to say; you are really looked after here, from start to finish, and the whole experience feels incredibly genuine. Long may Indian Summer’s team and menu continue to delight us all!
If you want to get a feel for the menu, have a look at their dishes on the website. Have you been to Indian Summer before? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
*I was invited to Indian Summer for a complimentary meal, but my review and opinions remain entirely my own.