By this point, I think it’s safe to assume that some of you know that I have a fondness/obsession/deep perpetual yearning for curry. It goes beyond love, really. Think of it as food list taken to the next level. I love everything about the stuff and I’m not ashamed to say it.
So when I got the opportunity to review Brighton’s lovely and colorful Chilli Pickle, I knew that I was in for a good time (read: my belly was soon to be a very happy one).
Armed with nothing but hunger, a few friends and an inspired willingness to try (nearly) any and everything, I found myself seated at a table near the entrance, carefully eyeing the menu.
Having taken a quick glance at the drinks menu, I knew by the twitch in Arthur’s eyebrows that he’d just struck gold, aka had just discovered the “Cucumber Cooler”, a refreshing mix of aforementioned cucumber, gin, coriander and lime. Meanwhile, our friend Jimmy had brought my attention straight back to the menu, where he was excitedly going through starters.
“A ‘Masala Dosa’, he read out, “is a rice pancake filled with potato and…”
“Carbs on carbs on carbs.”
“Sounds like a good choice, then.”
Meanwhile, Arthur (being a fan of spicy things) had found his way back to the menu and was clearly being seduced by the Nagaland pork curry, a curry made with pork belly and habanero chili. My eyes, however, were lovingly staring at the words “Tandoori Palak Gosht: Lamb cutlets marinated & tandoor baked with a side of spinach curry with tempered garlic & cumin, smoked aubergine [eggplant] salad and bint butter naan." OH HAI sign me up for that plz.
A few minutes later as I sipped on my “Chai Chai” cocktail (delicious, but just a bit too sweet) the starters appeared. Going around the table as I sampled some from everyone, it was hard to make a decision as to which was the most satisfying. The Chicken Momo dumplings I had ordered has this lovely theatricality to it of pouring the broth over the dumplings at the table, whereas Jimmy’s starter, for instance (the Rajma Cheese Crispies) were, as their namesake implied, deliciously crispy.
By the time my main had arrived I was nearly in a curry-induced fever. I needed it soon, now, any time in the next few seconds.
And here it was...!
Suffice to say that I’m pretty familiar with lamb on the whole: it is, after all, an Arab specialty, so I did find it slightly odd that my lamb (in spite of its wonderfully tempered spices) had a little gameiness to it. Hmmm. Arthur’s pork, meanwhile, was delicious: the perfect combo of sweet and spicy, except for holy mother wow was it spicy. I chased it down with some spinach curry and then some aubergine salad, the latter of which was doused in the kind of sweetly cooked flavor the way aubergine releases once it gets all melty and wonderful.
Despite all this, however, the real star of all the dishes was Jimmy’s dosa pancake. It was veritably the size of a small tent: at about a foot by a foot (who knows, the thing was so large it dwarfs my memory), it was filled with potato and served with several types of relish. When I think back on this experience, for some reason all I can remember is my disbelief as I watched Jimmy go through the pancake, bit by bit, feeling astonished, amused, so many things, but above all, happiness at the thought that I was in Brighton with food and good company.
It doesn’t get much better than that, folks. Trust.