Indian Summer Brighton – modern Gujarati restaurant with decent vegan choices

April 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

 

A massive welcome to our new team player the most fabulous writer and vegan extraordinaire Andrea Wren (Huge round of applause.. )  :O)

 

Indian Summer Brighton – modern Gujarati restaurant with decent vegan choices

By Andrea Wren (freelance journalist and vegan food blogger at Chocolate and Beyond)

 

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Gujarati flavours abound with the taste sensations that were presented to me and my dining companion at Indian Summer in Brighton. And what a delight to find out that Manesh Agnihotri, the restaurant owner, was taught to cook by his mother – who was vegetarian. Though ten years ago, before opening Indian Summer, Manesh’s was making medical prosthetics!

I do say, it made a refreshing change to go to an Indian restaurant and not see a menu that was listing onion bhajis, samosas, bhuna, madras, korma and dupiaza. And Indian Summer is anything but those out-dated and British-geared dishes that overwhelm the choice at your standard ‘curry house’. In fact, Indian Summer is also anything but a curry house.

Modern browns and chocolates in a low-lit, romantic setting create a relaxed but sophisticated ambience, so far removed from flock wallpaper and lights too bright. And the restaurant was clearly popular, since we had just managed to get the only table free.

Restaurant manager Tim was very knowledgeable on the dishes more than happy to give us the low-down on the vegan dining options, and they were very adequate. Also – they were well-referenced with a vegan symbol to indicate, as were the gluten-free options.

We started with a small tasting portion of the speciality there, Bhel Puri, which is vegan on request (minus the yoghurt). This was a delicious little crunchy bowl of puffed rice, onion, tomato, chick peas and also crisp sticks of gram flour (like a sophisticated Bombay mix and salad combo, but much nicer). It was fresh and light, and an unusual starter.

As part of our more substantial starter, I adored the Veg Manchurian – dumplings made with carrot, cauliflower and cabbage, stir-fried with a spicy peppers and spring onions. And for main we enjoyed the Gujarati favourite on the menu – the Vegetable Thali.

This was a mixed platter of vegetable-based curries and daal came along with pickles and spicy fried potatoes, as well as a roti bread and some poppadum. The coconut chutney was a perfect accompaniment.

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We were also given a rhubarb sorbet to cleanse the palate between dishes – sharp, tangy flavours  and just enough sweetness made this utterly divine. I wish there’d been more of the the sorbet – but just because I liked it so much, not because it wasn’t the right amount for the purpose it was serving. However, we  were definitely able to fill our boots on the portions of food overall.

While the vegan options are not extensive over the other menu choices, the standard of the vegan dishes and the creativity and imagination that has gone into them makes up for this. Two courses at Indian Summer will set you back £22.75 at dinner, with 3 courses at £27.98. For the quality of food and service, it’s very much worth it.

Indian Summer: www.indian-summer.org.uk

 

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