Friday, 19 September 2014

Indian Summer and the Curry Capital of the Year

It's time for another guest post and today we had over to Minesh Agnihotri, co owner of Indian Summer restaurant, who takes a look back over the past season and ahead to the cooler months to come...

Charity success, Diwali, weddings, Christmas hampers … and is this the year when Brighton becomes ‘Curry capital of the Year’?

What a summer?  And then a lovely burst of warm Autumnal weather too, to justify our name.  It’s been a busy few months.

My business partner, Byron Swales, and I have just spent two weeks solid in the kitchen with the chefs developing and trialling new recipes.  We’re now happy with them and they will go live today. Tandoori Red mullet proved particularly popular with customers during the trials

The summer wedding season kept our outdoor catering business working flat out with 17 fantastic weddings of between 40 and 180 guests.  Bookings are already secured for 2015 /16 and we’ll have to think about upping our recruitment plans.

Now to decide on the special Gujarati vegetarian menu for our Diwali celebration  Also referred to as ‘The Festival of Lights’, Diwali is a five-day Hindu  festival, which occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika –  the lunar month in the Hindu calendar which begins with the new moon in November.   Our annual Diwali party, always popular with our regular customers, will be on Sunday 2nd November.   The sitar player and musicians are booked, but sadly those nice people at health and safety won’t let us set off traditional fireworks.

The demand for the in-home cookery course I give is increasing.  The interest in authentic Indian cooking is growing tremendously, as more people realise there’s so much more to the cuisine than the fiery curry house ‘Ruby Murrays’.  Usual Groups are up to 4 people and they’re great fun.  I wish I had time to do more than two a week.

Brighton is certainly blessed with some fine Indian restaurants serving representative offerings of the diverse range of dishes and cooking styles found across the vast sub continent.  London is probably the only other city in this country where you can find such diversity.

This has been recognised by Brighton being short-listed as ‘Curry Capital of the Year’ by the Federation of Specialist Restaurants as part of the National Curry Week (13th to 18th October Indian Summer has been named one of four restaurants along with Bombay, Ashoka and Chilli Pickle to represent Brighton at this year’s event. You can cast your vote  for Brighton by emailing Polling closes 26th September.

The accolade adds to being named among the best Indian restaurants in the country, alongside London Michelin-starred eateries in this year’s Best in Britain Awards (BIBA), by Mood Food magazine.

I’ve just handed over a cheque to EIPC, a UK-based charity which raises funds for much needed palliative care for terminally ill patients in east India.  Our customers raised over £2,600 with generous support from the sponsors (who are listed on our website) at our masked ball at the end of July.

This morning’s post brings a copy of the Belfast Telegraph – not part of my regular breakfast time reading.  There’s a great article by Roger St Pierre, the famous travel writer, who declared the dinner he enjoyed with us as the “stand out meal” of his visit to Brighton and wrote of our, “dynamic mix of well-sourced seasonal ingredients, a base of family recipes handed down through the generations and a thoroughly contemporary slant to its keep it simple, keep it pretty presentation.”

Speaking of seasonal ingredients reminds me, I must order the baskets for our Christmas hampers.  This year’s will be jammed with chutneys, sauces, marinades, dips and Indian wine.

Where did the year go?

Indian Summer, 69 East Street, Brighton BN1 1HQ
T: 01273 711001 Tw: @indiansummer108
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