Tom Flint: Chef turns over a new curry leaf

Chef Kanthi Thamma
Chef Kanthi Thamma

Chef Kanthi Thamma has been at the forefront of Brighton’s curry revolution in recent years. After four years at Curry Leaf Café, he has decided to leave the restaurant and start his new project, The Spice Circuit (www.spicecircuit.com). I met with him to find out about this exciting development in his career

Why are you moving on from the Curry Leaf Café?

After around 20 years of cooking, four years of which have been at Curry Leaf, I felt like I could do with a break. I feel that I have achieved more than I could ever think of and have taken up all the challenges thrown at me. I decided to leave and do something for myself, to be able to choose when and what I would like to do. I left CLC with my head held high and proud of what I have done and achieved, with the awards and accolades being the icing on the cake.

What’s different about Spice Circuit?

Spice Circuit is a company with a lot happening under one banner. I went on a gastronomic tour to south India and realised that no-one offers tailored tours, starting where the first European ships came to India in search of spices. I will also be doing lots of pop-ups, events, and collaborations in Brighton and beyond. We are working with a passionate spice farmer in Kerala who produces top-quality spices and will be looking at importing and selling these around the globe.

What can we expect at a Spice Circuit event?

I will adapt to the kitchen I am working with, so that the food fits with that restaurant’s style. At Etch it will be very modern presentation and the menu will be written accordingly. Pascere will be very different, where Johnny and I will work together to give a spice twist to Modern European Cuisine. Every event will be different, giving diners a new experience and take on Indian cuisine.

How did the idea come about?

What inspired you to focus on this area? The idea emerged from how Europeans went to areas such as Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in search for spices. French, Portuguese and British people colonised these areas, bringing their own influences, all because of spices. Centuries later I came to Europe in search of a career that is to do with the same spices. Such history needs to be told and emphasised to the rest of the world. This is what I have done with CLC and will be taking it much further with The Spice Circuit.

What events are coming up?

The next event is at Etch on Tuesday (September 26) and then a Brighton Gin Club curry night at Hotel du Vin on October 27. I will be co-hosting a Crew Club charity event with Butlers Wines on November 4, followed by a Pascere collaboration on November 6 and La Choza onNovember 7. Finally, I have two days at The Perch in Lancing on November 10 and 11. These are the ones that have been confirmed so far but there are a lot more 
in pipeline.