Curry Leaf Cafe hopes to sell beers without bhajis at Brighton Station

Curry Leaf Cafe at Brighton Station
Curry Leaf Cafe at Brighton Station

A railway station curry kiosk has made a bid to sell beers without bhajis to licensing authorities.

Curry Leaf Cafe, which also runs restaurants in Kemp Town and The Lanes, can sell craft beers at the station stand, but visitors must buy food at the same time.

It’s asking for that condition to be removed from its licence, and to also be able to sell premixed gin and tonics and alcoholic brewed fruit drinks by Crooked Beverages.

At a licensing panel hearing on Monday morning (October 1), St Peter and North Laine Green Councillor Lizzie Deane raised an objection about removing sale of food from the licence.

Currently anyone who wants to buy a beer from the kiosk has to spent at least £1.50 on food.

She said: “At the moment it can be just a samosa. I would like to see this promoted to a substantial meal starting at £7.95.

“That is what I would class as substantial food.”

Cllr Deane was concerned about people drinking gin and tonic on an empty stomach.

She added: “If people are getting on trains some of that is over the hills and far away and not our immediate concern. But it is of concern for someone somewhere.”

She also highlighted the fact that if the food restriction was removed and Curry Leaf closed, an off-licence then could open on the site even though alcohol is already available from the nearby Marks and Spencer and Budgens stores.

Curry Leaf operations director Stewart Cumming said: “We do get people coming to us and asking for beers. They’ve eaten at the restaurant and want what we have in the restaurant, but we have to say no, you need to buy £2 worth of food, and they go somewhere else.

“If they want alcohol to drink they will find somewhere.”

Owner and commercial director Euan Sey told the panel the company is in negotiations with Govia to open another kiosk in Bognor Regis. He said they had been told it would be able to sell a full range of alcoholic drinks there without the same restrictions.

In response panel chairman Labour Councillor Jackie O’Quinn pointed out Brighton Station is within the special stress area where the city pays extra attention to the number of licensed outlets.

In summing up she said: “What we are seriously concerned about is food.

“I agree with Councillor Deane, because this is a kiosk and people have to buy some food, that is very important.

“It might put people off but it was a condition put on the original licence and I can see why.”

The panel will release its decision in five working days.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.

For more of her stories, click here.