Authentic Indian street-food on offer at city’s best new restaurant this year

A beautiful collection of South Indian delights for every taste (Photograph: Emma Gutteridge)
A beautiful collection of South Indian delights for every taste (Photograph: Emma Gutteridge)

Curry Leaf Café opened to relatively little fanfare in the first week of April

Curry Leaf Café


60 Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AE

01273 207070

Curry Leaf Café opened to relatively little fanfare in the first week of April. Fast-forward a month and weekends are fully booked. Why? Because this relaxed Southern Indian street-food café serves some of the finest Indian food in the city.

A joint project between Euan Sey, a former food journalist, and chef Kanthi Thamma, Curry Leaf Café came about after a spare-room advertisement on Gumtree threw these two Indian-food obsessives together.

After years of dreaming, menu-tailoring and planning, Curry Leaf Café opened its doors, with Euan taking on a creative and marketing role and Kanthi assuming the position of head chef.

Immediately inviting, Curry Leaf Café stands out - midway down Ship Street in Brighton - with a warm orange and bright green exterior. Exposed brickwork, large oak tables, and rustic, shabby-chic chairs await. With space for groups and more intimate tables for two, the atmosphere Curry Leaf Café creates is relaxed, welcoming and informal without a white linen table cloth in sight - a world away from the Westernised Indian restaurants scattered across the city.

The menu at Curry Leaf Café is simply outstanding. A beautiful collection of South Indian delights for every taste, with an emphasis on authenticity and organic. The café serves a collection of dishes that cover brunch, lunch and dinner. If it is korma or vindaloo you are after, walk on.

The gorgeous Masala Roasted Peanuts - tossed in finely-chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander, chilli and lime (£3) - are an ideal nibble while you browse the drinks menu.

With craft beer, affordable wines and a great selection of soft drinks, Curry Leaf Café also has an array of authentic Indian teas - perfect for afternoon sipping and watching the world go by.

Lucky enough to be treated to an array of both starters and mains, my companion, Emma, and I grazed upon dishes such as sublime fragrant Lamb Geelafi - minced lamb marinated in spices for 24 hours, chargrilled and served with laccha salad, mint chutney and pomegranate raita (£6) - and a subtle yet flavoursome Murg Tikka Chettinad, chicken breast pieces marinated in black peppercorns, coconut and fennel, roasted in a tandoor (£6).

The Batate Ambade - mustard seed and curry leaf tempered potato with chickpea batter (£4.30) - was the perfect introduction to the vegetarian and vegan options on Curry Leaf Café’s menu.

Main dishes ranged from a gorgeous, deep and slightly-spicy Nellore Chapala Pulusu - sea bream fillets in a tamarind tomato sauce, tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds (£13) to tender lamb and garam masala tinged Hyderabadi Gosht (£12.50).

The vegetarian sweet potato stew,Kaikari Sambar (£10.50) was full of subtle flavours and provided a wonderful texture to the plate. All mains come served with coconut, house rice, or perfectly-cooked plain rice.

Adventurous Indian-influenced ice cream flavours, provided in partnership with Boho Gelato, fill the dessert menu. Curry Leaf Café once again shows its originality, flair and skill for flavour combinations: the white chocolate and cardamon is certainly one to save room for.

The street-food element shines at lunchtime, with options such as Aloo Mutter Tikka, Karivepaku Kodi, and Amritsari Machi. Also available are thai’s, dosai’s and naan wraps to takeaway.

Curry Leaf Café is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best new opening in Brighton and Hove so far this year. A bold statement that matches the intrepid and exceptional standard of cooking from Kanthi and the team. A hugely-welcome breath of fresh air on the Brighton and Hove food scene, Curry Leaf Café is set to go far.