Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Chilli Pickle - the Brighton Indian restaurant that I thought I knew

I kind of thought I knew about The Chilli Pickle. I'd tried their takeaway a few times and knew well it's ta-dah effect. It arrives pizza-box-style with an intriguing selection of little pots of pickles and dips such as Gobi (cauliflower) Thoran, Green Apple Chutney and Mixed Pickles.

The Chilli Pickle is also well-known, round-these-parts for having won lots of local and national awards. Located in the centre of Brighton opposite the Jubilee library, I'd walked passed it hundreds of times.

So far, so much of what I knew, although I'd never actually eaten there. I kind of felt like I knew the place already.

This changed, however, last Saturday when my brother was over from the States and his only wish was for a good curry. Apparently New York doesn't match up to our Brit offerings. After suggesting a load of places, The Chilli Pickle was decided upon and off we went.

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

Poppadoms,The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

Heading there for an early dinner (at 6 pm) I assumed we wouldn't need to book. But we arrived to find a queue forming out the door. All tables were reserved so it was good news that we were offered the banana bar (if we didn't mind sharing our table).

As food was the priority, the bar suited us fine. And as it goes, it was very nice to be perched up high in the centre of the room.

Rajma cheese crispies, The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

Everything about the interior was zesty. There were shelves of brightly coloured tins, a citrus yellow wall and the music, to my ears sounded like a Bollywood soundtrack. We ordered and I went for the starter of quail marinated in ginger, garlic, cream, rose and saffron and a side of peshwari naan. Also ordered was the chicken with coconut, tamarind and squash as well as the crispy pork belly in a spicy hot and sour sauce.

The most outstanding parts for me were the plainest of dishes, the plain naan and pilau rice were so light and fresh tasting that they really stood out. Maybe these left an impression because of how they contrasted with the complex layering of flavours in the other dishes.  

Murgh Pulungari, The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

Peshwari naan, The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

One of the owners, Dawn came over to see how we were doing and told us that their most famous dish was one of their earliest successes, by her husband and chef, the oxtail madras. It often pops back on the menu, she told us, because it's still so popular. As we were just ready for dessert Dawn offered to bring us a selection and it really was the best selection of desserts I've ever had at an Indian restaurant, ever.

The selection included rose and chocolate ice cream, Turkish delight, alcoholic cherries and the most amazing white chocolate truffle.

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

The Chilli Pickle, Brighton

What made all of this so worth going back for was the atmosphere. The place was buzzing and the service was lovely. Don't be seduced by the takeaway alone get yourselves down there to experience all the colour and charm that the restaurant has to offer instead.

The Chilli Pickle, 17 Jubilee Street, Brighton, BN1 1GE, Tel: 01273 900 383

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