The Chilli Pickle
17 Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE | 01273 900 383 Website
Selective Asia’s founder Nick and Product Director Karl were first wowed by the exhilarating flavours of the Chilli Pickle over 10 years ago, at their original site in Meeting House Lane, and this well-loved local legend, now in its expansive Jubilee Street premises, has since become one of Brighton's most renowned restaurants. It was a real privilege to sit down with the inspirational dream-team behind it all, Alun and Dawn Sperring, and we listened to their story in awe.
Head Chef Alun travelled the world for years before they launched the Chilli Pickle, setting out on a journey that ultimately changed the culinary landscape of Brighton forever. Working in professional kitchens around Asia, he learned the traditional methods that inspire his dishes and his encyclopedic knowledge of regional flavours and ingredients from across the Indian subcontinent is mind-blowing.
“Cooking is a creative medium; it’s always evolving.” emphasises Dawn, “We’re not afraid to break the rules.” This passion jumps out in The Chilli Pickle’s award-winning menu of seasonal curries, ranging from fragrantly spiced Cod Moilee to fiery Rajasthani Mutton Laal Mas, each paired with delicious sides. Small plates such as pani puri are perfect with a post-work beer, and in the evening the famous lunchtime King Thalis make way for searing dishes from the grill, including Charred Sambhal King Prawns, and biryanis made with matured basmati rice. “Refined yet rustic, with a big impact.” is how Alun describes their distinctive style.
With their sights on the future, they’re proud of the continued success of the Chilli Pickle Canteen takeaway, and their newly-opened site in Guildford is all about bringing their dynamic dishes to a fresh audience. “We’re creating a bigger and better Chilli Pickle,” enthuses Alun, “getting excited about the things that started it and being able to constantly move forward.”
We humbly bow to everyone in the court of the Chilli Pickle - long may they reign!
Call us on 01273 670 001
As Selective Asia’s (admittedly self-proclaimed!) India ‘guru’, I’ve eaten at all levels during my many travels in India. In my backpacker days, the options were mostly budget-restricted to the delicious streetfood (tough life!). However, in recent years I’ve been fortunate enough to eat in some of the country’s best restaurants, and it was gratifying to hear Alun name several of these among his favourites. I share their love of Delhi: it’s the perfect place to start your India holiday, and building in a few extra days there lets you explore and eat your way around the city in bitesize chunks.
Dawn & Alun recommend wandering through Delhi’s busy Chandni Chowk market and Khari Baoli, the biggest spice market in Asia. Away from the capital, we spoke about their love of Gomti Nagar in Lucknow and the many varieties of kebab, Laal Mas and Tandoors in Jaipur. Combining these makes a really nice circuit, and I would suggest weaving in Agra’s Taj Mahal before continuing from Jaipur via Udaipur to Mumbai where Trishna’s seafood restaurant would make an unbeatable final meal. A 14 day journey of adventure and food exploration like no other.
Discover Alun & Dawn's India
Where to eat in Old Delhi
We absolutely love the craziness of Old Delhi, the spice bazaars, the traders rushing around the insane organised chaos of it all.
Karims – This legendary restaurant amongst all the winding lanes of Chandi Chowk is in a very old hotel famous for it’s kebabs, curries and the 1 rupee romali roti.
Parantha Wali Gali – Among the spice bazaars in Chandni Chowk there is a whole area just dedicated to little Paratha cafes where you choose your style flaky bread from a menu of 40-50 choices and it is made there in front of you.
Where to eat in New Delhi
Great food is found in all areas from streetfood vendors, peoples' homes to the finest hotels – the same rules apply as anywhere – you can get the great the good and the bad. Here are some of our favourites in New Delhi
Dum Pukht – The finest Awadhi Cuisine, slow cooked refined dishes rich and fragrant beautiful, kebabs, curries and biryanis
Bukhara, Northwest Frontier Cuisine - Unchanged since opening in the 1970’s, it's famous for its kebabs and tandoori cooking, including the Tandoori Raan, where a whole lamb leg falling off the bone is served with their world famous black dal.
Saravana Bhawan – A favourite of ours is this authentic South Indian – Massive Pooris, potato curry, dosa & sambhar we could eat this every day
Where to eat in Jaipur
Lassiwala – One of the originals and famous all over India for the best traditional yoghurt drink seasoned with cardamom and signature tasty milk skin on top. Served in a clay pot which is smashed once finished!
Copper Chimney – This is where we had out first taste of Laal Maas (translates red mutton) and we fell in love. A fiery mutton curry with a deep red chilli colour and a robust taste of whole garam masala served with hot red pickled onions and naan. This is a dish that we hold very dear and has been a regular on The Chilli Pickle menu.
Where to eat in Lucknow
Tunday Kebab, Rahim Nagar– This is an example of how we choose destinations in India on our research trips if there is a famous dish or style that excites us we will travel the world for it. A typical trip to India for us can consist of three regions or cities that we go to that is famous for a cooking style and specific dishes – Awadhi Cuisine of the Royal Kitchens and specifically the Tunday Kebab took us to travel to Lucknow.
The Tunday Kebab is made from Buffalo Meat which is pounded to a smooth buttery paste with roasted onion and they say 160 spices (although I think there might be a little romantic clouding on this fact) and finished with kewra & rose. They are fried as little patties on a large tawa and served with flakey parathas and herb chutney. Melt in the mouth delicious.
Or venture nearby...
“In Delhi, you’ve got the opportunity to taste the whole of India.” Alun
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