Indian Summer prides itself on 'dispelling the myth of curry' and showcasing the best of Indian food. Usually being a chicken korma and peshwari naan kind of girl, I was intrigued to see what they had to offer.
Nestled among the bars and restaurants on East Street near the seafront, it's all too easy to wander past Indian Summer as we found out. However, a quick turnaround brought us to the restaurant and we were warmly welcomed by Tim the restaurant manager. The venue was modern and sophisticated with tasteful chandeliers and Indian-inspired touches in the decorated sequin cushions on the chairs and a mural overlooking a city through an arched window. The authentic décor represented Indian Summer’s vibe; this wasn’t a gimmicky Indian restaurant. The restaurant was small but the tables weren’t crowded together and the room opened up round the back with larger tables for larger parties.
The Food & Drink
The menu offers a set price of £26.95 for two courses or £31.95 for three and has a huge choice of dishes, but you won't find your usual Tikka Masala or Jalfrezi on this menu. Not being very knowledgeable in Indian cuisine, we were slightly apprehensive, but the waiting staff were happy to help, advise and recommend dishes. Tim started us off with the Yealands Estate PGR New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£26.00) which they had added to the wine list specially as it complimented spicy food – and we completely agreed. Dry and sharp with a satisfying fruity after-taste, the wine even seemed to calm the heat of the spice from the food.
Speaking of food, we started with lentil papads , two spicy and two plain, accompanied with a selection of delicious dips and chutneys, each with their own unique flavour. We were also treated to a soupçon of carrot, parsnip and tomato soup which was thick and tasty and had just a hint of spice. Next I had the Trio of Idli - a type of savoury cake which came three flavours: spinach, tomato and plain, and served in a lentil stew with roasted peanut chutney. This dish tantalised all the senses; it looked beautiful with an array of colours, the crunchy peanut contrasted the soft idli and sambhar and, most importantly, it tasted amazing. My dinner mate had the Sesame Scallops which were proclaimed to be some of the best scallops he had ever tasted. After a few spoons of a tangy passionfruit sorbet to cleanse the pallet, it was time for the main course.
I was originally going to choose the Pork Ulathiyathu, however our waitress advised that whilst the staff members think this is one of the tastiest dishes on the menu, she had seen a few customers struggle through it as it was very spicy. Unfortunately, too much spice has me reaching for the yoghurt so I opted for the Indian Summer Thali instead. This dish was great for trying a variety of food, including a rich mutton dish, a delicately spiced chicken dish and spicy soft potatoes, served with basmati rice, a lentil papad and roti. My dinner mate chose the Tandoori Platter which constituted of a huge plate of different meats with a range of vegetable and chutney sides – I made sure sample each piece and can confirm that it was all cooked and flavoured to perfection. For pudding, we finished with the Mango Brûlée and Indian Petis Fours – the brûlée was creamy with a crispy top and punchy mango taste whereas the Indian Petis Fours each had their own subtle flavour. Both were light and made for the ideal end to a delicious meal.
We visited Indian Summer mid-week and the place filled up quite quickly – a testament to the great food on offer. Regular faces were remembered and mini bios of the chefs and other staff members in the menu helped to make everyone feel like part of the family. All of the staff seemed to genuinely care that everyone had the perfect dining experience and their attentiveness made for a truly relaxed evening.
We had the pleasure of speaking to Minesh, co-owner and chef, who explained that Indian Summer had arisen after his friends had taken him to an Indian restaurant and he hadn’t recognised any of the food – so he took his friends home for his mother’s cooking to show a true Indian meal. Minesh also mentioned the chefs are encouraged to create dishes inspired by food they had grown up with and many are developed with a modern twist. This attitude reflected throughout Indian Summer: a warm, friendly vibe with its own unique flair.
Indian Summer promised authentic Indian food and it really delivered. Each dish is clearly created with care, passion and love and every part of our meal was presented beautifully and tasted incredible. Combined with a relaxed setting and friendly attentive staff, I couldn’t recommend Indian Summer more.