Saturday 20 June 2009

Planet India - Brighton

If you can find Planet India, you are in for a treat. A real treat. The kind you'll want to have all over again. But first a proviso: do not rely on Google Maps, listen to the directions given by the staff, and it helps if you're a fan of Baz Lurhmann - outside, inside it's very 'strictly ballroom'.

Once one has gotten over the cheap day glo splendour, the dancing waiters* and the fact the restaurant is v-e-g-e-t-a-r-i-a-n / v-e-g-a-n (no BYO meat allowed) one can really begin to enjoy oneself. Paul Mercurio would eat his purple heart out here!

I've never been served by a man in a nightie and flip flops before but he was so warm and kind, bluestockings such as I were able to overlook this. There are all sorts of unusual beers to be had - including Trashy Blonde - but the food is simply excellent. Big, simple, direct, delicious flavours. Large portions too.

We consumed with relish (ho ho), homemade Mango chutney and a wonderfully spicy, acrid pickle, then shared (almost) two bowls of chaat - the best, topped with sensationally fresh coriander leaf, sweet and tangy with tamarind yoghurt, and creamy with filling, fibrous chick peas. Taking the option of two half portions for the main course - constituting more than a whole - I delighted in a preperation of buttery little potatoes in a coconut rich tomato sauce and ochre yellow-orange daal, thick and hearty, reminiscent of the most wonderful veg stock. Chris had Sag Paneer, not quite so fulfilling, and Claire a gorgeous, perky Aubergine yoghurt curry. Cumin rice, moist and toasty, proved bountiful.

As I gazed out the window at the sea the following morning and spied a lone pink sail, I thought, only in Brighton! I imagine Planet India will remain hip in a kinda lo-kool way for some time, possibly until the inevitable death of our sun.

FOOD (& DRINK): 4.5

Willp2328score: 9/10

*only yoking!

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