Review – Cafe Chilli
I have a good eye for Thai cuisine; a Thai-dar if you will. My mother in-law is Thai, my wife half Thai and they have both been teaching me their culinary ways for nigh on 12 years now.
Eating Thai in Brighton is always some what of a challenge, there are admittedly some authentic restaurants such as Uni-Thai, Tooktas and Aum-Thong-Thai, but never have they reached a restaurant style eatery.
Café Chilli is the new face of The Green Mango, but its not just a new name. The restaurant has had a face lift and the menu has also been completely overhauled. When we arrived we were taken a back at just how much different the new décor made the interior feel. The restaurant has been partitioned up with wooden blinds making it feel less like a canteen and more like an dining room.
To be honest on the journey to the restaurant we were already thinking about what dishes we wanted to eat, imagining a typical Thai menu. But, we were surprised, gone were the mixed hors d’oeuvres for 2 and its place a really vibrant, exciting and well crafted menu.For starters we opted for the Golden Crab (£6.95) and the Thai Sausage (£5.95).
Served on a bed of lettuce, (which acted as a delicious cup / handle) the soft shell crab is battered and fried till golden then covered in a sweet, moreish garlic sauce. This was crunchy, fresh and miles away from any obvious starter.
I was slightly dubious when we ordered the sausage, but I was so, so wrong. Far away from the typical banger the Thai sausage had a looser texture and was jam packed with lemon grass, chili, coriander and pork. All of the ingredients were obvious inside the sausage and nothing was minced to an inch of its life. A very good start to our evening and made us very excited to what our mains would hold.
Nearly all the mains are now one person dishes, there are some curries and noodle options still on the menu, but I would wholeheartedly recommend the exciting newer dishes. It was hard choosing between so many great options, but we finally opted for the North East Feast (£14.95) and Pad Grapow (£10.95).
The North East Feast was exactly what the name implied. Served on a steel tray I had half a deep fried succulent chicken, an assortment of chili sauces, sticky rice and a fresh som tam salad. Everything was of the highest quality and down right tasty. The crispy chicken complimented the soft sticky rice and spicy som tam salad cut through it all with a crunchy zesty zing.
My partner’s chicken was again served on a steel tray and was stir fried with the famously aromatic Thai basil, a very light savoury broth and steamed rice served with a fried egg on top. The bonus of a fried egg and runny yolk really made it stand out. The chicken was very well cooked in both dishes and retained a lot of its moisture.
We had a fantastic time at Cafe Chilli and was really surprised to not have a typical Thai takeaway style meal. The new dishes are really well conceived and for the quantity of food you get very good value for money. The menu’s style is somewhat reminiscent to eateries such as Curry Leaf Cafe and Chilli Pickle. I can’t wait to take my mother in law.
Cafe Chilli, 8 Church Road, Hove, BN3 2FL – 01273 710390
Rob’s meal was complimentary courtesy of Cafe Chilli.