Chilli Pickle wins OctoberBest restaurant festival award for third time

Chilli Pickle wins OctoberBest restaurant festival award for third time

  • Brighton’s Indian restaurant wins award for £20 Nizams of Hyderabad banquet
  • Hove favourite Fourth & Church takes runner’s up spot with eclectic small plates
  • Two-week OctoberBest restaurant festival most successful to date with thousands of diners enjoying £20 offers

Modern Indian restaurant The Chilli Pickle won the award for the Best OctoberBest Experience for the third time in a row as Brighton & Hove’s hugely successful OctoberBest restaurant festival drew to a close on Sunday.

Thousands of diners enjoyed £20 menus, discounts and pop-up events during the two-week festival at the city’s Top 20 restaurants (as compiled by Brighton’s Best Restaurants Awards), as well as establishments just outside the list.

The Chilli Pickle’s Nizams of Hyderabad banquet, which included dishes such as Bone Marrow Curry, Goat Haleem Curry and Tandoori Quail, plus two drinks, for just £20, was voted the best menu of the festival in a close run contest. Hove restaurant Fourth & Church was named runner up with a menu of imaginative small plates, such as seared duck breast with quince kimchi and sauté octopus with saffron aioli.

The Best OctoberBest Experience award, sponsored by wine company Enotria & Coe, was presented to The Chilli Pickle’s owners, Alun and Dawn Sperring, at a party to celebrate the end of the festival at the new Holler Brewery Tap Room.

We are truly humbled and chuffed to have won this award for the third year in a row,” said Alun Sperring. “It means a lot as it really is all about the food. Octoberbest has given us the opportunity to showcase who we are once a year in a nutshell. The competition is really tough as there are some brilliant restaurants in Brighton.”

The award made it a hat-trick of successes for The Chilli Pickle after it took the top title last year for its Keralan seafood feast Al and D’s Toddy Shop, and in 2016 for the Crispy Pork Knuckle Vindaloo. It’s been a busy year for the restaurant, which opened a second site in Guildford in July to rave reviews, but despite the pressures Alun Sperring made sure he personally supervised every OctoberBest dish that left the kitchen at the Brighton restaurant.

This has been the biggest OctoberBest festival so far with the city’s top restaurants pulling out all the stops, and the public really embracing the event with several thousand diners enjoying £20 menus across the city,” said food writer and festival co-founder Patrick McGuigan. “OctoberBest showcases the amazing range and quality of Brighton & Hove’s restaurant scene, which is now as good as anywhere outside London. Its success is testament to the skill, creativity and hard work of the people that work in the hospitality sector in the city.”

The Chilli Pickle’s £20 menu offered a window into the Royal Banquet tables of the Nizams of Hyderabad, who ruled the Indian state for over 200 years. The banquet for one included:

Thandai Warrior Cocktail

Goat Haleem

Roasted Marrow Bone Curry

Baby Aubergine Peanut Curry

Tandoori Quail – chutney & salad

Kesar Butter naan

Mirchi Biryani

Pomegranate & walnut, Labneh

Bottle of ‘Thieving Monkey’ (Chilli Pickle own-brand Amber Ale)

Coconut Rose Gold Bar

Fourth & Church’s £20 menu included a welcome drink, bread with whipped butter, followed by a choice of three plates per person from:

Miso cured trout, Furikake, cultured oat milk

Beetroot carpachio, orange and preserved lemon curd, hazelnuts, shiso (v)

Roasted & raw cauliflower, vadouvan spice, almonds, caper raisin dressing, salted yolks (v)

Burrata, grilled leeks, lovage vinaigrette (v)

Pheasant and chicken terrine, jasmine tea, radishes and carrots

Beef tartare, tunworth butter, F&C sriracha, candied sea lettuce

Koji cured seared duck breast, quince kimchi

Venison shoulder, our wood aged elderberry vinegar, celeriac

Saute octopus, F&C XO sauce, potatoes, saffron aioli

Braised baharat spiced lamb kofte, Tarhana, Kohlrabi, pomegranate

Potato and chestnuts croquettes, beets bi tahina, Jerusalem artichoke (v)

Ricotta gnocchi, pickled wild mushrooms, smoked pumpkin, pecans (v

Brighton’s Best Restaurants 2018: Top 20

1. Little Fish Market

2. Bincho Yakitori

3. 64 Degrees

4. Cin Cin

5. The Set

6. The Chilli Pickle

7. Etch

8 Pascere

9. The Salt Room

10. The Ginger Pig

11. Silo

12. Isaac At

13. Plateau

14. Pike and Pine

15. Fatto a Mano

16. 1909 (closed)

17. Fourth and Church

18. Murmur

19. Petit Pois

20. The Gingerman