- September 24, 2018
One of the finest things that happens in the city’s gastronomic world is the sense of camaraderie that has grown between so many of those involved. Chefs, restaurateurs, food retailers, wine and spirit makers, farmers of all kinds and manufacturers too – all playing nicely together. And this has for years now been best seen at Brighton & Hove Food & Drink festival events. The organisation, now in its 15th year, has encompassed that modern trend of the pop-up, and our best chefs are often willing to let guest chefs pop-up in their venues and create exciting solo and collaborative events.
One such pairing has been between Chef Kanthi Thamma of Spice Circuit and Stephen Edwards at Etch, Steve willingly giving over the home of his fine dining experiences to Kanthi who brings his immense skill at spicing and regional Indian cuisine but embraces the modern styling of Steve’s fine dishes.
A fine example of food creatives playing nicely together
On this occasion Kanthi had prepared a menu of fine examples of how this pairing has influenced his cooking. We started with a new gin blend created for Kanthi by Sarah Thompson of Blackdown Spirits, a spiky ginger forward blend of botanicals that went down extremely well when mixed with dry ginger ale.
Each of the following dishes was named by region and main ingredient. Allepy-coconut was a tantalisingly fine creamy broth served withe a crisp tapioca cracker. Pondicherry-crab came as beautifully formed spherical croquettes nestling on a toasted coconut crumb. Coorg-pork showed us how belly should be served, tender and yielding to the lightest touch and brilliantly vibrant with spice. Mangalore-potato, well, we both declared that we could eat an awful lot of this, I dined of course with Mrs T who puts the G in G&T. Chettinar-lamb again showed chef Kanthi’s skill – perfect racks, finely spiced so that the meat flavours could sing out across the spicing. Finally Goa-egg, a dish that I have personally pestered Kanthi to make for me for several years now, a layered batter pudding sweet with jaggery, that divinely fudgey Indian sugar. I first tasted Bebinca in Goa and this brought back many happy memories. Each dish was brilliantly paired with wines by the skillful sommelier at Etch – another fine example of food creatives playing nicely together. Hats off to them all.