What started out as The Green Mango, has transformed into Café Chilli. A Thai restaurant in Hove serving up authentic cuisine ranging from your classic Pad Thai to exciting street food.
Café Chilli has been a favourite of ours ever since we went for dinner on my birthday last year. Admittedly, we haven’t been back since! Our list of “must try” restaurants is never ending and we find it difficult to revisit those places we loved. When Seb, the owner, invited us down to try their new menu we jumped at the chance to see if it still lived up to our memory.
The decor has changed since the last time we visited and has developed into a much cosier environment. There’s more art on the walls, drapes hanging across the ceiling and the whole restaurant has a much more relaxing atmosphere to it. You could sit there for hours drinking their Thai cocktails and get too comfortable to go back out into the cold!
Because we are oh-so predictable, we couldn’t help but order the crispy chilli squid again (£5.95). We ordered this starter last year and although the batter was crispy, we thought the squid was slightly overdone. Not this time though. The batter was still crisp but the squid was cooked perfectly and the chilli came through with just enough heat.
A starter we hadn’t tried before were the sweet potato & corn fritters, served with a sweet chilli sauce (£4.95). I really liked these! They were seasoned perfectly and weren’t oily from being deep fried.
A must have at any Thai restaurant, is prawn toast, which is what we chose for our third starter (£5.95). Another good dish, you really can’t go wrong with this!
We both found it really hard to choose what to have for our mains. So many of the dishes jumped out at us and we changed our minds at least three times. The dishes on the menu all have a personal touch and their descriptions just make you want to have a taste of everything!
I decided to go for the Royal Orchid Beef (£13.95). Strips of good quality sirloin were covered in a black pepper sauce and garnished with onion rings. I’ll be honest with you, it was the promise of onion rings that swayed me to order this dish. Hidden beneath all that goodness was some broccoli & cauliflower, which I don’t think the dish needs.
The black pepper sauce was absolutely bursting with flavour and the sirloin was tender and moist. The crispy onion rings were cooked tempura style and wilted after a little while but still went really well with the dish.
Josh ordered the Volcano Chicken (£10.95), which was also one I was tempted by. Half a chicken marinated in coconut milk and Thai herbs for 24 hours. It came served on a sizzling hot plate with tamarind and sweet chilli dipping sauces on the side. The chicken was incredibly moist and full of flavour, however the coconut doesn’t really come through. It went really well with the two sauces and with the amount of chicken you get on your plate, you’d think it was a whole one!
To accompany our mains we ordered an egg fried rice (£3.95) and a Som Tam (£6.95). Both were of a pretty good standard, you can’t go wrong with egg fried rice and I love the little dish it comes presented in. The Som Tam is a papaya salad with lime, chilli, fish sauce and peanuts which creates a really interesting and delicious flavour.
Café Chilli have definitely upped their game since our last visit and it remains on our list of favourite Brighton restaurants. What really shows from the moment you step through the door to the moment you leave is the love the team have for their restaurant.
Seb can answer any questions you have about the dishes, and speaks passionately about everything on offer. The menu is personable and invites you in. You feel like you know the whole family by the time you leave, you can even try dishes named by their 3 year old Isla.
What’s your favourite Thai restaurant? Let us know in the comments!