One plus point of the recent heat was that rather than put on my ‘lazy hat’ and jump on a bus everywhere, I tried on my ‘I’m-going-to-be-healthy hat’ and spent what felt like days walking around Brighton. Excitedly stepping on the scales to see the fruits of my labour I was pretty miffed to find out that not only had I not lost weight, I’d gained it! The allure of unhealthy on-the-go food and bottles of cava had clearly been too much. So with a new and determined mindset of finding food that was flavoursome, exciting and healthy I trotted off to The Bottoms Rest on Lower Market Street.
The vegetarian and vegan Jaldee Jaldee, who have recently taken up residency at the popular Hove pub, serve up Indian small plates, thalis and street food style dishes and have impressively already won a Brighton and Hove ‘Healthy Food Award’. The friendly atmosphere and chunky wooden tables and benches suit this style of food perfectly and it’s an obvious choice for a group of friends. Getting a bit over-excited at the gorgeous smells emanating from the kitchen I was ready to order.
We started off with the Aloo Tikki Chaat (£5) and the Sev Dahi Puri (£6) to share. The Aloo Tikki Chaat were three beautifully spiced and incredibly fragrant potato cakes, cascading with red onion, homemade chutneys and sev. The potato cakes were fluffy, delightfully moreish little spheres which contrasted wonderfully with the sharp red onion and expertly spiced chutneys. The sev (tiny hard little snack-like noodles made from chickpea paste) provided a subtle but enjoyable additional layer of taste and added a brilliant texture and colour to the dish. The Sev Dahi Puri were unlike anything I’ve tried before. The best way to describe them would be as small little taco shells, served cold, but filled with chickpeas, potatoes, onion and sev and doused in home made chutney and spicy yoghurt. The term ‘taste explosion’ should have been invented to describe this dish, as there was something naughtily satisfying about how they exploded in the mouth. Messy, light and incredibly tasty; I would crawl over hot coals for another five of these bad boys.
The main was a Thali (a selection of Indian dishes served on a large Indian silver plate) and included such delights as Black Daal, Paneer Malai, Chana Masala, a couple of Rotlis, Boondi, Mogo Chips, Kachumber and Jeera Rice (£13 for one or £24 for two). It’s hard to describe how well these dishes were executed without getting a little bit excited, however I would go as far to say that not only could I not find a single fault, but that stopping eating for even the merest moments and all I could hear were satisfied murmurings of ‘Wow this is lovely’ or ‘Ooh have you tried this one yet?’. I washed this beautifully spiced and gorgeously sumptuous feast down with a large glass of deeply rich and very satisfying Tempranillo (£7.90) served by the friendly and humorous manager Emma.
Serving every Thursday to Sunday, the husband and wife team who run Jaldee Jaldee are really hitting the mark, with the skilful all-female cooking team serving up such on-point flavours that even as a die-hard meat eater I would go as far to say this is the best Indian food I have eaten in Brighton for as long as I can remember. Fresh, healthy and fantastically priced, I’m an absolute convert.
The Bottom’s Rest is at Conquer House, 16 Lower Market St, Hove, BN3 1AT. Tel: 01273 733513