Curry Leaf Café launch new food delivery service in Sussex
PUBLISHED: 00:00 10 July 2020
Curry Leaf Café’s Euan Sey shares how the coronavirus lockdown inspired the southern Indian street food specialists to adopt a new approach.
It was the day before lockdown that founder and creative director of Curry Leaf Café, Euan Sey, revolutionised his business.
Up to that point the specialists in southern Indian street food were known in Brighton through their six-year-old Ship Street restaurant, its sister takeaway in Kemp Town and a popular kiosk in Brighton railway station, which closed earlier this year. But in March Euan began a new arm of the business, delivering chilled versions of the café’s most popular dishes to homes in Brighton and Hove which could be reheated and eaten at home, and washed down with a selection from the café’s extensive menu of craft beers.
Now the service is expanding across Sussex – with weekly deliveries from two refrigerated vans travelling as far afield as Eastbourne, Horsham, Haywards Heath and Chichester.
Euan admits it was an idea the company was exploring last year. “We had two restaurants in Brighton, but we thought wouldn’t it be nice to feed people outside our home city?” says Euan, adding it was also a great way of finding locations for possible future restaurants.
“It was on the back burner, but then COVID-19 happened. We are a small company, with passionate chefs and lots of skills in-house, and could see the writing on the wall.”
Euan admits he barely slept over the next few weeks as he redesigned the café’s website to simplify payments and deliveries. When it came to deciding what went onto the menu he had already spent several years doing his own private research. “I had been taking cold dishes home and putting them in the microwave for years,” he says. “I was our best customer! It wasn’t too tricky to streamline our menu in terms of the stuff which would keep in the fridge for a minimum of three days.”
The café had already invested in a blast chiller to cool dishes down as quickly as possible and extend their shelf life. Euan believes that this method of serving has a beneficial effect. “When you cook a curry it’s better the next day,” he says. “I’ve frozen curries and heated them up two months later – they’ve lost none of their flavour.”
One addition to the menu has been the Punjabi chicken makhani, which Euan describes as the grandfather of the tikka masala. Other recommendations include the Hyderabadi lamb curry, which he describes as a culinary powerhouse, the delicious spicy Goan pork ribs cooked in a tangy vindaloo sweet and sour sauce and the light and fresh aubergine kuzhambu. There are two-course meal deals – starting at £12.50 for one person up to £38.50 for a family meal – as well as a range of vegan and vegetarian options. The dishes come with simple instructions on how to heat them up.
Euan is looking into selling a Curry Leaf Café range of chutneys, and possibly opening a new site outside Brighton once lockdown is over. “Our plans are on hold at the moment, but on the restaurant side we were looking to open in Worthing,” says Euan. “We would like to expand further into Sussex – we’re not interested in London.”
Find the menu and delivery details at curryleafcafe.com/homedelivery