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Q&A with Sabu Joseph of Cardamom Café at Easy Tiger

Sabu Joseph at Easy Tiger

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m Sabu Joseph, aged 49, and originally from Kerala in southern India. My family are involved in agriculture which led me to cooking. I was inspired by our local cultural and religious foods, alongside my mom’s wonderful cooking of course!

How did you end up in Brighton?

The opportunity to work in Brighton came via chef Alun Sperring, who I met whilst I was working on a houseboat in Kerala. Alun invited me to work with him at his new venture – The Chilli Pickle in the Lanes – way back in 2007.

Where else have you worked in the UK?

Following a stint as sous chef at The Chilli Pickle, I worked as head chef at Curry Leaf Café in Kemp Town and also at the 5* Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in central London.

You set up your own business – Cardamom Café – in the early spring of 2022. What inspired you to go it alone?

Three words: passion, creativity and freedom.

You’ve recently taken on the kitchen at Easy Tiger at The Hampton in Brighton). How are you finding that move?

I’m very proud of myself that I was able to make my dream come true. I’m really happy and satisfied that my efforts and hard work have paid off in getting me to this stage.

Is the menu at Easy Tiger inspired by a particular Indian region or culinary tradition?

No, my dishes are my own unique twists on flavours inspired by my experience of cooking various cuisines in different countries.

A selection of dishes at Easy Tiger

Combining your kitchen with a traditional pub, Easy Tiger is always a bustling and popular venue. What are your most popular dishes?

My Kerala Fried Chicken is popular as it works as a great snack with a beer or wine. The lamb biriyani is a signature and makes the perfect supper. I keep my prices as affordable as possible with snack dishes for around £7 and mains in the region of £12-14.

Is working alongside local suppliers important for you?

Local suppliers are essential for businesses like mine. I use Adams in Worthing for fresh fruit and vegetables, BNFS and Fish Galore in Hove for seafood, Cullingford Meats and occasionally Taj.

Most of your dishes are suitable for diners with dietaries such as vegan and gluten intolerance. Is that typical of Indian cuisine?

Within the various kitchens of Indian, there are a huge variety of dishes that are suitable for those with food allergies and intolerances. However, my team and I make an extra effort to ensure that our food is accessible to both vegan and gluten-free guests.

For example, normally Dahi Puri – crispy puffed parcels of potato and chickpea – uses dairy yoghurt but we replace that with the soy version. It’s a simple change that allows us to make as much of the menu available to everyone.

We’re else do you enjoy eating in Brighton and surrounding Sussex?

As an Indian, I most eat Indian food particularly because I’m making it all day. So when dining out I prefer other cuisines, and I often find new inspiration from them. I’m a big fan of Italian food and highly rate the pizza and pasta at Al Forno on St James Street, Brighton. I really enjoy Japanese and Middle Eastern food too.

What are your plans for 2023?

I’m keen to open my own premises where I have total control of the operations of the business and consumer experience. As ever, I’ll continue to develop my menu plus I’ve got a couple of new projects in the pipeline.

Easy Tiger @ The Hampton, 57 Upper North Street, Brighton BN1 3FH

01273 731347 •


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