Tucked away in Brighton’s bustling North Laines, Manju’s is an Indian restaurant with a difference. It’s named after the matriarch of a family, Manju, who was born in Uganada and grew up with a fierce love of cooking. At age 14 she turned to making and delivering tiffen boxes to earn enough money to survive. Come 1972, years later, and Manju left Uganda with her two small children after all East African Asians were exiled by president Idi Amin. Arriving in London with her young family, she took a job in a factory and forget her dreams of cooking, until she was in her eighties.
Now, in her eighth decade, her children have opened Manju’s and have brought their mother’s dream to life of her owning her own restaurant. Here she can often be seen behind the stoves, teaching the next generation her family recipes. Her lifetime of knowledge has been handed down to Dipali, Manju’s daughter in law and head chef of the restaurant. She trained in Gujarat where she was born and has since worked around the world.
Here in this Brighton hidden gem you’ll find a spread of vegetarian small plates that are perfect for sharing with friends. Kick off with papds and homemade chutneys before moving through carefully spiced plates of sesame tikki (sesame covered potato patties with date and tamarind chutney), samosa chaat (smashed samosa, chickpeas, sev and chutneys) or chilli paneer (paneer and peppers in a hot, sweet, soy sauce).
For mains try the addictive dhal mahkani with fragrant jerra rice and a cabbage and carrot sambharo salad or a pea, aubergine, and green bean curry, called a matar ringan posho.
Many people who eat at Manju’s become fan favourites returning regularly. If you count yourselves among them, you might like to know that you can purchase the house signature chutneys to for delivery or takeaway for a taste of this famous restaurant at home.