Published on March 10th, 2020 | by James Drew0
Chef Dev brings fusion to your taste buds
Most of us have heard of it – fusion food – but do we really know what this is? We all need a bit of variety and fusion is able to provide us with the kind of variety we like to have in our food, writes Martin Banks.
It gives a new taste and look to cuisine, including those we may have been eating for ages.
This includes Indian food and, when it comes to Indian fusion food there’s no better exponent of the art than award-winning chef Dev Biswal.
For Dev, fusion simply means authentic recipes and that’s exactly what you get at each of the three restaurants he runs.
His backstory in itself is quite fascinating. He grew up in Orissa, was educated in Calcutta and trained at the Dubai Sheraton, before moving to London, aged 26 in 2003 for spells at Mangoes and Eriki.
He became a partner in The Indian Princess in Margate in December 2006, becoming patron and rebranding it as The Ambrette in 2010. His second restaurant, in Rye, opened in November 2011.
His restaurants are recommended by all the country’s top restaurant guides, including Michelin, AA, Good Food and Harden’s. Dev was the resident chef on Channel 4 TV’s ‘Superscrimpers’, showing how to prepare gourmet meals on a budget. Other awards received by The Ambrette have included. ‘Best Restaurant’ at the coveted Taste of Kent Awards; ‘Best Indian Restaurant’ by Morrisons magazine; ‘Best Restaurant in the South East’ by the Cobra Good Curry Guide. He was named Asian Chef of the Year at the Asian Restaurant Awards in 2019.
His restaurant in Rye, The Devil in Rye, is set in a historic part of this pleasant small Sussex town, with direct views onto the remains of an old monastery, now a grade 2 listed building.
Its head chef, who hails from South India, is new, having moved here four months ago. But he’s already bought into the “Dev” business ethos/model of keeping the cuisine relatively simple but fresh and tasty.
The “Dev-driven” menu here is slightly smaller than those in Canterbury and Margate but that is deliberate as the clientele is very different too.
Rye itself relies on a largely seasonal trade which means at this time of year it can be quiet. The idea, then, is to keep the menu fairly short so as to pack it with only the most seasonal/freshest and, where possible, locally-sourced products (and to make sure there’s no waste!). But the quality is just as high as its two sister restaurants elsewhere in this south east part of England.
Dev himself works on site with each head chef at each of his three restaurants while giving each of them the freedom to also impose their own personality and personal touches on the menu.
That means they will take the dishes/recipes created by Dev, who is based at the company’s base near Canterbury, and adapt them accordingly.
On the current menu at Rye (larger in the summer for the big influx of visitors) you’ll find some delicious offerings such as giant black tiger prawn and battered, Rye Bay scallops (a local speciality) for starters with mains dishes including home-style foreshank of goat (a customer favourite), sea bass and free range chicken tikka. There is a nice choice of deserts and after dinner drinks and, considering the quality, the prices are very reasonable. There’s also a good value-for-money “street food” lunch menu.
Whichever one if the three restaurants in the “Ambrette family” you experience you’re in for a treat. But don’t come looking for a traditional curry house – the food here is rather more upmarket than that.
The Devil in Rye, 6 High Street, Rye, East Sussex
T: 0044 (0)1797 334336
The Ambrette, 14-15 Beer Cart Lane, Canterbury, Kent
T: 0044 (0)1227 200 777
The Ambrette, 10 Fort Hill, Margate, Kent
T: 0044 (0)1843 231 504