THIS week’s food/drinks business is Monarch restaurant and bar in Brighton. Nick Mosley puts the questions to head chef Prakash Pushpakaranvimala.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Prakash Pushpakaranvimala, aged 43. I’m a self-taught chef who’s risen through the ranks of Brighton kitchens over the past 15 years including the Black Lion, Mama Cherry, the Lion and Lobster and La Piazza Brasserie.

I’m passionate about fusing tastes and different styles including Indian, British, French and Italian.

I’m firmly at the helm of my own kitchen and company, working with the owners of Monarch in King’s Road, Brighton, to serve up a great culinary experience to our guests.

What is your restaurant called, where is it and when was it established?

My company, The Melting Pot Brighton, took over management of the kitchen at Monarch in August 2021, a well-known and much-loved venue many will know as the former Buddies site.

Monarch provides a front-row seat to watch all the ever-changing seasons on the seafront.

Tell us about the food you serve at Monarch

My menu covers breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday roast. For those with late-night munchies, we also serve dishes until 4am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

A two or three-course set menu is also available during the week.

I’m passionate about only using the freshest ingredients so I work with local suppliers who share that ethos.

I’d say the star of the show is our seafood and many of my dishes have an Asian twist.

The Argus: Prakash Pushpakaranvimala heads the kitchen at Monarch. Picture: Julia ClaxtonPrakash Pushpakaranvimala heads the kitchen at Monarch. Picture: Julia Claxton

My Sunday roast menu includes a vegetarian and gluten-free option and we offer half-price roast options for children.

We offer 28-day aged beef that we slow roast overnight, crispy pork belly, slow-roasted and steamed chicken, great Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets, cauliflower cheese and light fluffy roast potatoes alongside seasonal vegetables.

Each week, you can check out mouth-watering images of our dishes on the Brighton Sunday Roast Club Facebook page.

I can also devise bespoke menus for special events such as weddings, anniversary or business lunches.

How did the idea for your business come about?

I’ve always wanted to open my own restaurant, but the opportunity of having free run of the kitchen and menu at Monarch came at the right time.

Monarch has a faithful clientele and is ideally located in the heart of Brighton so we always have a steady stream of customers.

How have you coped through the pandemic?

The pandemic was a challenge for everyone in hospitality.

In 2020, I was in my sixth year of cheffing at Breeze Brasserie but, like so many other colleagues, I ended up on furlough.

I used that time wisely though, and started a pop-up Indian takeaway serving Keralan cuisine.

I then set up my company in August 2021 and set up my kitchen at Monarch.

Together with the team there, we worked on ideas to safely carry on and entertain guests.

The Argus: Monarch offers views out onto the seafront. Picture: Julia ClaxtonMonarch offers views out onto the seafront. Picture: Julia Claxton

To support the community during the pandemic, we provided discounted meals for NHS staff and discounts for families with children who have special educational needs.

As rules began to relax, I catered for themed event nights including an Abba tribute night and a Motown night in 2021, and an Only Fools and Three Courses night and Fawlty Towers both in 2022.

I was also delighted to cater for the Bite Sussex Rising Star Awards in November 2021.

This year, we’ve also made our full menu available on Deliveroo so people can enjoy it at home.

What are your plans for the future?

With Covid-19 restrictions now lifted, I see a bright future.

I’ll continue to evolve and grow our menu, listen to feedback from our customers and deliver exciting and entertaining events with the Monarch team.

I can’t wait for things to get back to normal and welcome back customers new and old.

There’s nothing like a bustling kitchen that’s catering to a full house.

A busy, sweaty, tired chef is a happy chef.