Working Lunch review: Gunpowder, E1: This humble Indian cubby-hole in Spitalfields is sure to gain a cult following

 
Melissa York
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Soft shell crab says, "Does this lime hat make me look fat?"

Gunpowder
11 White’s Row, E1

WHAT?

A home-style Indian restaurant packing a cubby-hole on the cusp of the City out with big, bold, colourful flavours.

WHERE?

Squeezed next to a building site between Spitalfields and Brick Lane. The name refers to the area’s former use as an Old Artillery Ground. Expect stripped walls and nudey lightbulbs, lurid canteen chairs and low wooden bar stools with space for only 28 guests.

WHO?

It’s a family-run affair managed by Kolkata-born Harneet Baweja and head chef Nirmal Save, who defected from Tamarind, Mayfair’s renowned rest stop of refined curry.


It looks like dessert but it's aloo chaat of the gods

WHAT’S THE MENU LIKE?

You won’t find a meat bhuna round these parts. Here be small plate territory, including charmers like “aunty sulu’s wild rabbit pulao” and “maa’s kashmiri lamb chops”. The latter were caked in marinade but nowhere near as pink as they are in my feverish curry dreams. The grilled mustard broccoli head pulses with flavour; a venison “doughnut” deep-fried in vermicelli is dangerously moreish, and best mates with the excellent, spicy chutney; and the aloo chaat looks like dessert, but tasted like the best sour cream-filled jacket potato you’ve ever had, only sweeter and far more interesting. As for actual dessert, there are two, a rum pudding and a spiced chocolate cake, which comes with a masala chai custard that’s good enough to drink as a milkshake.

NEED TO BOOK?

You can’t! Sorry, it’s one of those, but at least these guys will text you when your table’s ready so you can slink off for a drink. Parties of at least six can book by emailing hello@gunpowderlondon.com


Stripped back walls and nudey lightbulbs don't care for your blushes

CLIENT MEETING OR TEAM LUNCH?

Great if clients are looking for something intimate and authentic, but there’s nothing showy about these surroundings. Perfect for a team lunch, especially if there are enough of you to book ahead.

THE VERDICT...

Gunpowder’s an unassuming curry house that’s sure to gain a cult following due to its astutely conceived sharing dishes. It’s a masterclass in studied restraint, using just enough ingredients to blow up your tastebuds. Who needs fancy furnishings when the food is dynamite?

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