Friday, November 26, 2010

Gunpowder, Delhi

3rd Floor
22 Hauz Khas Village


011 2653 5700
 Lunch 1200-1500 & Dinner 1930-2300
Monday Holiday
No Home Delivery

Gunpowder is a wonderful little Malyali (Kerala) Eatery located in the Hauz Khas Village with simple interiors but a magnificient view of the Hauz Khas Lake. The restaurant is not in the least bit pretentious, but serves up some of the best Kerala style food I have eaten outside Kerala, Dubai and my Malyali friends houses. Gunpowder also serves up cuisine from other parts of the coast, but the focus is mainly on Malyali food.

Its a bit difficult to locate and we ended up eating at Naivedyam or TLR Cafe before we finally found their number and got more precise instructions. They do have a couple of signages pointing the way, but the easiest way to arrive is to find the Yodakin Book Shop on your left, walk a few steps ahead. There will be a narrow gully on your right with a paanwallah sitting there. Take that right turn and keep walking straight until the dead end. Turn right and then gaze at the hard climb up the 4 flights of stairs. There's actually a print out at the base of the stairs that cautions (please call 011 2653 5700 to check if we have seating space before climbing)

The restaurant barely seats 25 and the food is excellent at very reasonable rates for Delhi so its almost always full.

The owner seems to be running the restaurant more for the pleasure of feeding people and the joy of cooking rather than as a business and this reflects in the quality and flavours. But it also means that they are very firm about timings and seating. So its best to call and reserve a table.

On our last visit, we started with the Pork Ribs(200Rs) a sweetish starter and the Buff Fry(250Rs) which was excellent with our drinks. A dry spicy dish flavoured with roasted slivers of coconut and curry leaves.
We were 7 of us for dinner all avid foodies and staunch non vegetarians and we used this opportunity to order a wide cross section of curries from the menu. A Buff Curry (260Rs), an Idukki Pork Curry (260Rs), a Coorgi Pandi Curry (260Rs) and a Toddy Shop meen - fish curry (300Rs). Each dish had a distinct flavour and each was wonderfully spiced - the trademark of Malyali cuisine.

The meats were all well cooked without being too tough or too dry. The presentation wasn't glamorous but the experience was like dishes coming out of a friends mothers kitchen, so you don't really mind.

The fish curry was tasty, but the fish itself was very bony and seemed more like the Bengali style river fish than the sea fish which is more popularly consumed in the Coastal states of South India.

To add some vegetables to our meal - mostly to satisfy the UPite and the Gujarati (relatively recent converts to non-vegetarianism) in our group, we also ordered the Avial (110Rs) -  a traditional Kerala dish of mixed vegetables with coconut. The Avials I have eaten so far have been slightly runny in texture. The dish served here was dry with such an exquisite balance of flavours and such crisp and firm texture to the vegetables, that it was the first dish to be wiped clean, even though the majority at the table were die hard non-vegetarians (from the North East of India and a Manglorean)
We had some Appams (50Rs), Steamed rice (65Rs) and Malabar Parottas (50Rs) to accompany the dishes. The parottas are absolutely scrumptious and one can make a meal of just 2 parottas and nothing else. They are that good. Flaky and tasty.

Back home, we buy appams and parotas for 3Rs, so the 50Rs is a bit of a jolt each time I look at their menu and the one at Swagath . But when you consider the difficulty of getting the right ingredients and a cook with the right technique in Delhi and the amount of labour it involves (which is why I rarely make them at home) - it is worth it.

We were so stuffed, that we did manage to pack a lot of the food as the quantities are quite generous. We had absolutely no space for even a bite of dessert. Although the pal payasam looked very tempting.

Throw in a couple of Lime Sodas (45Rs) and Beers (150 / 170Rs), tip, service and VAT taxes. But we had 7 stuffed foodies with food to spare and thetotal bill was just 3700Rs. A minor miracle in Delhi for clean, hygenic, healthy and tasty food.

This is another one of our favourite restaurants in this city and we will keep going back for more.

Ambience : 8 (for the outdoor balcony seating that overlooks the lake, decor is very basic)
Food  : 9
Service : 7

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