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Restaurants, Indian Wan Chai
3 out of 5 stars
Photograph: Courtesy Gunpowder

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The team behind the iconic Gaylord restaurant is back with another foray into Indian cuisine, but this time with a modern twist.

It's going on half a century since Gaylord opened in Tsim Sha Tsui as among the first purveyors of Indian cuisine in Hong Kong. Since then, the restaurant has cemented itself as a foodie institution, and so it makes sense that the team behind it would once again delve into their cuisine of expertise in this new venture. While Gaylord's schtick is in offering classic Indian favourites however, Gunpowder breaks tradition, serving up creative new takes on Indian delicacies alongside signature cocktails in a restobar concept that is as cool as the location on Wan Chai's trendy Ship Street.

The restaurant's statement of intent is unabashedly delivered from the moment of entry, through a nicely-done motif of sleek, modern tables, chairs and fixtures punctuated by flashes of bright crimson and twinkling tiles to add a dash of Indian sizzle to the interior. The menu's headliner, the Gunpowder Chicken ($98) similarly screams modern Indian, taking fried chicken and infusing it with Milagai Podi – or Gunpowder – which is a robust spice mix that the owner Rajeev Bhasin grew up on and after which his latest restaurant is named.

Delicious and with a nice kick, the chicken is a great lead-in before getting onto other highlights like the coconut paste-tempered Peri Peri Scallops ($118) and the Bollywood Bravas ($88), which give a cheeky and scrumptious Spanish twist to the Indian staple of spiced potatoes. The signature cocktails aren't bad either, with especially The Masala Mary – a Bloody Mary with mustard seeds and chilli – providing adequate punch not only to the tastebuds. Traditionalists are also catered to with the provision of that classic pairing of curry and naan, and judging by the Baigan Bhurta ($108), the chefs know what they're doing in this area, too.

Considering all these positives on my visit, it really is too bad that the service didn't live up to the cooking. While not exactly neglectful, the waiters tended to operate a little perfunctorily and with a distinct lack of smiles throughout. Also note that, served in dim sum-sized portions lovingly named Indisum, the dishes work out being far from cheap (especially when considering the additional 10% service charge), making achieving a full stomach here a potentially pricey affair. Being a new establishment, Gunpowder has its core right, but some of the important peripheral aspects still need a little work.

By: Sam Evans



Address: G/F, J Residence, 18 Ship St, Wan Chai
Hong Kong

Opening hours: 12pm-11pm
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