Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Review: Gul and Sepoy

Gul and Sepoy opened a few weeks ago and is stage three of the Spitalfieds takeover by the Baweja husband and wife team. I have yet to visit Gunpowder or Madame. D but it seems there is a different theme to this restaurant, mixing north Indian and south west Indian cuisine. The menu is split into two columns themed around Gul and Sepoy. Gul was a north Indian courtesan and her menu reflects this through more elaborate, regal and rich dishes such as a whole leg of kid goat and three bird korma. The sepoy's menu is themed around the more rustic fare of southern Indian soldiers including potted pig with blood masala onions and burnt achari cauliflower and potatoes. The idea is to pick a 2 or 3 dishes from each side of the menu and enjoy the rich and the rustic flavours work harmoniously together. 

We went for:

Three bird's awahdi korma
Red leg partridge in Afghani sauce

Yam and paneer kofta chaat
Burnt achari cauliflower and potatoes
Ambedi stone bass in corgi sauce - remain calm - we were assured by staff that corgi sauce in this context was a spinach and coconut based one, so QEII need not panic
Dabba gosht (Seviyan mutton fry) 

For dessert we opted to share a walnut fudge Alaska with salted almond chikki (top left photo). 

We were clearly feeling rough and ready that night and opted for the more rustic dishes than those once found in the Raj palaces of North India. 

We found the menu in terms of set-up and flavours a fantastic concept and a refreshing change from the many restaurants in London laced with a patronising nostalgia of colonial days gone by. Gul and Sepoy simply focuses on great Indian flavours in a relaxed and chatty atmosphere. While we did seem to favour one side of the menu, the dishes do happily work together and it seems as though any option you go for, you'll get a perfect balance of complementary flavours. 

Our clear favourite was the Ambedi stone bass. If you can see past the unintentionally regal description of the corgi sauce, you are in for a treat. The sauce is mild but full of flavour and sits perfectly with a gamy fish such as bass. The cauliflower and potato dish may seem a bit too simple to go for but it's a punchy side dish with the achara - meaning pickle, is infused in the cauliflower and potato but also as a delicious smooth yet tangy puree. The chaat we noticed among other diners too was often the first dish serve (they come out whenever they are ready) and acts as a good starter - a cold dish with a refreshing yoghurt and light sev. 

One element of the menu that was perhaps less impressive (though it had a lot to compete with on the main menu) was the cocktail list - my chilli and cardamom margarita was remarkably underwhelming with neither flavour, especially the cardamom coming through and the Sazerac negroni was reportedly "just like a normal Negroni". This was particularly disappointing given the price point, even for East London. 

However, don't let this put you off. Order a bottle of wine and enjoy the great food on both sides of the menu along with an informed and friendly service.   

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