Indian Smallplates at Gunpowder

Shoreditch is notorious for Indian restaurants, and more often than not they’re the type of curry houses where you get that all too familar carb slump after filling up on bowlfuls of chicken korma, lime pickle and poppadoms. But at Gunpowder you’ll find none of the above.

I’m currently making my way through TimeOut’s Top 100 Restaurants in London and it’s no suprise that Gunpowder are ranked in the top 20, they whip up outstanding and innovative small plates cooked with authentic Indian spices.

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Gunpowder is tucked away on a small lane in Spitalfields and this narrow Indian restaurant barely has space for around two dozen covers. But the cramped conditions are worth putting up with for the quirky dishes that come flooding out of the kitchen.

We started with the patrani maach,which was described to us as a river fish cooked in a banana leaf – it simply fell apart and had a delicious, subtle lemongrass and mustard seed flavour.

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Next came the aloo chat, a dish which potatoes are roasted in a spice mix and then smashed and covered with yoghurt, chickpeass, tomatoes – a beautiful combiation which gives a sweet and tangy taste.

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Soft-shell crab isn’t a dish I’d expect to find on an Indian menu, but at Gunpowder the risks pay off. The crab is encased in a crisp, light batter and serves to really enhance and protect the juiciness of the crab within.

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We also devoured their outstanding okra fries – a crispy triumph and a beautiful accompaniment to any dish served up at Gunpowder.

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To finish we had the molten chocolate cake served with masala chai custard. Spiced custard is truly the way of the future.

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And, if you’re in the mood for booze there’s some interesting Indian cocktails too. I had a bellini served with chilli and corriondar, and boy it packed a punch.

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Gunpowder, 11 White’s Row, London E1 7NF

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A London Favourite | Enoteca Super Tuscan

Mozzarella, artichokes, olives and fresh basil are some of my favourite ingredients to cook with, so it’s no surprise I’m a lover of Italian food. I love the variety, the taste, and of course, the simplicity of it all.

Enoteca Super Tuscan is a gorgeous Italian wine bar down a tiny side street just south of Spitalfields Market, blink and you’ll have missed it. I met my mum and sister here one day after work and by 7 o’clock it was packed.

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They’re got a huge selection of wines which is complimented with an ever-changing specials board – which is completely ingredient-led.  We started with a vegetation antipasta; a selection of cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, olives, mozzarella, peppers and green beans – proving that sometimes meat isn’t needed.

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The name of the next dish has completely slipped my mind, but it was basically cheese wrapped in ham, but it was so much better then cheese wrapped in ham. It was served on a bed of rocket with grilled courgettes and sun-dried tomatoes. The cheese melted in your mouth and wasn’t stringy from being baked and was beautifully complement by the saltines of the ham.

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For mains each of us ordered from the specials board, my mum went for the Seabass which was so tender and my sister had the Gnocchi which was served in a rich, creamy sauce. I went for the Pea and Mint Tortellini – it was so good I was scrapping the plate for every last morsel. All of our food was washed down with their house white which was smooth and crisp, and worked well with all the flavour combinations.

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A meal with my family wouldn’t be complete without dessert and a digestif. The Panna Cotta went down a real treat, it was perfectly set and a great end to a fantastic meal.

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I swear it’s some of the best Italian food I’ve had in London (second to the River Café), and I’m already eager to go back.

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Enoteca Super Tuscan, 8A Artillery Ln, Artillery Passage, London E1 7LJ