The Peninsular Kitchen dishing up the best of India’s southern states.
When one thinks of Indian food, it’s often the thick, heavy, aromatic dishes of the north that instantly come to mind. Especially for anyone outside of India, whose only experience of rice and curry comes from a visit to one of the many ‘All You Can Eat’ buffets classically found throughout the west. Unfortunately giving poor example to what the food really is and completely disregarding the abundant variety of cuisines available across the country. And yet despite the all fame of everyone’s favourite Butter Chicken, more often than not it’s the specialties of the south that most visitors return home craving the most.
So when the idea came to launch Gunpowder Restaurant back in 2009, opening first in Delhi and later in Goa in 2012, it wasn’t hard for owner Satish Warier to put down a list of possible dishes for his debut menu. Inspired by the recipes of his childhood and those he himself was cooking up daily for friends and family at home, it wasn’t long before the flavours of Andhra Predesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and even parts of Maharashtra were filling the kitchen and finding their way onto the table. Today one can expect to find a mix of anything from their signature Syrian Christian beef and backwater prawns to a plate of chili pork ribs with roasted tomatoes and coconut chutney to the zesty mushroom black pepper fry. These alongside South Indian staples such as egg appams will be sure to have you experiencing the true taste of Indian cuisine.
Not only that but spend any amount of time in their calm outdoor location occupying the backyard of an old Portuguese house and it’s hard not to feel the slow laid back charm of the south. A quality similarly found in the owner himself, clearly not too fussed and in no means in a rush to answer to anyone’s expectations but his own. Satish shows signs of a guy who’s had enough with meeting targets and clocking unnecessary hours in the office. Coming from a background in journalism, Satish was a part of the new generation of Indian news writers who made the shift from print to online during the early 90’s. Since working with nearly every news publication in the country and gaining a strong understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Having been based in Delhi for much of his career, this Kerala born entrepreneur, took the leap from journalism to running restaurants with little hesitation. A decision his parent’s generation are still finding hard to understand.
And while he knew closing down shop in Delhi would be a risk, clearly being the more profitable of the two Gunpowder locations, it quickly became the obvious choice. Work is work and Satish knew that at the end of the day the hours spent in the kitchen will be the same in any restaurant. But when it was a question of lifestyle, Delhi was never going to give him the possibilities only Goa holds. So after a welcoming first season in 2013, he shifted full time to Assagao leaving the stresses of city life behind. Running the restaurant year round and moving from the yard onto the house’s front porch once the rains hit. Dishing out quality fare to returning customers 6 days a week alongside 6 Assagoa’s partnering design studio and boutique People Tree.
And as for the name? It’s in fact a reference to the South Indian spice mix, also known as Molagapodi, often served on the side of a plate of idli or dosa. So no, don’t worry you’re not going to find any skull and cross bones or playlists of Gun’s & Roses here.
Stay tuned to the 6 Assagao Facebook page as well for updates on events, workshops and their monthly socially conscious film nights.
Open | Tuesday to Sunday | Lunch 12pm-3:30pm & Dinner 7pm-11pm
Prices | Ranging from Rs. 100-150 for starters and Rs. 250-400 for mains