After months of hearing about ‘Gunpowder’, the little nook of a coastal restaurant in the eclectic Hauz Khaz Village market, one sunny Sunday we decided to make the long trek down from dear ol’ Noida. The drive took us an hour, the parking 15 mins (finally settling for the DDA maidan) and finding the place another 15 mins. Lovely as it may be, wandering the cobbled winding lanes of this market, finding this place is quite a task. There’s an interesting shop we passed on the way which stocked old movie posters and maps, an old passion of mine. We even crossed the popular Kumzum cafe which works on a non payment model and is a place where travellers just go and chat with each other, sharing experiences and leaving tips to keep the kitchen running. Finally, after asking 3 people and getting exact instructions from a pan wala, we found our way around the block, over dumps of garbage and street dogs sunning themselves and found the building. Surprisingly, the restaurant has chosen not to put up a board declaring its presence. The only clue you get is an A4 sheet stuck on the ground floor declaring its arrogance of allowing only pre-booked customers.
Well, we decided to take the chance, climbed the very steep 3 floors and cajoled the manager to give us a table. Which he thankfully did, considering he refused 4 groups of people right in front of us! The first thing that strikes you about this place, is its view. Set in the back lane, directly overlooking the little known Deer Park and lake nestled in it, this place is a hidden gem. One can sit for hours in the sun, sipping coffee and staring at the unexpected oasis in this populated city. The second thing one notices is the crowd. It’s the kind of crowd I would often see in Ahmedabad in some hidden eateries only known to students of NID, CEPT, IIM and MICA. Journalists, students, expats…people discussing grass root microfinance or a heritage walk in chandni chowk!
The menu was not a very extravagant affair, in terms of the options. The prices on the other hand, rivalled even Swagath which I believe is very steep! We decided to order the dry Andhra Prawn Masala(Rs.350) and for main course we settled for the Kerala Mutton Korma (Rs.260) with Appams (Rs50 each) and buttermilk (Rs.65). The prawns,unfortunately were a huge let-down. Not that they were bad…just that they did nothing to excite the taste buds like a mutton fry in Andhra Bhawan would have….at 1/10th the cost!! The korma was flavourful but not one for which I would repeat the cross country drive I had undertaken. The buttermilk thankfully salvaged the situation and was absolutely delightful. Alas, a bill of Rs.1100 just wouldn’t let itself be justified by an exceptional buttermilk.
As much as I liked the view, the next time I want some Andhra food, I’m heading to Andhra Bhawan and Swagath for Kerala food! Gunpowder just doesn’t pack the punch!!
Rating: 2 on 5
Must Try: Buttermilk
Go for: The view…and the poster shop in the market
Address: 22, Hauz Khaz Village, 3rd Floor, New Delhi. Ph. 26535700