I had a rare Saturday off the other day and made my way to Gul & Sepoy for lunch at the bar. I’ve been to Gunpowder before (very very tight seating) and wandered into Madame D’s one evening when they first opened and weren’t serving food. I like the vibe of these sister properties, although it’s fair to say they’re all a bit different — Gul & Sepoy has this whole “managed neglect” vibe going on upstairs which is quite nicely nicely done.
Gul & Sepoy was empty when I entered so I grabbed a seat front and center at the bar and started chatting to my very nice server. I ordered the clams sukka masala — which were very very good. I’m (very) used to eating bowls of fresh clams in lemon and garlic and chili, so the rich seasonings here were a nice surprise. I enjoyed this and found it to be a very generous portion.
I also ordered the yam and paneer kofta chaat which had this sweet thing going on that wasn’t really for me. (Some people might like it. But just a little too sugary for my taste.)
You know what would have been great with all this? Rice! Or Naan. But nooooooo. Unless I wanted to spend £16 quid (!) on the Royal Guchi Polou, no rice for Krista. (I notice the website now says this rice is £14.) I think my server could tell I was desperate for carbs and thus suggested that perhaps the chef could do a half portion of the rice for me but the chef DENIED this request. “The owners want the restaurant to be cozy and the food here is cooked in the French method” was my server’s explanation. Well you know what. Bread makes me cozy. Also, sometimes I want to be cozy and I wear Uggs and I hate myself just a little bit but f*ck all the Uggs haters out there because I love my Uggs, especially on the weekends. If you don’t want to be Brick Lane, WE GET IT. Offer a good beverage program and hang the world’s most bijou mirror in your ladies loo — you can still serve bread or (reasonably priced) rice and not be Brick Lane.
The Verdict: Worth a visit. It’s a unique offering and I like the vibe — and the clams. I would like it all a bit better with some garlic naan though.