Chef’s Log 66: Gunpowder, Season(ing) and Pork

As any great food connoisseur would know, it is more than a little challenging to find a restaurant that manages to get every dish on the menu right. Of course, it would be equally challenging to actually sample every dish on the menu, even for me. However, I believe I might have found a restaurant that could potentially live up to the task mentioned above. Its name: Gunpowder. Located in a picturesque village in Goa, the restaurant forms part of a beautifully restored house, and is surrounded by greenery on all sides (it is particularly striking during the monsoon). At first, I found the name strange. But I soon discovered that Gunpowder refers to a dry chutney—a popular combination of spices—that is frequently used in South Indian cooking. Although the chutney was delicious, it did not set off any bombs on my tongue. I’d much rather prefer to assume that the restaurant is named Gunpowder because every dish triggers an explosion of flavours in your mouth. This was my second time visiting here, and I tried a variety of dishes. Although all of them hit the mark in terms of overall taste, two dishes really stood out for me. The first was the Pandhi Curry—a dish native to the Coorg district of Karnataka. The pork was incredibly soft and succulent, yet it retained enough firmness to still have a bite to it. The gravy was fairly thick and had an almost jam-like consistency; it was absolutely packed to the brim with flavour. The tangy sweetness of the curry was not at all overpowering and complemented the meat perfectly. The soft, slightly crispy appam served as a perfect foil to the sweetness of the curry. This is a meal most exquisite—certainly worth planning a whole trip to Goa for. The second dish that stood out was the Beef Fry. I have tried this dish numerous times at various Kerala-themed restaurants. However, the quality of the meat and the well-balanced seasoning of spices made this particular rendition truly sing. In conclusion, Gunpowder is one of those places that you simply cannot eat at just once.