New in town: GupShup – Elevated Indian street food in an unexpected location, perfect for a night out with friends
It’s like a drop of the sun peeled away and made a home here. That’s the thought that runs through my head the moment I step into GupShup.
All the magical warmth of Sol serenades my eyes. Sunshine seems to radiate off the marvellous continuous painting that runs the length of the walls. There is a dulcet softness to the scene, with the mellow amber hues reminiscent of sweet golden honey. Impeccably lit and furnished, GupShup is a visual delight all around.
I am standing in the basement of The Serangoon House, a Marriott Tribute Portfolio hotel. GupShup fits seamlessly into the mesmerising artistic flair of the establishment and follows up with a gourmet Indian tapas experience.
More than a match for the radiance of the décor is Chef Surjan Singh who is known in the industry by the accurate moniker of Chef Jolly.
“That lighting is for the afternoon crowd,” booms his British accent. A few booming instructions and the brightness plummets. Chef jolly is pleased and then gets right to adjusting the volume of the chill music. Attention to detail is the name of the game.
We begin with pani poori, ostensibly the number 1 street food in India. They are bite-sized semolina shells containing potato and chickpeas, served with a sweet-sour-spicy tamarind-flavoured water. Here, the Pani-Poori (S$21) very closely recreates the Indian street version.
I surprised myself by enjoying the Dahi Lotus Papdi Chaat (S$23) more. Lotus root crisps revel in a preparation of yoghurt with onion-tomato mix and crushed sweet potato. Enlivened by a pomegranate-mint sauce, this is a must-have entree.
Almost as nice was the Bhindi Amchur (S$13). Amchur is powdered unripe mango and it infused the okra with a surprisingly vibrant tangy flavour. I had never had it before but what an introduction!
I enjoy the Dosa with Paneer (S$37) for its visual theatrics as much as for the crispiness and flavour.
You need try but one item from the dessert menu. The Mango Rasmalai (S$15) bewitched me with its ethereal sweetness, so mild in intensity yet so effective. Even now, I close my eyes and the memory of its fluffy texture whisks me away into wonderland.
It’s an evening of delightful culinary discovery and rediscovery.
GupShup as a location seems almost too visually indulgent. I could sit there and simply soak in the atmosphere for hours and leave completely happy. Of course, I am glad that they were nice enough to also ply me with some of the most captivatingly elevated Indian street food I have tasted.
It’s ideal that GupShup tempers an inherent premium glint with palpable authenticity and, so, does not come across as pretentious. Chef Jolly seems to have achieved the nigh impossible with this feat.
To me, the combination of beautiful food, luxurious flavours and impeccable ambience makes GupShup one of the finest choices for a catchup or casual dinner date.
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