Popular modern Indian restaurant group Gunpowder will open its third site under that brand at 20 Greek Street in Soho, replacing Pizza Express. Known for its venison vermicelli doughnuts, Kashmiri lamb chops, and loud, lively atmosphere, Harneet Baweja and Devina Seth’s new restaurant will join the first in Spitalfields and second in Tower Bridge.
A design and access statement for the new restaurant — which somewhat bizarrely claims that Gunpowder has “won Michelin stars” where the reality is a Bib Gourmand — and drawings show that the restaurant will retain the grade two-listed building’s exterior, just with a coat of glossy black paint and Gunpowder’s gold all-caps branding. The group has repurposed the vehicle for its former restaurant Gul and Sepoy for this new opening; that restaurant, and sibling Madame D, both closed abruptly in July 2018, with Baweja saying that “closing the restaurant has been a necessary move in the current financial climate with increasing staffing and other costs.” That climate is all the more challenging in 2021.
Baweja and Seth will also hope this opening will go more smoothly than their last: the Tower Bridge location was originally planned and designed to house not just a Gunpowder restaurant, but Custard, a standalone bakery and bar that never got off the ground in the guise that the duo had imagined it.
Gunpowder Greek Street is the latest in a string of what might be dubbed “corporate indie” groups to make a move into Soho — restaurants with enough capital both fiscal and social to take advantage of a property market in which, when it comes to vacant sites, prospective tenants have the upper hand. Harts Group’s Mexican mini-chain El Pastor, Neapolitan dough slingers Rudy’s Pizza from Manchester, and Maginhawa Group’s Filipino-Japanese Ramo Ramen have all either opened or announced plans in the last month or two, bucking the trend of restaurants looking to more residential neighbourhoods in order to temper their reliance on a central London cadence that is yet to truly return.
Eater has approached Baweja and Seth for comment on details of the new restaurant. More soon.