A bi-level Indian restaurant inspired by old Bombay (now Mumbai) — with a former Indian Accent chef at the helm — is headed to Gramercy.
Restaurateur Jimmy Rizvi, who opened Greek restaurants Korali Estiatorio and Nisi, will open Gupshup in November, aiming to bring a high-energy Indian hangout with live music to the neighborhood at 115 East 18th St., between Park Avenue and Irving Place.
For the food, Rizvi is bringing chef Gurpreet Singh over from India, where Singh worked at the Punjab Grill restaurant group and was chef de cuisine at the acclaimed original Indian Accent in New Delhi. Singh has put together a menu of dishes such as pumpkin with roasted tellycherry peppers, puchkas (hollow fried ball-shaped crackers) with smoked salmon and curd rice mousse, and lamb with pink rose bread and apple cider jam (pictured). There’s also an Indian take on ramen, with a tomato rasam broth and golden and wild ear mushrooms.
Cocktails will come from renowned bartender Tenzin Samdo, who will split his time between here and Cafe ArtScience in Boston. Samdo grew up in India and this year was named the city’s best bartender by Boston magazine. He’ll be making drinks with Indian spices.
Just as much a focus as the food and drink is the bi-level space, which Rizvi has fashioned after a Bombay mansion. There will be murals and art installations from South Asian artists based in India, a two-floor dabbawala-inspired tiffin sculpture, a 30-foot chandelier, and a 1.5-ton door imported from an Indian mansion.
In addition to standard food and drink service, there will eventually be programming like live music and plays. The space and atmosphere is what Rizvi hopes will make Gupshup — which means “to gossip” in Hindi — stand out from the recent influx of modern Indian restaurants in NYC such as Rahi, Bombay Bread Bar, Badshah, and Baar Baar.
“I’m Indian so I’ve always been wanting to do something where I can go and bring my friends,” Rizvi says. “We’re not looking to just be a restaurant — we want to be a fun, convivial, social kind of a space which Indian restaurants lack right now.”