Restaurant review - Gupshup, Hale
- Credit: Copyright 2018 Lucas Smith Photography
A new Pan-Indian dining destination in Cheshire.
It's hard not to get excited about a restaurant whose executive chef is an alumnus of Marcus Wareing, Atul Kochhar and Gordon Ramsay. Having learned much of his craft from these culinary masters, Indian-born Swaminandan has worked all over the world, popping back to the UK to reach the Masterchef: the Professionals semi-finals in 2011. And now, he's steering the kitchen at GupShup - a new space whose menu combs the subcontinent with refined classics and small plates.
Hale has more than earned its glossy reputation, and this newbie seamlessly slots into Ashley Road in the former NatWest Bank after a cash injection of £1.5 million. Inside it's a perfectly-turned out space with pillars and palms, banquette seating, scores of mirrors, and brass and glass pendants drooping over tables with crisp, white napkins.
I ordered an espresso martini - it arrived in the sort of glass that could be taken from the Gatsby film set. I'm a bit of a believer that you can judge an Indian by its mango chutney (I know it's going to be a flop when the chutney's watery or it tastes like it's spooned straight from a jar). But things were looking promising from the pickle tray. It was heaving too - despite only being open five weeks. From starry-eyed couples to thirty-something groups… everyone was hell bent on having a good time.
Among the starters, a standout was the prawn kali mirch - a plate of two giant shelled prawns cooked in the tandoor with a splodge of naga houmous - and a tender murgh malai (marinated chicken). Mains run through the classics (rogan josh, butter chicken) and the alternative (jackfruit biryani, truffle khichdi). But I had my eye on one thing. Ever since travelling around the hedonistic haven of Goa, I've never quite rediscovered those coconutty prawn curries I devoured on its hazy beaches. But Gupshup's Goan Prawn Curry was a startling imitation that conjured scenes of my twenty-something, free-spirited self, barefoot and basking beneath palms before liquid sunsets. My verdict? GupShup's not just showing flickers of authentic Indian - it is the real deal. Don't mess about: this is a table everyone wants to book.
Gupshup, 199 Ashley Road, Hale, WA15 9SH | 0161 820 2222 | gupshup.co.uk