GupShup Indian Restaurant Opens In Gramercy

Restauranteur Jimmy Rizvi has brought a new palette of Indian flavors to New York’s Gramercy neighborhood with his latest venture called GupShup. The Bombay-inspired cuisine brings together all the spices that Indian food is known for in the gorgeous, bi-level space, with walls touting art by talented South Asian artists from India and the U.S., along with custom contemporary art installations.

Other noteworthy design elements include a stunning 30-foot chandelier, black-and-white tiled flooring, custom wooden furniture, a hand-painted mural depicting a Mumbai scene with Hindi expressions by artist Karishma Naran, another mural with a striking tiger and an antique 1.5-ton door that was brought to the restaurant from a mansion in India. The space was designed by Rizvi himself, along with Delhi-based company This Is It Designs and New York-based branding company Kern + Lead.

With Executive Chef Gurpreet Singh, brought in from India, at the helm of the restaurant, the menu promises a delectable and exciting selection of traditional and modernized Indian foods. So if you’re ready to venture to parts semi-unknown, head on over to GupShup, located at 115 E 18th St, New York.

Q&A WITH JIMMY RIZVI

Tell me about the gorgeous space.

It took us a while with nailing down the space with almost two years of looking around in the city to find somewhere to our liking. Once finalized, we had a team of people, including one of India’s biggest designers (This Is It Designs), three branding agencies (two from Bombay and one from NYC) and several artists from India and the US to work with us on installations and murals—the tiffin wall, Tiger, and Ayesha on Marine Drive. The design required us to open up the space between the two doors to create the energy and ambience that it required. GupShup (Bombay House) is a throwback to the 1970’s Bombay era of a fictional Indian family living in NYC, their belongings, furniture etc. and how the space transforms in a modern Indian restaurant by all of the talented artists coming together.

What inspired you to open an Indian restaurant?

I have traveled frequently to India, Dubai and the U.K. and saw an opportunity to open a modern-Indian restaurant and cocktail bar that was a new and exciting concept for NYC and for the U.S. I wanted to bring a place that has that 1970’s Bombay opulence and an art deco theme, where I would like to take my friends for food and drinks; a space that is high energy and loud, but not clubby or lounge-ish. I felt that London had more beautiful, trendy modern-Indian restaurants than NYC and I wanted to fill that void.

What makes GupShup so special?

GupShup has always been close to my heart. It took me two-to-three years to conceive the name/brand, trademark it and come up with a lot of inspiration throughout my travels and eating at numerous places around the world. I have opened two Mediterranean/seafood restaurants in NYC before, but my heart was set on opening a modern-Indian restaurant and cocktail bar in the heart of Manhattan. Despite plenty of folks suggesting I should not open an Indian concept restaurant, I went ahead with my plans and the rest, as “they” say, is history—at least in terms of the response we have gotten in the two months since opening.

What do you want American diners to know about Indian cuisine?

Indian cuisine is very diverse and regional depending on where you are eating in India. It’s not just curries or spicy food that some might think. The spices used in preparation of different dishes offer a lot of health benefits. It also is the most intense and labor oriented in terms of preparation. I personally feel Indian cuisine is slowly getting its due credit and within the next few years will be even more popular, especially seeing how well Korean, Thai and other ethnic foods have done in America in the recent years.

Q&A WITH EXECUTIVE CHEF GURPREET

What can diners look forward to when they come to eat at GupShup?

The food at GupShup is all about taste, flavor, innovation and happiness. The idea is to globalize Indian food by giving new life to traditional recipes that cater to an American audience.

Is the food authentic Indian or is it more fusion-style?

Indian food is always flavorful. The food at GupShup is focused more on textures, presentation, pairing, creativity and experimentation, while still keeping the authentic flavors intact. A few of our dishes are inspired by Indian street foods (Bombay Bhel, Puchkas) and some come from the royal dynasties (Nizams Haleem, Biryani).

What are some must-have dishes on the menu?

Our Braised Lamb Rack Biryani is the most popular dish on the menu, being inspired from the Indian coastal dishes. The tomato rasam ramen is a hot seller. Himalayan morels is also a popular dish with subtle and delicate flavors.

What do you want American diners to know about Indian cuisine?

American diners love to experiment, which makes a chef’s job very exciting. Indian cuisine goes beyond Chicken Tikka Masala, Naan bread and Samosas and that is what dining at GupShup is all about.

All images courtesy of GupShup.

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