Sometimes in life, the simple things are the best. This was never truer than in the case of Gopal’s Curry Shack, a venue that manages to serve up simplicity in wonderfully surprising ways.
Friends Melanie Taylor and Heather Simmonds are the talented duo behind the Indian street food kitchen that carved out a name for itself as a mobile venture, before settling into its first permanent residence in Cargo 2.
Inside the humble shack cum shipping container, simplicity is key, but taking pride of place on the minimalist wall, a ‘Pledgetarians’ board credits all those who supported the crowdfunding campaign to get Gopal’s off the ground, its extensive list of names a testament to the community backing behind this vegetarian venture.
The menu, a charmingly understated chalkboard affair, offers only six main meal options, but this doesn’t make selection any easier as the aromas wafting from the kitchen make my mouth water and the choice of Mumbai Toastie or curry proves agonising.
Eventually, I opt for the Gopal’s Thali Box, the most expensive option on the menu at £9, but one that satisfies an indecisive appetite with its serving of the curry of the day, dal, rice, minty yoghurt, Jaipur slaw and pickled baby vegetables.
It was Heather cooking up a storm this particular Wednesday lunchtime and she kept up a friendly patter, talking about Gopal’s beginnings on the market and festival circuit, before it opened its doors on Bristol Harbourside about two weeks ago.
Giving in last minute to the pakora looking appealingly up at me from the counter, I added a rhubarb presse and took my haul to the lone wooden table outside.
The pace of life seems to go down a notch or two out at Cargo 2, bustling as it is with diners, people wander by ice cream in hand enjoying the summer sun, there’s no rush or stress to be witnessed and a spot on the decking proved a perfect place to relax and enjoy a late curry lunch.
A riot of vibrant colours, the thali meal looked almost too good to eat – were it possible to resist the lure of fragrant Indian spices wafting up from the takeaway box.
The curry of the day, aloo gabi, was wholesome, delicately seasoned and perfectly complemented by the accompanying dishes of a dal that was light and zesty, slaw that offered a satisfying crunch, while the yoghurt dressing – available as a vegan option if desired – added a refreshingly cool note.
Chillies hidden throughout added a fiery excitement, but perhaps ones to look out for if spice isn’t your bag.
The sizeable pakora proved perfect as a curry dipping tool, but also served as a tasty, filling snack in its own right. Too filling in fact, as half had to be packed away as a treat for later.
Fun, friendly and unafraid to let the food do the talking, Gopal’s is sure to become the go-to spot for diners who like their meals meat-free and full of flavour.
Gopal’s Curry Shack, Cargo 2, Wapping Wharf
Read more: EatDrink24/7 is now online