1/F Ashley Centre, 23-25 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
As the oldest Indian restaurant in Hong Kong, Gaylord owes its longevity to its commitment to excellence. This star quality has made it an enduring favourite of locals and visitors alike for nearly 45 years. Tucked away on Ashley Road, considered to be the best local restaurant and bar street for over 20 years, Gaylord is a haven for lovers of authentic Indian fare, where dishes such as mutton rogan josh and matar paneer have found a permanent home in Hong Kong.
Translating to ‘Happy God’, Gaylord was first opened on Wyndham Street in 1972 by a gentleman named O.P. Seth. He recruited the Harilela family in Hong Kong as a business partner, who continued to operate the restaurant for the next 25 years until a change of ownership in 2006. Almost a decade and several relocations later, the iconic restaurant was bought by Mayfare Group, who moved it to its current location on Ashley Road.
With its gold-leaf and rosewood interiors, an open kitchen and live music most nights, the restaurant is as attractive for a weekday lunch as it is for a cosy Saturday night dinner. Peer into the kitchen, and you’ll spot Head Chef, Roman Singh, leading the charge. An industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience, Roman hails from Delhi and emphasises traditional cooking styles and authentic methods of preparation – a difference you’ll notice with each dish striking a careful balance of spices, seasonings and herbs.
Sit down and peruse the long and diverse menu of curries, tandoori, vegetarian dishes, basmati and breads. The first to arrive is a basket of naan, puffy and smoky from the tandoori clay oven, with steam-filled pockets and pools of melted butter and garlic tucked into its folds. It’s impossible not to tear into – but make sure you save some for dipping in the curries and sauces to come.
There’s the malai jheenga, boasting succulent prawns in a creamy coconut milk curry; the keema mutter with fragrant minced lamb and green peas spiced in garam masala; and the chicken vindaloo, with tender poultry in a fiery sauce (the menu cautions ‘HOT! HOT! HOT!’).
The curries are complemented by seafood and poultry from the tandoori oven, street food-style appetisers and regional breads that span from wholewheat paratha to layered methi kulcha, a green-tinged flatbread infused with dried fenugreek leaves similar to Taiwanese spring onion pancakes. Complete your meal with homemade ice cream infused with saffron and cardamom followed by masala tea, a perfect drink for your heart and digestion.
Enjoy an extensive selection of wines, from the familiar and affordable to rare labels. Alternatively, go for a tropical-inspired cocktail or the classic mango lassi, a smooth beverage to cool off the palate.
The sweet perfume of Indian spices and aromatics at Gaylord are both an adaptation of familiar dishes and recipes drawn from the old and less-familiar canons of Indian cuisine. This authentic fare combined with attentive service and warm hospitality have contributed to Gaylord’s longevity over the years, making the restaurant still one of the truest representations of Indian cuisine in Hong Kong.