I have to make a confession. I am not fan much fan of Japanese cuisine and wasn’t too excited when we got the opportunity to visit the the contemporary Japanese bar and kitchen GUPPY by Ai. Even the name sounded weird to me. But all that changed once I was there.
Nestled away in the quite corner of Lodhi colony market, the place is a whiff of fresh air away from the maddening crowds. A humble facade adorns the building and one enters into a courtyard full of Japanese murals.
The dining area has a colurful vibrant appeal almost resembling a kid’s nursery full of cartoon characters. Most iconography is anime inspired and translates into the fabric, sculptures, murals and lights. There is clever use of Origami (Japanese paper art) and metal to make lights. Guppy did transport me back to my childhood days.
I was even more curious now.
We began with The Guppy House Salad. It was a refreshing combination of pickled beet, asparagus, bamboo shoot and broccoli soaked in a dressing of karashi mustard. It was crisp and pungent.
Next up on the table was Sushi. We began with Black Rice Salmon Roll. Neat rice layer sprinkled with sesame hid underneath itself fresh salmon. This portion made of organic black rice is an exclusive Guppy creation and is a must try. The tuna roll was also fresh and crunchy and din’t just taste like stale raw sea food filling. The California roll was an interesting mix of cucumber, avocado and crab. The accompanying pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce were a total steal. This was certainly the best sushi I had so far.
I was fast converting.
We also tried two variations of Gyoza (Japanese version of Chinese dumplings!)- Exotic Mushrooms and prawns. I have to say that the filling was good and succulent. But the dumpling layer was a little slimy and sloppy.
The Pork Belly was orgasmic. Glazed with honey and miso sauce, the pork was soaked in juicy and succulent flavours. It smoothly melted in my mouth. This dish definitely gets a thumbs up.
I had heard a lot about Japanese tempura (desi version of pakodas!). So we picked up up the Tiger Prawn Tempura to satiate our senses. Wrapped in a crunchy batter, the prawn was tender and soft. The mayo dip was a perfect accompaniment.
I was looking forward to trying the Chasu Ramen (Japanese home made egg noodles) but was a little disappointed. Maybe the whole soupy noodle with egg, corn, seaweed and pork isn’t my thing.
That’s not all the food we had (yea we do have a big appetite!). The best was yet to come. The garlic fried rice and grilled chicken breast. The sticky rice (ones used to make sushi) had a very different texture to it and the flavour of garlic was an aphrodisiac. Accompanying chicken was dipped in a sweet and tangy sauce of teriyaki orange soy.
Accompanying my meal was Sake (traditional rice wine of Japan). I thought it was little strong and pungent for my taste.
And eating isn’t the only thing we did. Here we show some ai (love) to GUPPY (fish).
Overall, the food was fresh and healthy. There were enough options to choose from. Only thing missing was traditional Japanese desserts. (until the next time). I can proudly say now that I can savour Japanese food.
Overall rating: 4/5
Japanese Food Glossary
Sake, Sushi, Tempura, Gyoza, Ramen
ADDRESS:28, Main Market, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi
Rs. 2500 for two people