Japanese Shokuji @ Guppy by ai: Bloggers' Table

My life of blogging has spoiled me. Spoiled me rotten. I'm enjoying fests and world cuisine almost every week. The one week that I don't have anything scheduled, I feel bored out of my mind and begin to re-imagine the delicious foods I had the last week. What did I have last week you ask?

Oh you'll love this. We met at Guppy by ai, the newest Japanese place in Delhi. Well, it's not really new. But it's totally reinvented, now at Lodhi Road. The place is all about colours, fun, anime, Japan and a wonderland. There was the sweetest lighting fixtures, like one that was a upended wok. Yes, a upended wok. There was one bird cage, strung with blue lights, creating a strangely imaginary environment. But my most favourite was a chandelier, that resembled the dry leaves of a caped gooseberry. There were kakeshi dolls, vintage cameras, crazy prints on the walls and made us smile! See, take a look for yourself!

We met up with the chefs in charge of Guppy, Chef Vikram Khatri and Chef Vaibhav Bhargava, who very kindly decided to order for us, a tasting menu, that would showcase Guppy to us. We started with an amuse-bouche of Tomato and Jasmine Tea, topped with a Prawn Cracker with Pickled Veggies in a Goma Dressing and Furikake, a lovely Japanese seasoning. Sushmita, a resident vegetarian blogger, got the same, but with a Sesame Cracker. I loved the Tea in a small ceramic shot glass. It was hot, flowery from the Jasmine and reminiscent of a very juicy tomato. Just perfect to whet up an appetite. Which was good, because we had a veritable exercise ahead of us!

Oh and on the side, we had a bowl of Edamame, spiced with flaky Sea-Salt, Chilli and Garlic. I am now an addict of this beautiful thing. Buttery, sweet and tender edamame, in the pod, tossed with chilli, garlic and sea salt. It was spicy, but not hot. It was intensely garlicky. And insanely addictive. I could have made a meal out of this alone! I will try to make this at home. I promise you.

We moved on to the Guppy House Salad, which was vegetables, palm hearts, bamboo shoots and slices of beets dressed in a Karashi Mustard dressing. It was fresh, superbly crunchy and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients.

Next up: The Chirashi Seafood Salad. This is an assortment of greens, with pickled prawns, crabs, and chunks of fresh red tuna and pink salmon in a Goma-ae dressing. Now you guys know, I cannot bring myself to scarf down uncooked fish. Nachiketa was happy to assist me with that! You know there are somethings, which when you eat a forkful of it, intense taste is what hits you? This was it. Secondly, there was no fishy taste, which is what affects me. And for this, I was happy! And thirdly, there was the surprise element of roe! Roe popped in my mouth the same way mustard seeds or sesame seeds pop. It was the sweetest and funnest sensation!

Next up? The Gyozas or Pot-Stickers. We got Prawns Gyozas, served with Chilli-Ponzu Sauce. The Prawns were soft, yet crunchy and the Gyoza covering was perfect: not too thin, not too thick. Loved it. But the surprise was with the Exotic Mushroom Gyozas. Chefs had made this a gluten free versions, with Wheat Starch as the gyoza covering. Brilliance, or what?! I love how the gyozas have a crisp bottom, but is absolutely Melt. In. The. Mouth. You could taste the woody, meatiness of the mushrooms, and I adored these babies!

We then had the Vegetable Harumaki, crispy flaky phyllo rolls encasing a vegetable stuffing. Loved these for the taste, but were nothing special. We also had the Rice Paper Vegetable Rolls, that was served with a yuzu-sesame sauce. Fresh, cool, crunchy and yum!

We then had this yummy, albeit super oily Agedashi Tofu, which was chunks of silken tofu, speared on a satay stick, fried and served with THE most interesting dressing. It had cucumber, finely sliced onion greens, chilli, lime and tomatoes, at least as far as I could taste! Alongside this, we had a Spicy Salmon Roll. I let this one pass, but was told that it was lovely.

Oh and we also feasted on the crunchy, crispy and fresh Asparagus Tempura Rolls. I loved all the components of this piece. The asparagus spears tempura fried crispy. The sushi rice round and sticky. A spicy mayo. Ah, that was heavenly.

Next, there was the Signature Pork Belly, which was slow-braise Belgium pork belly, glazed with soy-honey and served with mustard-miso sauce. The pork was falling off its satay stick, the sauce all sticky and sweet and NOT oozing fat. It had a splatter of sesame seeds on it, that gave it a nutty vibe. It was delicious!

For the mains, we were in for a treat. What we got next was the star of the entire dinner, and possibly the whole menu. It was a filet of Guppy Signature Black Cod, skin-side up, in a miso marination. On a large, round, very hot, stone. Yep, you heard me right. This hot stone baked the soft layers of the fish in a flash, but in the process also sealed the marination tight. What happened thanks to that was, the moisture and fat of the fish got sealed in, making it soft, flavourful and perfectly flaky. And the skin! Crispy, blackened and heavenly! Take a look!

Oh no, I'm not done yet. Along with this, we had a Teriyaki Glazed Artichoke and Tofu. The artichoke had its tanginess intact and the tofu, while a bit stiff (and spongy) was very flavourful. This was served alongside a Garlic Fried Rice.

By this time, we were sipping copious amounts of green tea to help settle things. Not that it helped, because we soon had our dessert platters at the table. We had a Yuzu Lemon Cheesecake with a Kaffir Lime Glaze and a Classic Carrot Cake. The cheesecake, though it had the pop of fresh lemon, was a bit too dense. The carrot cake on the other hand was divine. Warm, mildly sweet, with a beautiful cream cheese frosting. I saved it for my last bite!

We were full to our gills by this time. But were our amazing chefs done with us? Oh no! We were given two lovely plates of Petit Fours. One contained Nutty Clusters of chocolates. The other one had cute pyramids of chocolates, that strongly suggested a liquor filling, and these amazing balls of Red Velvet cake. So amazing!

And finally, we were done. The staff, always smiling, always helpful, and so attentive to individual dietary concerns. The chefs, now friends. The decor, something I'd love to replicate. And the food? Something I didn't expect in a million years, and something I will never forget! Please visit, and preferably in the day time. Guppy by ai is a DELIGHT! Look, here's us with the amazing chefs :)

Photo courtesy Sushmita Sarkar

Till the next time!


  1. Nicely written Aishwarya!! Sad to have missed the good food!!

    1. Hey Mukta! We missed you so much that day! And yes, you really did miss the food :)


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