If you follow travel pages on Instagram or if one of your friends is touring in Japan, you may have chanced upon the beautiful pictures of pink cherry blossoms and blooming trees. After long winters, Japan's spring-summer season makes for a very sought-after affair for the Japanese. The Japanese celebrate the blossom, with a yearly festival called 'Hanami'. Guppy is bringing a part of Japan's vibrancy in the capital with its new Hanami-inspired menu. In our interaction with Chef Vikram Khatri, we learned that the festival of Hanami becomes an occasion for people to step out. People are no longer snuggling with their hot one-pot meals; they go out for picnics, indulge in fresh local produce. They tend to use their hands more while eating, drink sake and feast on their cold ramens out in the sun.
We were also told that some parts of Guppy's decor were redone to encapsulate the Hanami vibe. A pleasant burst of pink along with Hanami artwork on the walls and the artfully done courtyard is refreshing indeed.
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Coming to the menu, we started out with the vegetarian sushis. We were served mango and avocado cream cheese roll and garden vegetable sushi roll . The former teases your taste buds due to sheer balance of flavours; the sweetness of fresh mangoes, the rich buttery flavour of avocados, the cream cheese and the rice coating make for a beautiful blend. The garden vegetable sushi roll on the other hand is a treat for those who enjoy fresh greens. Teeming with the goodness of avocado, asparagus, spinach, chukka wakame seaweed and sesame cheese sauce, this sushi is as wholesome as it gets.
Next on our plate were some tuna jalapeno sushi rolls and kari kari sushi, made with yellowtail tartare coated with super crunchy Japanese rice crisps. The deceptively simple looking dishes burst with flavours as soon as you tuck into them and stay with you long after you have left.
Chicken lovers have to try their Sakura wood-smoked chicken wings, grilled on cherry wood imported from Japan. The chicken wings have a very fascinating smoky cherry after-taste. We also tried their crispy prawn pirikara, which were tossed in creamy chilli bean sauce. The kale and water chestnut dumplings also make for an interesting appetiser in the new menu. The filling of this dumpling is a fine blend of veggies that tend to melt-in mouth.
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Sakura wood-smoked chicken wings
We proceeded to the hearty chilled Hiyashi ramen; topped with prawn, crab stick, cucumber, fresh melon and wakame seaweed. The indulgent ramen bowl is a pleasant departure from the hot ramen bowls we are accustomed too. The chilled version is as comforting and wholesome.
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Another interesting dish we tried was the hot stone tenderloin. Slow-cooked tenderloin grilled to perfection on a hot-stone. And the best bit about this dish is that you get to grill your tenderloin yourself, on your own personal hot-stone. The dish is served with spicy sesame sauce, chilli citrus soy and garlic crisps. There, we saw you slurping!
If you are looking for something indulgent, go for the Karashi chicken and bacon casserole. It is sure to please all your meaty oriental cravings. Tender chicken thigh, bacon and seasonal veggies slow-cooked in Japanese Karashi mustard sauce, the casserole is served with steamed rice.
In this eclectically diverse spread, the Hanami-inspired cocktails also find a very special place.We tried the ninja slash. Packed with our summer elements, from soju to fresh kiwi, melons and lime, this cocktail is Guppy's hot-seller. Another interesting cocktail we had was the Kyoto cutie. Gin blended with fresh pomegranate, rosemary and sour mix, this is sure to please all gin lovers.
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We concluded our meal with the raindrop cake. Yes, the same dessert that created ripples last to last year in the world of gourmet food. The classic Japanese vegan dessert is made with water and agar-agar seaweed gel and served with magic pops, roasted soybean powder and palm jaggery syrup. If you have enough time at hand, then do sit and indulge in their Tokyo honey toast. The tall dessert is a popular street-side dessert in Japan. Toasted bread glazed with butter cream and topped with honey, chocolate sauce, matcha, chocolate ice cream, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, wafers and chocolate-honey caramel. This dessert is a little time-consuming, but it is worth your time.
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Where: 28, Main Market, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi
Cost For Two: INR 2,900 for two people