How Japanese is a vegetarian friendly cuisine: Guppy Pop-up at Olive, Mumbai

When a restaurant is snuggled in the cozily gorgeous Olive at Mahalaxmi, you expect no wrong can be done with the ambiance. I walked in to this subtly-lit restaurant, laced with Japanese references in the decor, maintaining a stoic face just to hide my embarrassment, as I have reviewed restaurants in Delhi for 2 years, and hadn’t been to their original establishment, Guppy by Ai at Meherchand Market, even once.

Keeping it completely Japanese, there are glazed papers at your tables, with origami instructions of folding them into a heart, along with an edible table lamp (yes). 

Romantic, completely in sync with the ambiance, we caught a couple on the next table who seemed to be on their first date.

Sighing, I sipped on some Sangria and wondered what vegetarian food I could eat, but a note by AD Singh, the restaurant’s owner, on every menu was all I needed to be convinced about the vegetarian inclusions in the menu. We sat inside, but can only wonder how wonderful would the al fresco space be during winters. The restaurants boasts of live a sushi and salad bar, along with a live tempura station, since it’s not Japanese unless you hear some live action behind the counters. 

The ambiance is comfortably romantic and relaxed, with cozy sofas and curtains, to give you a secluded feel in a public space.

Trust a Delhi-based chain to have a dedicated liqueur spread, as the restaurant houses some of the choicest wines and signature cocktails in an equally exhaustive bar menu. 

There’s something about authenticity which I don’t understand and have stopped expecting from restaurants which serve international cuisines all over the world. If you can’t even get the very own butter chicken to taste the same in Mumbai, like the way it does in Chandigarh, don’t expect 100 percent authenticity when chefs are preparing international cuisines with Indian ingredients. I am sure most of the ingredients are imported, but everything, right from some salt to the water you use can make a difference, slightly twisting the taste. Guppy is an all-and-all Japanese place, but since you have to be based in India, especially in the vegetarian dominated Worli, you can expect some play with flavours here and there.

Here are recommended must-haves

Jumbo Grilled Prawns
Prawn Tempura
Mushroom Suimono and Miso Soup
Spicy Tenderloin 
Vegetable Harumaki
Udon Noodles with Mushroom and Seasonal Vegetables
Chocolate fondant

Why Guppy- Firstly, the place is beautiful. Secondly, it’s great for vegetarians, as 50 percent dishes on the menu are vegetarian. Thirdly, people who want to safely start their Japanese food sojourn, can safely head here. Fourthly, not too sure if I will be in trouble for writing this, but I saw Aditya Thackery on a friend’s birthday bash here, so here's legit proof that my preference resonates with Bombay’s (sorry Mumbai's) influential too!

Text: Avni Mehrotra; pictures- Afsha Khalfay


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