You know you are entering an AD Singh venture when you see absolute attention given to the fine detailing of the ambience, vibrant and peppy décor, and a vibration of positivity and youth combined with fine dining. Guppy by Ai is one such Japanese restaurant that takes you into a kid’s wonderland. The open-air courtyard is a perfect setting to have the after-meal coffee or to enjoy the drinks and finger food with some friends.
Every wall or every corner gives you a different feel and a lot of it comes from Anime (Hand-drawn or computerised Japanese animations). The wonderful art of Origami is also used by designer Anshu Arora.

AI-the Love Hotel which ran successfully at the MGF Metropolitan Mall for about 3-4 years was shut down due to some issues with playing of music ( The District Centre coming up just behind the mall had some restrictions ). Food enthusiasts were disappointed and it took almost a year and half to contemplate the logistics of opening Ai again. With the launch of Guppy by Ai in 2012, the decision of keeping this a stand-alone restaurant was worthwhile. With Japanese cuisine gaining popularity in India, and youth wanting to experiment with their food palates, we saw not only expats but Indians of all generations enjoying their lunch on a Saturday afternoon here.

With a warm welcome from the award-winning (Chef of the year 2014) Vikram Khatri, we were seated comfortable inside near the live-open Sushi counter. The seating is very casual yet comfortable. Chef Vikram, learned and focused, happily chatted with us about the Japanese cuisine and the menu he has designed which helped us increase our knowledge about it better. On his recommendation, we decided to try the Guppy set Lunches. When I was going to Guppy, my mind was biased that Japanese food is all about sushi and raw sea food. But I was amazed to see the vegetarian options available and Chef Vikram told us, that it was particularly introduced keeping the vegetarians ( like me) in mind who happen to be a lot of their regulars. So there started our 5 course meal consisting of soup-salad-sushi-main course and dessert. 

The Miso soup which consists of fermented soy bean paste soup in dashi ( a fish stock made from edible sea kelp and fermented tuna ) was comforting. The pieces of tofu and spring onions added to the taste and though it was not spicy, creamy or tangy ( as soups normally are ), I enjoyed the flavours till the last sip. To go alongwith, we were given fresh salad mainly consisting of greens in wafu dressing.
 On asking details about the dressing, the friendly staff promptly replied it as a Japanese style typical dressing with rice vinegar, soy sauce and vegetable oil. Then we had the Chef himself make Sushi at the open counter next to our table and present it to us. Maneesh’s was the non-vegetarian sushi of the day and mine was the Japanese vegetable roll with Yamagabo (Pickled Burdock root) and asparagus. The Sushi was so perfectly crisp on the outside with the black and white sesame seeds and the fillings inside were so soft and tender, that we actually finished all the 4 pieces served to us.

The ginger slice pickle and extra wasabi served on the side is worth a mention. Try it to add a completely different zing to your taste buds. In the main course, I was served the Teriyaki glazed artichoke and tofu set and Maneesh was served the Grilled Jumbo Prawn set. The presentation of both was marvellous and we literally felt like we had tasted the food through our eyes. We enjoyed it thouroughly with the subtle Garlic Fried Rice and the Ra-yu flat noodles tossed with exotic mushrooms and tonkatsu sauce (fruit-based sauce).
Maneesh was served a tasting portion of the Tenderloin Cube steak (which was a little sweet due to honey-based sauce) and the Guppy Signature Pork belly. And Maneesh’s words were, “This is the best I have ever tasted so far… soft and literally melting in the mouth. Now I know why everyone talks about the pork belly at Guppy”. And though the food was light and healthy, we were full. Just to greet us goodbye with a sweet tooth, the mini-desserts arrived. White chocolate, red velvet cake and Fruit brulee – Cubed kiwi, mango and half of the red grape glazed with sugar lightly grilled on a charcoal gave a nice burnt yet sweet flavour.

The experience ended with a nice chat with the Chef over a cup of black coffee and green tea in the courtyard. And we came out with happy smiling faces and satisfied stomach. An afternoon well spent, and though Japanese cuisine is supposedly expensive due to a lot of ingredients being flown in from Japan, this set lunch was true value for money, depending on which main course you order. So head to Guppy by Ai if your taste buds are craving for some Japanese tabemono (food)!!

Guppy by Ai
Meal for two – Rs 2500 (approx)
Address:28, Main market, Lodhi colony, New Delhi
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