All-day Japanese café and bar, Hello Guppy, opened its doors in BKC a few months ago. Pearl Mathias talks about her Asian adventure on a visit to the space
The launch of a friendly neighbourhood restaurant and bar doesn’t pique our interest as much as it used to. But, when we heard of a Japanese café and bar being introduced in the city, we were delighted, and we simply had to head over and check out the space. And, we weren’t disappointed. Everything we had heard about Hello Guppy — from its bright interiors to impressive food and drinks — came true to being on our visit.
From the land of the rising sun
Keeping the exciting aspects of Japanese culture in mind, the décor at Hello Guppy is inspired by the art and literature, centuries-old history and beautiful traditions of the magical country. You’ll also spot a smattering of Manga toys, vintage robots, Japanese transistors, plastic flower lights, wall art and posters, as well as the infamous Pokémon character, Pikachu, exhibited all over the space. We also reminisced about the fun cartoons of our time as we caught glimpses of Pokémon episodes being aired on the television sets at the café. On that note, we began with our meal. And, it’s true when they say that Hello Guppy provides a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
A little sushi, a lot of sake
First off, we were impressed by the 76-page menu at the café. Although we’d prefer a convenient and limited menu that didn’t spoil us for choice, we liked the options that they have, which were easy to choose from, depending on what you’re in the mood for. If you like to begin your meal with a soup, we recommend the Mushroom Suimono (Rs 149), a truffle-scented clear soup with shiitake mushrooms. Their sushi offerings include four pieces to a portion, and they serve three vegetarian varieties as well. We tried the Spicy Salmon Roll (Rs 350), but decided to swap the regular white rice for black sushi rice. We were happy with our healthy switch and relished the delicious salmon in sticky rice.
If you like flat wheat flour noodles, try the Udon noodles here. We decided to try the Chicken Karaage (Rs 499), a dish that also comes in mushroom and prawn variants. It was tossed with vegetables and mushrooms in a tonkatsu and black pepper sauce. We weren’t entirely impressed with this dish, given that we’ve tasted better in the city. But, paired with Grilled Tenderloin (Rs 549), which is cooked in a spicy Japanese sesame sauce, the dish was scrumptious. We’re fans of ramen, so next up, we ordered the Hokkaido Rayu Miso Ramen (Rs 499). The dish included homemade egg noodles served in a spicy miso-flavoured stock, topped with spinach, sweet corn, seaweed and boiled egg. Watching the downpour on the streets of BKC, this warm bowl of goodness was just what we needed. Hello Guppy also serves ramen burgers prepared with their special Guppy ramen bun. There are mushroom, chicken and pork variants that you can indulge in too.
From the several dessert offerings, we decided to try the Chocolate Fondant (Rs 310), which was a hot chocolate cake with a gooey centre, served with cheesecake ice cream and a chocolate-almond crumble. For chocolate lovers, this dessert will prove heavenly, and a lovely end with which to round up your meal.
The bar menu at Hello Guppy has several interesting options. For Guppy’s Sake (Rs 300) is a must-try for vodka drinkers. A blend of sake and vanilla vodka, shaken with freshly muddled lemon, galangal and lemongrass, this delicious drink will take you straight to the streets of Japan. We also tried the Long Island in Tokyo (Rs 450), Guppy’s version of the classic LIIT in which the triple sec is swapped for midori and lemonade. This is the perfect drink to savour through your meal; but know that it is quite a heady concoction. For a true taste of Japan, pick from their list of Guppy sours. We recommend the Midori (Rs 450), which is made with homemade sour mix and burnt foam, if you’re willing to experiment. And, of course, they have a few sake options as well. But, we recommend consulting with the staff to pick one that best suits your taste.
The sun sets on our visit
If you relish Japanese food or want to enjoy a simple Asian meal, Hello Guppy comes highly recommended. With its peppy interiors and delightful cuisine, the space will warm you enough to want to flock back soon. It’s ideal for a date night, a business lunch or even a meal with your family. And, since the monsoon is still on, it’s the perfect time to head over and savour a bowl of piping hot ramen.
Where: Unit 4, Ground Floor, Jet Airways, Godrej Building, Bandra Kurla Complex
Meal for two: Rs 1,500
Alcohol served: Yes (a pint of beer from Rs 120 onwards)