Review: The Hanami inspired Spring-Summer’15 menu at Guppy Pop Up, Olive Mahalaxmi

“In the cherry blossom’s shade there’s no such thing as a stranger” a beautiful line penned by Japanese poet, Kobayashi Issa. We experienced similar warm vibes and conversations in Mumbai, while relishing the summer menu at the Guppy Pop Up at Olive, inspired by the Cherry Blossom Festival. One of Japan’s oldest custom also called as Hanami celebrates the blossoming of cherry trees and arrival of spring.

What you see-
Walk down a white-pebbled courtyard that doubles up as an al-fresco area with neatly laid out comfortable seating sprinkled with potted plants and interesting ceramics. We chose a sofa seating in the stylish and air-conditioned interiors to escape Mumbai heat. A few tables on the opposite side are by arched windows that overlook the stables. The table setting is cozy with an edible candle stand (yes, you heard that right) made with sugar, butter and cream, table mats with origami instructions and knick-knacks. 

The table setting at the Guppy Pop up.

The colorful cushions with Japanese prints that adorn the sofas add color to white upholstery. A bartender is busy mixing cocktails at the corner bar and a DJ plays soothing house music to set the tone for a relaxed evening.


What you get-
The Hanami inspired menu by Chef Vikram Khatri uses fresh seasonal produce like Tokasa Seaweed, Kabocha, Yellowtail, Angel-hair Somen Noodles and Water Chestnut to create dishes that put health, lifestyle and well-being into focus. The bar menu includes Japanese sake based cocktails like Cucumber Saketini, Saketini and Kafferini- try anyone and enjoy the buzz.



We started with “Sakura Wood Smoked Pumpkin Soup”- we loved the taste of smoked pumpkin that lingered on our taste buds and pumpkin seeds added the crunch. 

Sakura Wood Smoked Pumpkin Soup- with a lingering aftertaste.

Next came the “Seaweed and Mesclun Salad”- made with fresh seaweed, baby greens and drizzled with plum vinaigrette this was devoured in no time.

Seaweed and Mesclun Salad- with plum vinaigrette dressing.

From the small plates section we tried gluten-free “Exotic Mushroom Gyoza” steamed crisp pot stickers and “Prawn Gyoza”–pan fried and made with black tiger prawn, both served with chili ponzu soy sauce, both tasty and could double as finger food. 

The star dish- “Salmon Tartare”-beautifully presented on cucumber slivers and made with Sashimi salmon is lent texture by fresh avocado bits and a burst of flavor with bonito mayo. Wicked Spoon Confessions recommends it as a must try. 

Salmon Tartare- Sashimi salmon with avocado and young mustard.

The “Cold Smoke Kampachi Sashimi”- served in stone pots and made with cured yellowtail (a seasonal fish) served with yuzu kosho (Japanese seasoning) was delectable. 

Cold Smoke Kampachi Sashimi served in stone pot.

How can we not have sushi? The “Futomaki Sushi Roll” had six large sushi rolls made with salmon, tuna and crab and crunchy fresh vegetable bits- another must try.

The Futomaki Sushi Roll with salmon, tuna and crab bits.

For the main course we tried the Chicken katsu curry rice- Panko fried chicken leg served with smooth Japanese curry and steam rice- simple food for the soul.

From the dessert section we tasted Mango liquorice with coconut sorbet- fresh mango slices sprinkled with five-pepper sansho dust and coconut sorbet. Scoop a mouthful of the sorbet if the spice of the sansho dust tingles- a beautiful play of sweet and spicy flavours. 

Mango liquorice with coconut sorbet- a sweet and spicy dessert.

The Warm Apple and prune pie- Cinnamon flavored apple and prune pie served with warm berry coulis left out tummy in a happy state.


Warm Apple and prune pie


Verdict- 
The menu at Guppy surprises with delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes with fresh and bold flavours and shatters a common myth that Japanese Food is just about raw seafood. Just like the pink and white blooms signal the arrival of spring, the menu designed by Chef Vikram Khatri reminds you of spring and sunshine with its light dishes. One finds a bit of experimentation with textures and temperatures in various dishes. Available for both lunch and dinner, the menu invites us to dig in…..and that’s what we did J.


Where:
Olive,
Amateur Riders Club,
Gate 5,
Mahalaxmi Racecourse,
Khadye Marg,
Near ICICI Bank.

Phone# 22 40559595


What You Pay For a Meal for Two- INR 5000/- plus taxes.

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