Curiosity Whets Your Appetite at the Hello Guppy Hanami Menu

Anyone up for picnicking under cherry blossoms trees?

Jahnabee Borah

It started two years ago, when Japan’s raindrop cake seemed like the biggest food discovery on the Internet. Although the buzz has waned, our curiosity has not. So, when we heard that Hello Guppy was serving the rain drop cake as part of its new weekend brunch menu inspired by the Hanami tradition of Japan, we almost bolted towards BKC. The only catch was, we had to reign in our impatience and wait for dessert. 

Picture this: It’s the cherry blossom season in Japan and while the trees are bursting with pink blooms, you find yourself picnicking and digging into a bento box with a bottle of sake. Hanami, translated as  flower viewing in Japanese, brings people out of their homes to roll out their picnic mats and soak in the cherry blossoms, or sakura flowers while snacking on sushi, onigiri, takoyaki and mochis.

Raindrop cake at Hello Guppy

Hello Guppy recreated this experience by welcoming us with a picnic basket filled with sakura-inspired mementos - origami papers, paper straws and a menu that made us long for a trip to Japan. 

What’s good

The meal was off to a good start with Sake Shrubs and Tonic in two variants – Ume & Citrus and Rose & Cucumber. Although we were hungry, an empty stomach didn’t stop us from appreciating them. The herby flavours enhanced the sake and they’ve been put on our list of must-try cocktails. 

L-R: Vodka woth Mango Tea Sour Mix and Egg White Foam, Cherry Compote with Jaggery Sours and a float of delice, Sake Shrub with Tonic

The soups arrived next – Chilled Watermelon and Mushroom Suimono. Both vegetarian, one sip of the clear Mushroom soup and my partner, who recently visited the land of cherry blossoms, explained, “This feels like I am back in Japan.” Yes, the umami flavours hit the right notes setting the mood for the next course. 

Two platters of five different cold appetisers were promptly put on the table. Each item was placed so artistically on a pretty clay plate that we had to eat with our eyes first. They quickly disappeared before we realised that no photographs were taken. The creamy potato salad, fresh beans coated with sesame sauce, melt-in-the-mouth tofu sashimi, the mildly sweet Japanese omelette Tamagoyaki and a paper-thin tuna slice with salad called Tuna Tataki held our attention completely and we did not once look at our phones. 

Tuna Tataki

A typical Hanami menu is non-messy and filled with small bites. This means there were dumplings, steamed buns, grills, sushi and Japanese pancakes. Thumbs-up to the unlimited serving of this good stuff that you can nibble on with sake cocktails. 

What’s not

Things started looking down when the tempura arrived – babycorn for vegetarians and fish for non-vegetarians. The menu mentioned served ‘with garlic chips’ which were missing and salt was noticeably absent from both the items. The soy sauce on the table came to our rescue. 

On the other hand, the grills - sweet potato, cottage cheese, mushrooms, chicken and fish - were tender but doused in a sweet sauce. A tad too sweet!

The Japanese Curries - Exotic Vegetable and Chicken - were thickened with cornflour and we wondered if the kitchen wasn’t yet ready for this elaborate brunch. The udon noodles and sticky rice tossed with garlic somewhat redeemed the curries.         

The dessert platter is a mélange of sweet somethings - from a small pineapple upside down cake, chocolate fondant, vanilla icecream garnished with sesame and fruit yakitori. Yakitori is basically grilled skewered meat pieces. The fruit version meant, each piece will be mildly grilled, or so we assumed. But, what appeared were fresh fruit pieces drizzled with a sweet syrup and some sesame seeds for an added texture. 

As for the rain drop cake, alas it was not mentioned on the menu that weekend!    

Sweet Potato Teriyaki Skewers

Prices without taxes:

Brunch with unlimited food INR 1299
Brunch with unlimited food and alcohol INR 2299


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