Checking Out The New All Day Menu At Hello Guppy
It has been a year since Hello Guppy opened its doors to the public in BKC and serving quirky Japanese food in a quirkier setting is what has helped them gain recognition over that time. Hello Guppy brought Japanese cuisine in a fun setting to Bombay, unlike the fine-dining spaces we’ve seen before. I’ve always appreciated the decor at Hello Guppy, it’s a mix of strong colours, icons, props, and you may or may not find a hidden Pikachu smiling at you. When I heard that they had a new all-day café style menu, I was looking forward to trying it out, because it would mean Japanese food that would be taken apart to make it more accessible and casual.
The new menu has been created in collaboration with The Parfait Co. and Koinonia Coffee Roasters, whose products they have used in the dessert and drinks part of this all-day menu. The menu is mostly made up of appetizers, but a few items are on the heavier side.
From the bar-bites style dishes, we went for the Caramelised Popcorn with Crispy Bacon, and the Jenga Cheese Toast with Japanese Kare and Pickled Cucumber. I was expecting something a lot more complex than a basket full of caramel popcorn and fried bacon, but that’s what it essentially was. Though creatively it wasn’t surprising, the popcorn and bacon were actually really tasty. Even the bacon carried a subtle caramel flavour to it that complimented the saltiness from the fat on it.
The Jenga Cheese Toast was a nice stack of long pieces of toast with melted cheese on top. It was served with a Japanese kare and some pickled cucumbers, that elevated the simple cheese toast in terms of flavour and texture. The kare gave the dish an umami depth, and the pickled cucumbers added an acidic crunch.
Their signature Hello Scotch Egg came half-immersed in a gravy that tasted similar to the Japanese kare that came on the side with the cheese toast. The egg was perfectly soft boiled so that the yolk was a little runny, and the minced chicken it was enclosed in was crispy on the outside, and tough enough to contrast the soft egg.
Unpopular opinion alert: I don’t like avocados. Still, I tried their take on an Avocado Toast with Crispy Rice Ball. It did not remotely look like a toast, but was just slices of avocado stacked on top of the rice ball. The rice itself was sticky and retained a mild umami flavour, but the avocado bit didn’t impress me as much as some of the other dishes had.
We had a warm bowl of Crispy Ramen Noodles with Vegetable Ankake Sauce which was a very basic vegetable broth with fried crispy noodles. The deep-fried noodles did nothing for the dish and the broth was a sticky, stodgy sauce with no taste. The flavours were boring, and the dish lacked any real excitement.
I guess Hello Guppy saved our best order for the last: the Chicken Katsu Sandwich with Fries. The Chicken Katsu Sandwich was cut in half and served in a diner-style basket with fat, well-seasoned French fries. Between the slices of bread, was a generous stack of crumb-fried chicken, a fried egg with a slightly runny yolk, sake braised onion, tomatoes, pickles, and some absolutely divine cheese.
Lastly, to try out their collaboration with The Parfait Co. and KC Roasters, we had a Matcha Latte from KC Roasters, and the PBJ Sundae from The Parfait Co. I wanted to have the White Chocolate Matcha Latte from the menu, but it was unavailable. The matcha flavour was extremely strong, so if you haven’t acquired a taste for matcha yet, I wouldn’t recommend it. That is also why I thought the White Chocolate Matcha Latte would have been an easier drink to sip on.
The PBJ Sundae featured a heavenly sweet peanut butter blondie with raspberry jam, topped with a scoop of salted caramel parfait, caramel popcorn and grape jelly. Some might think it’s a notch sweeter than it should be, but my palate leans towards sweeter flavours which is why I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert. It tasted purely sinful, and all the sweet flavours from the caramel and tangy bursts from the jelly came together like magic.
Overall, I found more hits than misses on the all-day menu at Hello Guppy, and would come back for a snack to pair with one of their sake cocktails. Creatively, the food lacks a spark, but most of the things I had tasted nice enough for repeat orders. The Chicken Katsu Sandwich is something I would go back for repeatedly. Even writing this made me crave it with an urgency. I loved the wholesomeness it packed that some of the other dishes lacked, but their nature itself was that of a casual bar-nibble. I like the eclectic vibe of Hello Guppy in general, so I’m sure I’ll be back here soon.