Updated: February 13, 2016 12:14:18 pm
THIS is again one of those happy occasions where we leave out describing the place due to space constraints and jump straight into the food and drink. Suffice to say, the Tokyo Mon Amour Pop-Up at Guppy by ai, in collaboration with Le Bistro du Parc, and conceptualised by Olive’s AD Singh and Naina de Bois Juzan, looks pretty as a festive postcard. The playlist is also impeccable — with everything from MGMT to the Gorillaz played at a volume to encourage conversation rather than block it out.
The three month pop-up in the bar area, Tokyo Mon Amour menu is a dalliance between French and Japanese fares without committing to an actual marriage. Each nation retains its individuality, but the chemistry between them is undeniable.
We begin with the In-house Cold-smoke Salmon with Micro Cress, Dill & Creme Fraiche. Comprising chilled slivers of salmon, smoked with Japanese cherry wood and scattered over with purple salt crystals, the dish is decadent despite its simplicity. Most interestingly, its brininess comes from salt rather than the fish itself. A most contemplative dish, we can see a Japanese philosopher chef meeting it with approval.
While on the topic of approval, we should talk about the cocktails. The Ichigo Punch comes chugging in with a shipment of sochu muddled with fresh strawberry and a berry compote, topped off with sparkling wine while the Wasabi Mimosa spikes the sparkle of the cocktail with the fiery Japanese horseradish. Chin chin.
Up next are the Home-Smoked Brie and the Nicoise Salad-inspired Tuna Tataki. The French cheese, as befits its stature, is attended to by fresh figs and rice crackers under a confetti of greens, while the Tataki is pure indulgence. Arranged like a tipi that would please a Cherokee elder, the salad hybrid comes with all the elements of a Nicoise, reinterpreted into the Japanese. So apart from the artichokes, anchovies, olives and French beans, the egg is a Japanese omelet and its dressed with a wasabi-soy vinaigrette. Magnefique.
The piece de resistance is the Bacon & Cream Cheese Sushi Roll with Black Rice, which is an ode to umami. The purplish-brown cylinders come sliced and stuffed with cream cheese, cucumber, crispy bacon and coated with tossed sesame seed and tempura crisp; our chopstick work has never been sharper or faster, but the reverie we are in after takes a while to shake off.
Indeed the only way we manage to is the Grilled Tenderloin Steak served with a Yaki Onigiri rice ball and finished off with demi-glaze. As befits its name, the steak is tenderer than the heart of a Disney princess, while the rice ball comes crunchy from outside but gives way to a glorious, glutinous mess. Having lost all inhibitions at this point, we just mash up the two and consume them as one.
Meal for Two: Rs 2,500 (including taxes)
Address: 28, Main Market, Lodhi Colony
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