In the kitchen with Guppy by ai

We’ve been fans of Guppy by ai since it opened. If our name weren’t indicative enough, we’ve got a soft spot for all things related to the coast, and Guppy’s delightful dabbling with seafood and super-fresh produce are exactly the sort of things we love, and the reason we’re regulars at this playful Nipponese eatery in Delhi’s Lodhi Market.

The décor is playful and laidback, with tomato red-lacquered windows, suspended paper mâché heads, a shelf of books ready to be dipped into, and dip-dyed chairs at blonde wood tables.

The man at the helm of this AD Singh-run restaurant is Vikram Khatri, a chef with a long-standing reputation for authenticity and excellence who’s won innumerable awards, and is likely as big a draw as the restaurant itself. What to expect? Clean, healthy dishes with bold, true flavours that demonstrate talent and technique in equal measure.
We caught up with the Chef a few weekends ago to talk comfort food, crocodiles, and culinary disasters.What's your idea of a perfect meal?
A perfect meal should include more nutrient-dense foods ​in the bowl. This means choosing whole grains instead of refined grains and low-fat protein and dairy instead of full-fat. Choose seafood or vegetarian-protein sources such as legumes for some meals, as these contain high levels of vitamins and minerals but very little fat. Vary the colors of fruits and vegetables, as different colors indicate the presence of different nutrients. Eat more foods containing vitamins A and C, fiber, protein, calcium, iron, niacin etc.

The one taste you couldn’t live without?

A favourite cookbook?

What's your go-to comfort food?
Daal chawal, baingan bhartha.

What do you cook on your days off?

What are your biggest food influences?
Travel, seasonal ingredients.

What's the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Crocodile tail.

What was your biggest culinary disaster?
Probably the time I couldn’t make a birthday cake in time for a VIP host.

And the best piece of advice you ever received:
From Chef Morimoto: “Keep your basics right for a strong foundation.”

Chef Vikram made us a day’s worth of bowl foods (probably the nicest day ever). For more on those click here, and to learn how to assemble a salmon sashimi bowl at home, go here.