Pa Pa Ya, it’s so much more than a modern bistro, it’s an Experience with a capital E. When we go out to dine, we don’t just look for food, though food is of course a priority, but what we also want is balanced drinks, courteous staff, and great atmosphere. At the end it’s the total experience that you want to be able to cherish. That is exactly what I found at Pa Pa Ya, the modern Asian bistro & tapas bar, at Palladium Mall, Lower Parel.
Warm, wine-red walls highlighted installations of what appeared to be a honeycomb, but I later learnt that the 3D metal hexagons were constructs of molecules – a direct reference to the main cooking style at Pa Pa Ya: molecular gastronomy. It was a happy contrast of vintage meets Sci-Fi, and promises a different perspective with every visit. And it takes your entire dining experience to another level.
We were welcomed with the perfect amuse bouche for this sultry Mumbai heat: compressed watermelon hidden in a lemon and chilli foam, over a bowl bubbling with liquid nitrogen. Very dramatic, very refreshing, and a hint of what was to come!
We began with their signature mocktail, Spicy Delight, a beautiful blend of guava and orange juice, Japanese togarashi spice with a hint of chilli that instantly lifted it. I strongly recommend it!
The Papaya was a mocktail of orange chunks muddled with kaffir lime, a splash of rose berry syrup and orange juice. The kaffir lime made for a tasty twist – again, do try it.
Grilled Chicken and Avocado Tacos: Served on a custom-made wooden platter that keeps the Taco upright and focused, the crispy Taco shells were stuffed with Asian-style grilled chicken with a lovely homemade relish.
Har Gao Prawn Curry Farce Dimsum: Served on a bed of flavorful green Thai curry sauce, the translucent Dimsum was shaped to resemble the dish in which it arrived, a seashell nestled inside a seashell, a perfect example of thoughtful plating. This was really tasty too.
The Sichuan Style Crispy Prawns: Wok-tossed in sweet, sour and spicy sauce, the large, juicy prawns sat on a bed of mildly flavoured yet aromatic green tea-chilly flavoured curry, with a dollop of mandarin cream, and garnished with dehydrated watermelon. Order only if you’re a fan of seriously spicy food.
Scallop Nigiri Sushi: This classic Nigiri combined a bottom layer of sushi rice with slices of the freshest scallops on top, served traditionally with Shoyu, Wasabi and Gari (pickled ginger).
Lamb with Mandarin Been Hun Dimsum: Translucent Dimsum stuffed with mandarin flavoured lamb on a bed of spicy black bean sauce. The shredded lamb was cooked to perfection, and the black bean sauce just elevated it.
Layered Sushi Pizza: With a corn tortilla base, a layer of compressed Sushi rice, topped with Gazpacho salmon, dressed with spicy mayonnaise. If you’re new to Sushi and worried about the idea of eating raw fish, then this is the best way to start, because the mayonnaise obscures the taste of raw salmon.
Liquid Matcha and Hazelnut Fondant Cake with White Peppercorn Quenelle: Hazelnut Fondant oozed chocolate lava, a dense, luxurious mouthful relieved by the freshest Blueberry sorbet, which was placed on a bed of lightly crumbed hazelnut to follow through. Dusted with Matcha, the cake itself resembled a little boat, with the tuilles in the shape of a mast and sail soaring above. Assorted strawberry, blueberry and lingon berry added tartness. Try it to believe it.
Aerated Matcha Chocolate Mousse: Jack Daniel-flavoured chocolate mousse, with a Matcha crème anglaise, piped around coffee cream bell, sugar-coated nuts and cookie crumbs, liberally sprinkled with Matcha, and offset with fresh berries. My friend just loved the silky, smooth and creamy dessert.
Chef Arjun Singh is the most humble chef I have ever met, with more than 25 years under his belt, this quiet, unassuming genius must have made an equally strong impression at the Habitat Centre, where he was previously.
Assistant Restaurant Manager, Vaidyanathan Reddiar, is so much more than a manager. His passion for food shone bright with detailed descriptions and recommendations. It sparks interest and entices you to experiment with flavours you might not have tried before. If you’re unsure of what to order, just leave it to him, because you’re in safe hands.
Pa Pa Ya, from the house of Massive Restaurants and under the helm of Zorawar Kalra and Jiggs Kalra has taken elements of molecular gastronomy and modern Pan Asian cuisine to another level. Pa Pa Ya reinvents Asian cuisine completely and provides you a completely different sensory experience, through its drinks, food, service and space.
For more details or reservations:
Level 3, Palladium Mall
Senapati Bapat Marg
Lower Parel, Mumbai
Contact: +91 8828031900