‘Jiggs Kalra’ – the name itself gets your expectations growing! Also known as the ‘Czar of the Indian cuisine’ and ‘The tastemaker of the Nation’,he played a pioneering role in introducing the Indian cuisine to the world. He’s the first Asian to be inducted in the International Food and Beverage Gourmet Hall of Fame and has won numerous national and international awards in his career spanning over five decades.
Pa Pa Ya is yet another brainchild of his brilliant and innovative son Zoravar Kalra, under the mentorship of Jiggs Kalra after the very similar yet very renown concept of dining at Masala Library, which is worth all the praises!
You might think Pa pa ya derives it’s name from the fruit bearing a similar name, but it doesn’t. Pa pa ya stands for ‘high energy food’ in Japan which delights all your five senses!
This place is a complete treat to the eyes! As you enter in, there is a bar on your left, the main counter in front of you besides the kitchen and the dining area that begins from near the bar and extends to your right. The brick red coloured walls around the dining area have massive regular-dodecahedron shaped structures attached to them and each other like a chain in large numbers to signify molecules and their molecular gastronomy concept of dining! The area behind the bar has similar structured shelves hosting a variety of bottles of liquor. The area behind the main counter and besides the kitchen door has miniature regular-dodecahedrons projected with different coloured lights from time to time. The music collection is great! Though the place might get a bit noisy when it gets full. The bright red coloured chairs are very comfortable and the wooden tables consist of a well arranged rectangular plate with a small rectangular side tray for your sauces, a clean white towel, chopsticks and a small colourful tutorial on how to easy sushis the right way.
We were greeted with a palate cleanser Amuse bouche before beginning with the appetizers and another one named Wasabi and Youzou sorbet before starting with the main course! The purpose of the palate cleansers is to cleanse our palate and ensure that we enjoy and acknowledge each and every flavour of every dish served to us. Very thoughtful indeed!
For drinks, we ordered a Tokyo summer and a Lighthouse.
For starters, we ordered Roasted aubergine demerara goutie dimsums and Har cao green curry prawn farce.
They had some items listed on the menu as small portions, similar to starters but not really starters and we ordered Chorizo takoyaki, grilled chicken tacos, corn and scallions tacos and the Sushi matrix amongst them.
For the main course we had Yellow curry, Steamed rice and Shanghainese styled pork belly.
After eating so much, we honestly had very minimal space left for desserts. Yet we ordered, their signature dessert- Chocolate ball on fire.
Coming to the food and beverages that we consumed:
Amuse bouche palate cleanser – 5/5
It consisted of Basil infused cube of watermelon immersed into Lemon grass and chilly foam served in large shells placed in a dish containing numerous tiny shells below. The arrangement itself looked so beautiful and appealing!
Tokyo summer – 5/5
It was a vodka based cocktail flavoured with the Japanese ginger, wasabi and a sea weed strip dipped into it to add to it’s flavours. Spicy, chilled and absolutely refreshing!
Lighthouse – 4.5/5
Yet another vodka based cocktail consisting of pineapple juice served in a light bulb like container. Once it was brought to the table, the cap of the container was unscrewed and was infused with the flavour of lemongrass. Amazingly refreshing with not too much of lemongrass overpowering the drink!
Roasted aubergine, demerara goutie dimsums- 5/5
Pan seared roasted Aubergine dimsums garnished with micro greens and bead-like molecules made of Cantonese chilli. Yummy!
Har cao green curry prawn farce- 5/5
Translucent dimsums stuffed with well cooked prawn meat and Thai green curry served in a large sea shell shaped plate with a little coconut based curry gravy. Simply delicious!
Chorizo takoyaki – 5/5
Tempura fried balls made of prawns and pork meat, absolutely soft when you try to cut into them and served with bonito flakes which were paper thin and crispy and flickered or appeared like they were dancing when served with hot chorizo balls. So delicious, it simply blew my mind!
Chicken and beer battered avocados tacos – 5/5
Crispy thin taco shells made in the house stuffed with well cooked and tender boneless chicken meat and beer battered avocados and mozzarella cheese. Simply lip smacking delicious!
Corn and scallions kimchi tacos – 5/5 Crispy thin taco shells made in the house stuffed with crispy avocado, corn and scallions kimchi and grated mozzarella cheese. Delicious! What I liked the most about the tacos served here is that the shells were crispy and thin whereas in most other places the shells are thicker and get soggy with time.
Sushi matrix- 5/5
Excellence is what I would call it! A wooden matrix containing a mixture of veg and nonveg bite sized sushi preparations consisting of Asparagus, green peas, prawns, fish, squid served with soya sauce made in the house and wasabi.
Wasabi and Youzou sorbet palate cleanser – 5/5
As the name suggests, it was a foam of wasabi and another Japanese ingredient Youzou served in tiny bowls placed into a cute looking basket with spoons to cleanse our palate before we began eating the main course.
Yellow curry- 5/5
Turmeric flavoured Thai curry served with grilled vegetable patties which were crispy on the outside and melted in the mouth once I took a bite. The Thai curry was simply perfect imparting the flavours of the ingredients perfectly without the over dominance of lemongrass.
Steamed rice- 4.5/5
We ordered the steamed rice to have with the yellow curry and the Shanghainese pork. It was very well cooked and served in a very pretty looking bowl. The portion size is good and enough for three people.
Shanghainese styled pork belly- 5/5
Double cooked pork which tasted sweet at times and spicy the other, served with a crispy lavash bread made in the house in the shape of a huge circular strip.
Chocolate ball on fire – 5/5
A huge ball with an outer layer made of chocolate which is made to melt by pouring a mixture some rum and another liquor set on fire to reveal a delicious surprise! It consists of a huge layered dessert inside with vanilla and chocolate once cream topped with cream cheese and served with crunchy nuts, granula and garnished with sliced strawberries and black grapes.
The service just gets you awe struck. It is incomparable to the service elsewhere. Right from the usher at the entrance, the waiting staff, the bartending staff and the managers all are very efficient indeed! It’s clearly evident that each one of them is well informed about the recipes they serve and give you good suggestions. They are also up for any valuable suggestions and feedback.
Value for money –
A meal for two without alcohol can cost up to 2500-3000 INR. It seems a little expensive but trust me, for the incomparable service and the not just innovative and creative but also the lip smacking delicious food, it is all worth it! One hell of a fine dining experience it is!
Food quality – 5/5
Food quantity – 4.5/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Service – 5/5
Value for money – 4/5
Molecular gastronomy at it’s best? Hell ya! No doubt about that! Keep it up Pa pa ya!