“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
The habit of sheer culinary excellence is predominantly the key to the success of Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. and it’s brands like Pa Pa Ya, Masala Library, etc. The name ‘Pa Pa Ya’ stands for high energy food which is sure to delight all our five senses. After the grand success of this almost two-year old bistro serving Modern Asian cuisine at Palladium mall, Lower Parel, Pa Pa Ya opened another outlet in Colaba recently and my joy knew no bounds!
The restaurant with it’s predominantly bright red decor like that of their Palladium outlet, is divided into upper and lower air conditioned levels. But the massive regular-dodecahedron like structures attached to each other forming a chain to signify molecules and their molecular gastronomy concept of dining that adorned their Palladium outlet giving it a youthful touch, was missing here. The styling of this outlet is rather formal yet elegantly done.
Our meal here began with the Amuse Bouche or palate cleanser comprising of basil infused watermelon cubes immersed into lemongrass and chilly foam that were served in large shells placed in a beautiful platter containing numerous tiny shells at the base.
This was a platter comprising a variety of sushis arranged beautifully over a boat. The Nigiri sushi with pressed rice and a cut of pink and white salmon, tuna and yellow tail on top as well as the Uramaki sushi with the rice layers enveloping Crab sticks and cucumber in the centre with a drop of ginger tamari sauce on top were simply nailed to perfection!
Butayakitori Apple & Betel Leaf Tartare
Skewered and effortlessly melting-in-the-mouth pork belly glazed and char grilled with schimi, mirin and soya to give it a tangy-sweet flavour along with scallions adding a slight crunch to every bite were served with a wonderfully chunky apple and betel leaf tartare sauce that I thoroughly enjoyed having on it’s own.
Grilled Chicken & Avocado Tacos
Crispy thin taco shells made in the house from gyoza sheets were stuffed with a tender and juicy preparation of chicken having an earthy and mildly spicy flavour with a peculiar robustness that I personally liked but can be quite an acquired taste.
Soft Shell Crab Buns
The honey-glazed and squid-ink-infused, fermented lotus flour buns were uber soft and fluffy with a beautiful black colour and stuffed with whole soft shell crab having a crunchy tempura fried exterior. The sriracha tartare sauce further added some moisture as well as a fresh and bold flavour to the sliders and perfectly complemented the flavour and texture of the crab.
Lamb Redang Curry
Braising the lamb shanks for about 12 hours imparted the meat an amazingly tender consistency so that it easily separated off the bone. The zesty, flavourful and thick Indonesian curry revealed a not-too-overpowering flavour of coconut milk that well complemented the robust spices.
This Singaporean crep having a faint coconut-y aroma and a taste and texture similar to that of laccha paratha went very well with the Lamb Redang Curry.
Seabass Udon Pad See Eiu & Thai Spiced Ratatouille
The seabass albeit it’s less quantity, was mildly spiced with a wonderfully golden brown exterior and well retained juicy springiness within. The suppleness and appealingly chewy texture of adequately cooked (not overcooked) udon noodles and the mild, faintly coconut-y yet rich flavour of the Thai Massaman curry was undoubtedly a hit! The hearty Ratatouille served in the centre added some more spice and crispy element to it.
Pla Samrot Gung Mandarin Sour Cream
The tri-flavoured Pla Samrot sauce glaze with a tiny white speck imparted by a drop of sour cream atop, imparted the springy and juicy prawns having a crispy exterior a deliciously sweet-spicy and sour flavour that interestingly paired very well with the sharp earthy and spicy flavour of the pool of green pea and potato based sauce that they rested in. The uber thin and crispy dehydrated pineapple slices leaning against the prawns added a sharp crunch element to the overall dish.
Chicken Gogigui Paozu
The sweetness of the chicken filling and the unappealingly chewy texture of the baozi didn’t quite please my taste buds.
This was a refreshing cocktail (perfect for summers) served in a tea cup comprising of vodka, triple sec, beetroot syrup and lemon ginger tea made in the house. It was served with a dehydrated orange slice with beetroot dust atop.
This white rum, lemongrass syrup and star anise fizz based drink was served with an incense stick by the side that quite effectively masked the relatively mild aroma of star anise in the drink. Sadly, this one didn’t quite please me taste wise.
Roti Sour Mai
This Vodka, lychee, cardamom and Sai Mai based concoction was true to it’s name with it’s sharp sour notes. The son papdi thoughtfully served alongside enabled us to pop in some sweetness right before a sip of this cocktail, promising a sweet-sour mix in the mouth. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite like this one either.
This gin based cocktail comprising of soy milk, chocolate and a tea mix made in the house was clearly the winner amongst all, owing to it’s surprisingly unusual combination of ingredients. It was served with some chocolate alongside to nibble on as we sipped onto this one.
The combination of charcoal infused tequila, chocolate spiced with nutmeg and whipped egg whites with some hollow cylindrical Choco wafers served alongside was yet another stellar a concoction!
This vodka based cocktail also containing raw mango, melon liquor made in the house and a froth created by beaten egg whites injected with drops of bitter had a soothing tangy-sour flavour. It was served with a candy alongside that I didn’t care much about.
This was a mildly spicy, citrusy and refreshing vodka based cocktail flavoured with Japanese ginger and wasabi, that was served to us with a seaweed strip dipped into it.
The combination of vodka, caramelized pineapple and cardamom turned out to be a tropical, citrusy and spicy one. The chamomile foam further imparted an earthy flavour with hints of apple and floral sweetness to the drink.
This concoction comprising of gin, capsicum, coriander, Thai chilli reduction and togarashi had a wonderfully tongue-tickling, savoury and spicy flavour.
This was a vodka, pineapple juice, galangal and orange based drink served in a light bulb like container. Once it was brought to the table, the cap of the container was unscrewed and it was infused with fumes of lemongrass. The resultant concoction had a mildly spicy-citrus flavour.
The service was extremely warm and welcoming. Right from the usher at the entrance to the attendants, managers and the bartending staff; everyone is efficient, kind, polite, cheerful, knowledgeable and have good communication skills. The swiftness and attentiveness of the wait-staff tends to be affected as the restaurant is occupied to it’s full capacity though, as the concept of personalized manager and bartender for every single table like that of their Lower Parel outlet is missing here.
With merely one miss in the food and two misses amongst the ten varieties of cocktails that we tried, Pa Pa Ya once again turned out to be a promising treat indeed! A meal at Pa Pa Ya is not just a meal but an experience that promises delicious and creatively crafted culinary excellence and courteous service in a mesmerizing ambience that one should experience at least once in their lifetime!
Food quality – 4.5/5
Food quantity – 4/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4/5