For all those who were writing obituaries of Park Street, much like Churchgate and Connaught place, it all needed 'Zorawar Kalra' to open up Pa Pa Ya to change the face of Park Street. On the 11th floor of Magma House, this place is something which Kolkata has never seen before. Multiple areas like a waiting bar area across the huge wine cellar, the bar area and the dining area are carefully designed, adding much warmth to the place. Not to be missed the 360-degree view of the city, which comes with a view of the iconic bridges of Kolkata at the same time. The PDR is one of the best places to have the power meetings.
Omakase in Kolkata?
This is going to be the acid test for Kolkata as omakase needs certain degree of maturity to enter a place and trust the chef completely to allow him to serve you as per his wish.
Sushi out of a tree?
Their signature dish, 8-pieces of sushi are presented in various layers on a tree with the wasabi, pickled ginger and daikon in the centre. Start with Tuna Urakami Rolls which has a topping of Japanese mayo and tempura dust. The surprise is a Sushi Burger, where a spicy salmon gets sandwiched between two layers of rice. This is a signature dish of Pa Pa Ya. There is also Unagi and Yellowtail too. This is one of the must-have dishes if you are coming to Pa Pa Ya.
You need to tighten your seat belts for lots of surprises and innovations in Dimsums, Sashimis and Nigidis. While there are classics, there is a separate section dedicated to modern Sushi. The interesting part about this restaurant is the wide variety of equally appetizing vegetarian fare in all sections and strangely (for me), some of the vegetarian dishes outshone the non-vegetarian ones. Take, for example, crispy vegetable maki dehydrated spinach. Vegetarian Sushi happens perhaps only in India but this one is par excellence. The spinach on top of the sushi crackles in the mouth giving a unique flavour and texture profile.
I had eaten Crispy Lotus Stems at a lot of places but the ones here were humungous. Thin crisps of large lotus stem deep fried in a sweet and spicy sticky sauce with sesame seeds sprinkled is the best thing to have with your favourite cocktail.
Five dishes which you must-try when you enter Pa Pa Ya for the first time?
Take our pick here - Other than the ones already spoken above,
I have never seen avocado cut into such thin slices. Topped with coriander, jalapenos, dried kelp and yuzu soy, once you put a couple of slices at one go into your mouth, it explodes with a variety of flavours.
Horenso Gomae Roasted Garlic
It is a spinach and sesame seed sauce. But, who knew this could be such a beauty not just to look at but also on the palate. Break the cracker into the sesame paste, stir it all up with your spoon and scoop some spinach with the sesame sauce. The umami from this dish is unbelievable.
The Motherload - Butayakitori.
It is a pork belly imported from Belgium. It comes in a skewer with a soft and juicy celery stalk in between two cubes of the belly. The bellies are soaked in soy, mirin and sichimi giving it a strong sweet salty and sticky effect. Pop one cube in your mouth and it melts away. It comes with a side of apple and betel leaf salad.
The curry flavourful with kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass and the meat falling off the bone. What else do you need? Just a few pieces of prata and scoop it up to reach a different level of ecstasy.
Chorizo Takoyaki, Negi Tare, Parmesan Tuile
It came to the table and started dancing. Yes, they were dancing flakes or commonly known as bonito flakes. It covered a dumpling of grilled octopus and chorizo. Surf and turf at its best, if you are a seafood lover, this is a must try dish.
From Dimsums to Sushi, Sashimi, Soups, Salads, Sliders and even Tapas portions, they have it all. If you can manage to pick one dish from each of the above and still have some space left to explore (which you must), then the main course will baffle you. Beautiful combinations of noodles from Udon to Efu to Pad Thai will bowl you over along with their rice staples and a variety of pan Asian delicacies.
All this gastronomic experience will never be complete without the choicest of spirits in the form of cocktails. You will get your classic cocktails as well as modern and Asian take on them. Some of the interesting ones are Tokyo Summer, Pa Pa Ya Sling, U-Isuki-Sho and more.
The perfect climax to a great meal with many layers. 'Flambé' is once again back in the city. This time in the form of a Chocolate Ball on fire. The flambé is done with Cointreau poured on a ball of chocolate. As the chocolate melts away, the various elements are exposed. There are dry fruits and nuts, chocolate crumbs, chocolate brownie, vanilla ice cream and caramel. When all of these are mixed, they become a perfect marriage of flavours and texture.
Pa Pa Ya opens on the 26th of February 2018.
Address: 11th Floor, Magma House, Park Street, Kolkata
Timings: 06:00 pm to 12:00 pm (for the time being)
For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.