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PA PA YA

When I received an invitation to check out the new Sushi menu at Pa Pa Ya, I was delighted because I love Japanese cuisine, and here, the cocktails and cuisine is created and presented as culinary art. A little about the modern Asian bistro though — conceived by The House of Massive Restaurants spearheaded by Zoravar Kalra, the restaurateur does to Pan Asian cuisine what he has successfully done with Indian food i.e. here, the chefs whip up a palette of dishes with layered textures and molecular gastronomy that take us beyond the familiar and traditional! So, when I heard Chef Sahil Singh, Corporate Chef, Massive Restaurants had curated a menu with forty-five sushi variations[!] including the complex Nigaki — I knew it was a lucky throw of the dice for discerning diners — and booked a table for luncheon.

 

Perusing the menu, I was awed by the sheer variety and diversity of sushi. Inquiring about preferences, the chefs helped strategize my luncheon order and I settled down with their signature cocktail 'The Curo' — a charcoal-infused tequila-base cocktail, blended with in-house chocolate nutmeg, garnished with edible silver foil. Combined with trippy music, the potent cocktail put me in a good mood! Then, luncheon began with amuse bouche — basil-compressed watermelon with soya foam, on a bed of dry ice. It was the perfect palate cleanser. Shortly, the chef sent out platters of sumptuous sushi… up first was the Instagram-worthy 'Carbon Sushi Roll': crab-stick, cucumber and avocado wrapped in activated carbon rice maki infused with squid ink. Each bite was an explosion of flavour and texture, when dabbed with wasabi and dipped in Soya sauce… the visual appeal and the fresh flavours make it a must-have! Up next was chef's favourite, 'Spicy Avocado Roll'. With its creamy texture, the rice paper rolls with seasoned spiced avocado spread just melted in the mouth and the gleam in my eyes said it all!

 

Then came the one I was most curious about: 'Sushi Burger Salmon Wasabi Aioli'. Resembling a miniature burger, the two layers of rice packed with spiced salmon filling was held in place with a sliver of nori. The chef has this one down to a science — it was plump, juicy and spicy. The flavours were traditional yet the presentation was quirky! Hmm don’t miss it when you visit! Sitting back with the cocktail, and loving the trippy music, I must mention here that the credit of enjoying the luncheon [modern Japanese was alien to me until this afternoon] goes to the chefs who went out of their way to make me feel relaxed and explained the character of each dish. And, just when I thought I had maxed my palate, the star of the meal arrived, 'Nigaki California Roll' — a hybrid of Nigiri and Maki. Packed with charred corn, avocado, tanuki and spicy mayo. If you're a vegetarian this would be a brilliant choice!

 

Reminiscing about my experience, I can perceive why Pa Pa Ya has quickly become a favourite pan-Asian restaurant for those of us who relish freshness, flavour, quality ingredients and feel-good hi-energy ambience. The new sushi menu is well-researched, creative and a welcome departure from the regular; the management is proficient and polite; and the ambience is stylish — a must-visit. I know I'll be back soon. Itadakemasu!

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Pa Pa Ya. Select City Walk, Saket, New Delhi

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