This ‘woks’: Pa Pa Ya’s experimental twist to authentic flavours win

The dish takes you through a series of flavours- starting from sweetness, and tanginess, and finishing off with a zing of spice. The dish was a perfect palate cleanser and is a must-try if you are looking at exploring the menu.
Sauteed leeks water chestnut dim sum; Har gao green prawn farce
Sauteed leeks water chestnut dim sum; Har gao green prawn farce

CHENNAI: Pa Pa Ya in Nungambakkam is an Asian restaurant serving some of the best cuisines across Asia. This unique and experimental bistro and tapas bar win at décor and food. Some of their signature dishes are- pizzette, salmon uzukuri, sautéed leeks and water chestnuts dim sums, crispy cheung chicken, har gao prawn farce, crispy vegetable maki sushi, beer battered avocado tacos tapas, red curry chicken, chocolate balls on fire among others.

In their cold section, we tried their signature pizzette. This tortilla chip base dish was topped with avocado slices, edamame, cheese, and asparagus. The crunchy base and the sauces mixed with avocado and edamame were very refreshing.

The dish takes you through a series of flavours- starting from sweetness, and tanginess, and finishing off with a zing of spice. The dish was a perfect palate cleanser and is a must-try if you are looking at exploring the menu.

Next, we tried their salmon uzukuri. The salmon was served with ponzu sauce, relished with garlic and sundried tomatoes. The best part about this dish is its simplicity as it gets all its flavours from the sauce. It is spicy and tangy and manages to surprise your regular palate. If you are reluctant about eating raw salmon, you can be assured that the way it is made here will give you feelers of what you might have been missing out on yet. For a first-timer, the texture might slightly be overwhelming. Once you get past that it is brilliant.

We then tried their sautéed leeks and water chestnuts dim sums. This bright pink-coloured dim sum is simply phenomenal and does not disappoint. The dim sum maintains the consistency of the shumai, not leaving it too chewy or soggy. The filling is spicy and very flavourful. This is a must-try.

Their crispy Cheung chicken is a rice noodle filled with seasoned and spiced chicken filling. This bite-sized tangy, garlicky, and spicy dish was served with soy sauce and is also one of their star dishes on the menu. If at any point you feel you can’t take the spice, you can always have a bite of the pizzete to cleanse your palate.

In sushi, we tried their crispy vegetable maki and dehydrated spinach. This dish proves how even dehydrated spinach adds an exciting flavour to a dish. The dish had seasoned vegetables rolled into sushi and was topped with dehydrated spinach; this amplifies the piquancy bringing in a melange of underlying flavours.

Even if you fail to try anything else on the menu, do not miss out on their beer battered avocado tacos in the tapas section. The dish had scallion kimchi, corn, and beer battered avocado in a crispy taco shell. The dish is sweet at first and then slowly transitions into a wonderful explosion of spice. This absolutely stole the spotlight and is definitely a must-try.

For the main course, we tried their red curry chicken, wok tossed seasonal vegetables with mala sauce, corn and spinach fried rice, and steamed polished rice. The red curry chicken had Thai ginger, lemongrass, basil and coconut. The flavour of lemongrass slightly overpowered the curry and was slightly unsettling but could be managed. The corn and spinach were really good and went well when paired with the wok tossed seasonal vegetables with mala sauce.

Another star dish on the menu is a part of their dessert section, the chocolate balls on fire. When you pour hot chocolate sauce on this chocolatey dome, it melts to reveal a nutty brownie delight with sprinklers. The flavourful blend of chocolate and a light tinge of orange makes this dish very heavenly.

On the whole, this restaurant is a must-visit and will cater to a palate new to Asian cuisine. The dishes are fresh, exciting, and experimental while retaining authentic flavours. The quantity is very generous and filling and there is value for money. Go on a gastronomical journey exploring mouth-watering Asian delicacies with a twist.

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