Chef Durgesh has been associated with Pa Pa Ya for more than 6 years, he also heads brands like Bo Tai and Swan.
It took me a while to locate Pa Pa Ya in the Select City Walk this time. The last time I was here was pre-covid, and I marched in the same direction, only to learn that it has been shifted to a different place. A significant ‘shift’ had also taken place in the look and feel of the restaurant. It appears more like a premium bistro now, of course the swanky bar occupies a good space bringing the place alive.
We sat down right in the centre, navigating through the new menu of Pa Pa Ya. The food remains just delicious. Starting with the Katsu chicken ramen, the ambrosial ramen came with boiled noodles, crispy chicken, burnt garlic crisps, bean sprouts, spring onions, seaweed and hot sauce. The broth was clear, holding the many, contrasting, yet beautifully complimenting elements together. Easily the best start we could have asked for. We followed it up with some sushi and gyozas (crispy chicken dumplings), perfectly reasonable. The Tuna Tataki, is their cold pizza from the Tapas section which you can explore if you love seafood. Thin slices of tuna on a crispy, biscuit-like disc, topped with various sauces and smears make for an enjoyable experience indeed. Moving on to mains, we tried the ever-so soothing Masaman curry with spinach and corn-fried rice, which proved to be an indulgent ride. Adding some much-needed drama to the table was Sichuan-style crispy prawns. Hot, fiery and so delish.
Later in the evening we also sat down with Chef Durgesh Tyagi for a quick chit-chat. Chef Durgesh has been associated with Pa Pa Ya for more than 6 years, he also heads brands like Bo Tai and Swan. In our chat, I learned that he was born into a family of farmers and completed his schooling from SDA Mission School Hapur and graduated from Bhopal Catering College. His love for cooking was honed by various chefs and today, he is one of the names to reckon with in the world of F&B and hospitality. Excerpts...
In the pool of Japanese restaurants in the capital how does Pa Pa Ya hold its own.
PaPaYa has earned its name among the best Japanese restaurant in Delhi and it is indeed a matter of pride for us. A lot of hard work and research has gone into building this restaurant and our loyal clientele. Additionally, I think PaPaYa’s use of fresh imported seafood, perishable and sauces directly flown from Japan may have also played a role in making the food stand out.
Your menu is known to be one of the most extensive, which are the dishes you are proud of.
Plenty of them. I quite like the truffle cream cheese dumplings, carbon sushi, sushi pizza, Butayakitori, Ramen bowl, Lamb Rendang curry and the Chocolate ball on fire
What is your comfort food?
Ramen Bowl full of protein
Three tips to cook the perfect Ramen
Cook your own broth/stock, do not fall for those pre-packaged cans. Add lots of greens. Top up with protein.
More and more people are cooking authentic Asian food at home now. What are the 3 tools you suggest they should always have alongside them?
The use of the best and fresh ingredients is non-negotiable. Apart from that, I think, good proprietary sauces and lots of love can also help
An ingredient that can make or break the dish according to you?
Patience is the key ingredient without which you cannot cook any Asian food.
A word of advice for budding chefs
I would suggest they focus on basics first and keep at it. Learning comes with everyday experience