Reading and hearing about this place and all the hype it seemed to be creating had put Pa Pa Ya on my top to go to places to eat Asian food. So my friend and I landed up there a few days ago after booking a table for dinner for quarter past ten.
Having reached shortly after the appointed time, we were shown to our table (between the wine cellar and the bar). The first thing that hits me is the blaring music (which became such an irritant during the course of the evening as it was practically impossible to converse/hear what the waiters were saying to us) and the second thing is the dim lighting – Pa Pa Ya need to inter change the two: tone down the loud music and increase the lighting. After we were seated, we requested the waiter to change our seats because of dim lighting which was entertained.
We chose three starters (using the lights from our cell phones)–Chilli Tamarind Beef, Non-Veg Doughnut Sushi and Scallop Sushi. For main course, we opted for the Shanghainese style Pork Belly, Lamb Rendang Curry, Phad Thai Noodles and Kimchi Fried Rice Chicken.
The Chilli Tamarind beef made it to our table first. But alas!It was undercooked and rubbery, making it chewy. We requested the waiter to check with the chef whether he could do it again without it being chewy and if not, to cancel it….the waiter went away ostensibly to check whether our request could be complied with or not but more about this later….
Next came the Doughnut Sushi. While the four doughnut sushis looked really cute, they were no different in taste from any other sushi we’ve had no matter the spectacular build up through the description in the menu. Also, with no nori sheet holding them together, one had to gingerly lift them up with chopsticks for fear of them falling apart.
(Beef interruption: We asked different waiters atleast three times about the status of our beef starter. They were not even able to tell us if it had been cancelled or if it was going to be served again. But hang on ! Some more about this later…..).
While we are still waiting for our pending two starters out of three,our main course arrives.We ask the waiter about our two starters and he responds with a hundred dollar question–“do you want your starters before the main course ?” This made me really think hard about checking my P’s and Q’s and I managed to come up with the answer that yes I’m not breaking any food ordering codes here and this is the norm the world over to order starters (as the name too suggests) before the main course. Then, he reluctantly took the food away.
While we were still stubbornly waiting endlessly for our two pending starters (Chilli Tamarind Beef and Scallop Sushi), another bomb drops in our lap. Our waiter tells us after almost a forty-five minute wait that sushi is not available. When we tell him that we see it being served on other tables, he tells us that scallop sushi is not available and will not be served.It seems he failed to communicate to us that it was unavailable (apart from having failed to communicate with us on the status of our beef starter which we had repeatedly asked about)- so some poor communication skills I guess.
I’ve got no beef with beef :-p : Wonders never cease ! Our beef has finally arrived ! Were we, with this entire hotch-potch, left with any appetite? No! But to give the beef its due credit,it was well made. The slightly tart and spicy sauce coating each piece of beef nicely, was an absolute pleasure to eat.
I must confess that I have had cold cuts as starters before, but served COLD main course was a first. The main course which we had sent back was served absolutely COLD, to us. As the waiter was laying the dishes on the table,I remember I jokingly asked him that “I hope it’s not the same food being served again”. He wiped my smile away immediately by confirming in the affirmative. On touching all the four main course dishes with my finger, I realized they were absolutely cold.
At this time, the manager appears and I shared our feedback and requested him to give us warm food which we can eat and go away. I shared the names of our two servers with him and he tells me that these are their best servers and ”I wonder how they messed up.” One hour fifteen minutes have already elapsed since we came in. We are assured that we will get fresh food and we are back to doing our favorite thing for the evening – WAITING AGAIN. Shortly after, the food arrives again, but there is more. Even before the food can be served, I get a very prominent burnt smell. I trace it back to my Phad Thai Noodles which have not even been served on our plate yet. The manager agrees that the phad thai noodles were BURNT and then he took the dish away to replace it. They make an entry again towards the end of our meal but we accept it.
All I remember about the main course was that the food tasted good, but pardon me I was too drained of energy to enjoy any of it.
Remedial action taken by Pa Pa Ya:
- At the end of our meal, the manager cockily comes to tell us that on our next visit he will give the unavailable starter (scallop sushi) on the house to us. Must say he is an optimistic person.
- After having paid the bill, and while I was filling out the feedback card, the manager re-appears, asks for our bill, takes it away and returns with the service charge refunded to us in cash.
My troubled takeaways from one evening in Pa Pa Ya – a starter not served due to unavailability which was informed after 45 minutes of ordering the same, undercooked and chewy beef, burnt Phad Thai Noodles and cold food served in a fine dine restaurant.
Rating (Out of 5)
Food: 2.5 | Service: 1.5| Ambience: 3.0 | Overall: 2.5
Meal for Two: Rs.2000 | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: 12 noon to 1:00 a.m. | Child Policy: Allowed | Dress Code: Formals or Smart Casuals
Address: Pa PaYa, Dome, Level 4, Select Citywalk, A-3, District Centre, Saket, New Delhi