Mere Dil ko Bhaaya – Panayaa!

Mere Dil ko Bhaaya – Panayaa!
Post a Molecular journey at Pa Pa Ya, I was excited for another
Molecular marvel, Panayaa. Except for similar names and the molecular gastronomy
techniques the 2 restaurants have nothing in common. On the contrary it is a Modernized
Indian Restaurant adhering only to the herbivores.
The word Panayaa is derived from the Sanskrit translating into
“Lavish”. It is the newest restaurant located at Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower
Parel, from the same guys who gave us Firki, Riso & Ithaka. Their last
opening *Firki had left me disappointed and I walked into Panayaa hoping the molecular
aspect would not leave me disappointed.

White & gold décor adorned with frames, paintings, lamps enhance
the positive vibes in an ethnic environment. The interiors look elegant with shades of white and gold
plastered along the walls and the gold lamps suspended from the mirrored
ceiling completed the royal look. The brown upholstery complimented the white
intentions. All this white instantly reminded me of Yashraj’s Chandni
movie set 😀 They even house an al-fresco section which would be perfect in
these chilly winter evenings.

We were welcomed by fresh Passion Fruit Mocktail served in a pretty goblet; an absolute refreshing start to a leisurely dinner coming our way. Commonly said, the first impression is the last impression. The entry of the Appetizers was Dhuaandaar ;
Pav Bhaji Minestrone Soup:  A short sized cup of Pav Bhaji Soup served
with smoky nitrogenous garlic
bread sticks. The soup has to be drunk over the bread sticks creating an
explosion of garlic and flavorful pav bhaji smoke emitting from our noses and
mouths. It was more like a Pav Bhaji Sheesha. This is a certain recommendation
to diverge from the usual.
 Potato Sphere Chat with Ragada: A golden
labyrinth of crispy potato noodle dipped in fiery hot ragdaa with cold curds, tamarind
& mint chutney- a perfect triumvirate of flavors. This epitomizes the
latest fad of modernizing Indian dishes. Hell yeah !! A regular chat getting
that contemporary look. The wicked soul’s personal favorites.
 Shakargandi Chaat: Sweet Potato (Shakargandi)
is cooked using sous vied technique with flavorful mint chutney. A cylindrical shape
of mint flavoured diced Sweet Potato was pretty decent and nothing to go Gaga
about. Post the nitrogenous theatrics, the presentation was too subtle.

 Dhokla Oxide: A karai stringed with cane
handles, carrying disintegrated Khaman and Papdi Chaat amid the regular nitrogen
theatrics. The extent of dhokla was too limited in comparison to the papdi
chaat.  Further bits of dhokla need to be
added to do justice to the name and to survive in a rich list of starters.
 Emarati Tori: Inspired by Dubai’s rising
skylines, this one is Chef Naved Patel’s innovation. An emarat of cottage
cheese, zucchini & potato julienne served with Kadhai chutney. 10/10 Each
ingredient is carefully selected adding to the greatness of this vegovation
(veg innovation – jst thought that up).

Deconstructed Dahi Vada : These white droplets
are an invention using molecular gastronomy 
with curds, boondi and imli caviar. It explodes in the mouth bursting into
explosive flavors. Refreshing & definitely in the top 5 out here.
This was
one of the best palate cleanser I have had in a long time ….and we were lucky
to get seconds 😛

 Mushroom Salad: Mushroom bulbs topped with crispy
akhrot churan & fresh harmalai dressing. A regular creamy mushroom salad
amid more nitro showboating. The taste was anything but ordinary; being a
mushroom fan it is really difficult to speak lowly of the dish.

Quickly moving onto the Mains, every main was accompanied by an
assortment of Indian breads. But before we could begin, we were handed another
palate cleanser. Scanvi with Rose Caviar; strong rose aroma downed by jaljeera
and rock salt enlivening the taste buds. 

Multani Paneer: Tender cottage cheese cubes immersed in makhani curry
with dry fruit tit-bits. The paneer was soft with a melt in the mouth
preparation and accompanied well with Butter Naan.

Techa Sabji: Mixed vegetable cooked in a curry of finely grounded chillies
& aromatic spices is your regular vegetable curry. This has been inspired
by thecha (an
authentic maharashtrian recipe of dry green chilly or red chilly garlic chutney
It was mildly pungent contrary to actual thecha.

Amritsari Kofte: Soft,
luscious koftas dunked in a smooth creamy gravy Soft, luscious koftes prepared
with minced vegetables, cottage cheese and cooked in a spicy, creamy gravy were
my personal favorites among all the mains this far. These went well with the
Cheese Naans.

Dal Makhani: Gram lentils simmered overnight on a charcoal fire. A
north Indian delicacy prepared in panayaa style. This was too sweet for my
liking, maybe it was the cream in the dal erring this North Indian delicacy.
A shout-out to the Cheese Naans; one of the crunchiest and cheesiest
naans ever. The thin crust cheese pizza naans were a perfect combo with the gravies

Lets move to the best part of the meal….you guessed it right!!Desserts 🙂

Strawberry Dome – Strawberry flavored mousse layered in cocoa,
honeycomb and served with fresh strawberries and figs. The dome had a smooth
reflective texture and it really broke our hearts to slice it open. I was
expecting mousse to flow from within or an unusual surprise but we were all
left saddened by the lack of intent to present something more. The chocolate
and strawberry proportion was perfect.

Scrappy Mountain: A live dessert made by ex-Yautcha Chef right at
our table. Playing with molecular tricks, this video has made its way all over the
social media. It was a mountain of chocolate sponges, sauces, cinnamon
crumbles, Vanilla ice-cream, marsh mallows etc. Apart from the beautiful
visuals it was nothing extraordinary but a valiant effort to add the molecular
sciences to this dessert. No harm in managing to skip this one.

Hard Rock Factory Chocolate Mousse: A solid sphere of chocolate begging to be broken apart by a hammer (Thor would have loved this). It housed a less solid from of chocolate mousse. IMPRESSIVE, but I wish the mousse was easier and smoother to gobble down.

  Mohanthal Cheesecake:  This was one of the reasons Panayaa was on my
list. Mohanthal, being one of my favorite traditional gujju sweets I was eager
to try out this modernized innovation at Panayaa. The silky textured cheesecake
topped with strawberry compote has a minor base of crumbly Mohanthal, served
with baklava, chocolate soil and vanilla ice cream. I never imagined myself
swooning over a cheesecake. This cheesecake modern beauty has the wicked soul’s
vote by million. Take a bow Panyaa, take a bow!!!
Overall, as the name depicts, the presentation is lavish but the
menu still requires some tweaks. Some were spot on while a few of them need to
revisit the kitchen laboratory. Panayaa merges flair and elements in the form
of visual theatrics, even at times when simplicity could suffice. Panayaa
certainly has the potential but only time shall tell whether it rules the
molecular circuit. The staff was courteous, quick and efficient in their

I was invited to the launch preview and as such meals were on the house. However, my feedback and review is purely unbiased and based on my own experiences.

Lip smacking meter: 4/5
Service 4/5

Much Love,

Panayaa - Modern Indian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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