Papa’s : Rabbits & Truffles

At Papa’s in Mumbai, break all culinary rules with Chef Hussain Shahzad over a tasting menu

At Papa's in Mumbai, break all culinary rules with Chef Hussain Shahzad over a tasting menu

Precise and generous. This is cheerful cooking, elegantly plated and devoured lustily. The 13-course tasting menu at Papa’s (the latest baby from the house of Hunger Inc. and an ode to the erstwhile founder-chef Floyd Cardoz affectionately monikered Papaji) invites you to discover why Chef Hussain Shahzad is one of the storming culinary talents in India.

Tuck in two quirky savouries at the bar – the beautiful bebinca cossetted with black truffles and dates in a floral swirl; the and cute caviar-crowned chenna poda. In pours, Marinara brings a super sip akin to pizza in a glass with its garlicky-tomatoey run. Papa’s Hut teams marinara with vodka, in a Bloody Mary -esque spin, with a mini pizza box carrying a Monaco biscuit laced with cheesy loveliness and marinara.

Hussain’s menu reads simple, and the dishes delight. Ribbons of shiny, cured trout and juicy watermelon curl up in a rasam broth, with glistening trout roe perched on top. The flavours of watermelon and lime leaf uncurl beautifully with every spoonful. Thayir Sadam elevates the rustic curd rice, with the cracking shiso tempura beating the sweetness of the beetroot into submission when crushed and mixed in, with the garlicky pickle resting incognito, below. Tender rabbit from Nasik appears with a marinade tipped with soy sauce. Go for it as a wrap in a jowar pita bread roll with tangy kosho Always expect the unexpected at Hunger Inc. (The Bombay Canteen, Bombay Sweet Shop, Veronica’s) – even in the storytelling that lends an eclectic twist to the dining experience. What wins is the weaver ant tare on the skewered meat. Owner Yash Bhanage wanted to dub the dish Bugs Bunny, that ushered in a playful romp with the crunchy bugs from Odisha. What The Duck! is Hussain’s ode to the Hyderabadi biryani marrying seven-day dry-aged duck with Indrayani rice – stemming from his grouse of never getting the crispy khurchan of rice (unlike his brother) nestling at the bottom of the handi when his mother made biryani. Dessert is beautifully executed in Potato Chips – a pixie-play on fried, truffle honey tipped noodles canoodling with champagne sabayon sheathing a tangy lemon sorbet. Papa’s is a must on your culinary bucket list.

At Papa's in Mumbai, break all culinary rules with Chef Hussain Shahzad over a tasting menu


Cupped in toasted woody tones, and warm amber, the intimate restaurant brings in 12 teal hip seaters at the sole table, with the informal bar sectioned a step up. In a robust makeover of the erstwhile attic of an old bakery in Bandra. The counter has been upcycled from a wooden bar top from The Bombay Canteen, making way for easy conversations at this well-heeled, well-upholstered and cosy space that draws you into its circle of comfort.


You can expect warm, genuine, effortless service. With amateur card games, and on point story telling to set the mood for laughter and gluttony. A cool fidget spin at your seat, a secret note below the brass disc, colour sticks to work on the sketch pad, and even reading glasses if you’ve forgotten yours, to read the menu. The playlist sets the vibe easily, with numbers pulled in by Hussain from his personal stack.

Papa’s at Veronica’s, Bandra West, Mumbai

Timings: Wednesday to Saturday, 8 pm onwards. Below 18 years not allowed.

Price: Rs 5000 plus taxes per head. Call 77388 95597

Shilpi Madan for The New Indian Express

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