Café Papaya has been on my list of places to try out for sometime now, especially after looking at photos of the brilliantly done interiors. So, on a lazy weekday afternoon, my friend and I finalized on this place for lunch.
The café opens only by 1 p.m. and we had to slow ourselves down, as eager as we were, to reach the place just past 1 o’ clock. Tucked away in a bye-lane in Palarivattom, this little café is safely hidden from the hustles and bustles of the main road, yet not quite difficult to locate. We used the google map to be on the safer side and we reached the place without any confusion.
I fell in love with the place from the doorstep – a beautiful house converted into a café with sufficient parking space and openness. There’s a warm, welcoming feel that the place exudes that was reflected throughout the time we spent there. As we entered, we were mesmerized by the beautifully done interiors and efficiently managed space. Beautiful posters adorned the walls and there was a cosy library corner, to your right as you enter, arranged with some amazing books. There is a special dedicated place, a small stage, for live performances and ample seating area around it too.
We chose to sit in the library area, since it gave the feeling of a private space and well, there were books to give us company! As soon as we settled down, we were given the menu. The menu had limited options comparatively, and we ordered for a Mushroom and Bell Pepper Toasties for starters and a Classic Cheese Vegetable Burger and Chicken Steak in Mushroom Veloutte for the main course. Once the order was made, we resumed our chat and we indeed had a fun time, along with the kids, considering that we had the library area to ourselves. The food takes time to be served, but I shouldn’t complain about it since that’s the whole point of a café – take your time to unwind and chat, and not to be rushed through your meal.
As the Mushroom and Bell Pepper Toasties arrived, we were hungry enough to pounce on it. There were six slices of the toasties – crusty bread topped with sautéed mushroom and bell pepper and finished off with grated cheese. – which finished in no time. The bread was crusty and crunchy, while the toppings were oozing with flavour and cheese. It was a great start to our meal and by the time we were done with the toasties, we were eagerly looking forward to our burger and steak.
Almost immediately, the burger and the steak arrived. The burger, Classic Cheese Vegetable burger, was a welcome change from the usual ones. This had no patty, instead it was layered with lettuce, cheese and saucy, sautéed vegetables, and was accompanied by a few pieces of nachos instead of the usual chips/fries that is served along with burgers. It was delicious in all respect that we fought over it until the last bite. I loved how the sautéed vegetables replaced the usual patty, a pleasant change, and it indeed gave a different taste to the whole burger. Of course, this also meant that there was a lack of crunch, but for me, the crunch from the lettuce was sufficient enough to compensate.
The Chicken Steak in Mushroom Veloutte, accompanied by a few pieces of garlic bread looked appealing. The steak was drenched in the Mushroom Veloutte, soaking all the flavours of the sauce and my friend absolutely loved it. The steak was perfectly cooked. This, along with the herb infused garlic bread was a treat indeed. I, however, felt that the dish would have been perfect had it been accompanied by a portion of sautéed vegetables to compliment the protein and the carb – something herby and peppery that would have been a refreshing change for the palate to break the monotony of the steak and the sauce. We had different plans for dessert and hence, we decided to skip the dessert here. Our loss, I am sure, since the dessert options here looked quite appealing.
A special mention must definitely be made about the staff and ambience here. We were received with a smile, which stayed all through the service and until we left. The staff were generous enough to accommodate our requests and preferences. This is a perfect place for someone who loves good music, good books, good food and a good space to unwind. The pricing is very reasonable considering the food and ambience the café provides.
Overall, we had a beautiful time here – a perfect relaxed, lazy lunch, chatting our hearts away without worrying about the kids disturbing fellow diners, much thanks to the library area that we got all to ourselves.