It’s amazing how quickly molecular gastronomy techniques have become popular in the city — after modern Indian restaurants, they are now taking over the humble ice cream. Papacream in Churchgate is the latest parlour, after -301°F! and Nice Kream, to use liquid nitrogen for instant ice cream.
Around the corner from Eros cinema, Papacream is a small but lively place. Downstairs, the bar seats are atop strawberry-pink bicycle tyres. The mezzanine space has cleverly adapted industrial, screw top, vice grips as tables.
The limited menu has 17 options. It starts with classics such as Belgian chocolate, fresh espresso and fudgy chococake. The fresh strawberry had an intense, tart berry flavour.
From the premium collection we quite liked the candied ginger bits and the bitterness of chocolate in the chocolate ginger crème brulee. While we loved the brulee crust on the ice cream, breaking through it was a bit messy. The salted caramel popcorn ice cream is the kind you could curl up with over a movie — a real treat, the lightly flavoured scoop is topped with cold, salty, caramel-coated popcorn.
Papacream’s signature, savoury creations are for those who throw caution to the winds. The Mexicano is a frozen version of nachos with cheese sauce — spiced nachos are served with a creamy, spicy smoked bell pepper and jalapeño icecream. It successfully recreates the popular snack, but after a while, gets a bit much to handle.
The paani puri sorbet is delightful — the sorbet paani perfectly captures the tanginess of the street version. When topped on the accompanying puri baskets filled with potato mousse, it tastes more like sev puri, but that’s a minor quibble.
The Thai sushi ice cream was disappointing. It’s a challenge to eat the delicately flavoured lemongrass ice cream slices, wrapped in a chocolate crêpe, rolled in Rice Krispie balls. A cone-shaped temaki might be a better option than the maki roll they’ve opted for.
The only thing unappealing about Papacream is the somewhat creepy association with its name. Even if you take away the drama of the liquid nitrogen, these are enjoyable, tasty ice creams.
Published HT Weekend 31 Oct 2015