A friend and I were due to meet up for breakfast earlier this week, and decided to try someplace new and exciting. I had heard about Papaya from another very close friend who is passionate about everything food-related just a day before, and listening to her rave about Papaya resolved to visit and try it out.
Papaya is located next to Souk Shatee close to Malik Road. From the outside, the restaurant is completely unassuming. If I wasn’t looking out for it, I would probably have just passed it by without another thought. I walked around through the side gate and came to a wooden door. I cautiously opened the door, stepped in and was immediately taken by surprise.
I had been told that Papaya housed many plants and was unique in its decor, but I was still unprepared for the scene that welcomed me; not only was the seating area huge, it was awash in beautiful, natural light flooding in from the high glass ceiling. I have never seen so much greenery in one space before in Jeddah with foliage growing abundantly throughout the restaurant. Add to that the sounds of trickling water from various water features scattered within and the sounds of birds chirping – it was like stepping through a portal and walking straight into a tropical rainforest.
At this point, I was thinking that even if the food was not up to scratch, it would still have been worth visiting just to experience its ambience. While I was waiting for my friend to arrive the waiters handed me the menu and came back again to ask if I would like to order a drink while I was waiting.
When my breakfast companion arrived, thanks to suggestions on the buzzing Jeddah Foodies Facebook group, we opted for the cheese and zaatar manaeesh and the cinnamon pancakes. The fresh juice list was quite extensive, and we both decided to try the pinacoladas.
We were not disappointed in the least. The stack of cinnamon pancakes were topped with just the right amount of cream cheese frosting and extra pancake syrup on the side. They were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever eaten and we both agreed that they were delicious.
The cheese and zaatar manaeesh was very fresh-tasting and the flat bread was soft and not dry as I have found to be the case in many other eateries.
With just the right combination of pineapple and coconut, the pinacolada was refreshing and hit all the right tastebuds. One of the best I’ve tasted here in Jeddah.
The service was very good with waiters greeting us as we entered and making sure we had everything we needed. Prices were very reasonable at SR 60 per head. Portion sizes were generous, as we even had some pancakes left over to take away.
While browsing the menu I noticed an extensive lunch and dinner selection. I would be interested to find out how those meals would compare. Sadly for me there was no wifi, but overall it was a great dining experience and one I look forward to repeating soon.
If you’ve been to Papaya and would like to share your experience, let us know in the comments below.