We’ve been blessed with many reliable restaurants serving up both authentic and unique Indian food in D.C. Pappe’s Indian fare has graced 14th Street with its elegant food and spicy atmosphere—and vice versa. Pappe, meaning brother in Punjabi, is inspired by the vibrant street markets of Delhi and Jaipur. Soft, colorful drapes float from the ceiling, and plush pillows line the seats. The cuisine is inspired by North Indian cuisine with some southern dishes.
The menu for brunch includes regular menu items sprinkled with breakfast foods. The dishes are extremely diverse and enticing, but you’re going to want to ask your server for guidance, as the options are plentiful.
We went straight for cocktails and enjoyed a spicy version of a bloody Mary presented with accompanying pickled veggies, as well as a cardamom gimlet. The artistry of Indian spices is evident from the first sip of this bloody. The gimlet was unique, acidic, crisp, and refreshing. Also served at dinner, this beverage is acceptable at any time of day.
Everything at Pappe is conducive to sharing. We ordered the Vegetable Uttapam and Aloo Papdi Chaat to start, followed by eggplant, tandoori salmon, and, the star of the show, the Brunch Thali.
Vegetable Uttapam was unlike any Indian dish I had ever enjoyed. Think Chinese scallion pancake, but fluffy and pan seared, like a crepe. The crispy discs are served with various sour and creamy chutneys. Unintentionally brunch-centric, this dish was a perfect way to start the meal.
The Aloo Papdi Chaat is a chickpea salad with crispy, crunchy pastry chips and drizzled with tamarind chutney and cumin yogurt. This salad was light, sweet, and seriously complex with flavor. You will regret not ordering this.
The eggplant was served stewed in a tomato-based sauce. While very robust in flavor and delicious for dipping with naan, we would skip this one as it didn’t add much to the tablescape.
The tandoori salmon was simple and smoky. The grill items at Pappe are a good way to try kabob-style dishes that can be mixed and matched with various sauces. We would definitely come back to try more things from the grill.
As mentioned, the star of the show was the Thali. A Pappe Thali includes various vegetables, proteins, dips, and sauces served on a silver platter. This dish had all the fan favorites of chicken, lamb, paneer and more, but with an added egg. There are vegetarian and meat-specific platters as well, but this was indicative of all of our favorite Indian dishes. The platter was also rather large, so you may want to pace yourself on the appetizers (except the chaat. You need the chaat).
We couldn’t spare room for dessert, but we sipped our cocktails and sat amongst the comforts of a re-imagined Indian marketplace.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes. This is definitely not a brunch establishment serving up your classic breakfast foods, but they are serving intentional Indian cuisine that will leave you feeling extremely excited to dive back into your leftovers later.
Pappe serves brunch on Saturday and Sundays from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.