After opening five outlets all over Melbourne, PappaRich has finally crossed over the border and opened one up in Chatswood , Sydney. PappaRich is a Malaysian restaurant chains which actually started in Malaysia back in 2005 and today, it has grown extensively with over 70 outlets in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, greater China and now Australia. By locating itself on the lower north shore might be a wise move, as there are enough Malaysian restaurants in city already which can be very competitive.
The restaurant is still new and everyone wants to check it out. We meet up for lunch at 12.30pm and the restaurant is already heaving. There is a short wait before we are assigned to a table right at the far corner near the toilet. First thing we notice are the waitstaffs as we believe some of the seniors are flown in from Malaysia to train the staffs here – the accent dead give away – lah!
My dining companion couldn’t wait for our lunch date today and came to the restaurant the night before so he knows what is good on the menu. The menu booklet offers a ridiculously extensive list of Malaysian delights.
There are not one but six pages of drink concoctions on the menu to quench that thirst of yours. From refreshingly sweet iced lemon honey drink that soothes any sore throat, to the rich and addictive ice Milo malty drink which comes with an extra spoonful of Milo powder on top to crown the title – Milo Dinosaur. The drink isn’t any bigger in size, which I was led to believe.
Despite the drink choices are endless, one of my dining companion still somehow decides to concoct his own by ordering soy milk with black sesame ice cream but instead replacing it with green tea ice cream. The waitstaff isn’t comfortable with the replacement, the request sends her back to kitchen twice to reconfirm that we are actually allowed to make the swap. Eventually she comes back and let us know that the kitchen agrees to change the ice cream but with warning us that the flavour combination may not work and they will not take any responsibility with our odd request. Our friend thinks he is onto a winner.
The booklet menu offers many all-time favourite Malaysian dishes and ordering nasi lemak, the national dish seems to be mandatory. A white dome of jasmine rice seems lacking the coconut aroma, served with curry chicken which comes in big pieces of tender chicken smothered in a fiery hot curry sauce, it is delicious. A dollop of sambal on the side adds that little extra hot kick, whilst roasted peanuts, fried anchovies and half a boiled egg offers texture and some cooling relief from the cucumber slices.
The Biryani rice is possibly the biggest serving of them all. The fragrant turmeric yellow rice happily soaking up the spicy sauces of sambal prawns and soft eggplant, comes with a piece of fried chicken that is sadly missing the crunch and also a little tad dry.
The roti are made here on site. Choices are aplenty, from simple Roti Canai, to Roti Telur by adding an egg, Roti Planta with margarine, or you can go for the sweet Roti Bom and Roti Kaya with coconut jam inside. The roti telur we ordered is a little lacklustre, it is stretchy and still doughy in parts. Nevertheless, we still enjoy tearing the bread into bite size pieces and mopping the curry chicken up. I can hear my friend saying, “I told you so, I still think so and so has better roti canai…” In this case, he might be right.
The satay is on the expensive side, a mix of chicken and beef satay sticks are served the traditional way with spicy peanut sauce, raw red onion segments and cubes of cucumber. The satay are heavily coated in spices, particularly each mouthful comes with a hit of cumin. The beef satay are a little on the tough side, but then I’ve had tougher even in Malaysia.
Our lunch turns out to be a long one as we staying back playing catch up, which means more drinks to be had. I still prefer to call my milk tea with grass jelly ‘Michael Jackson’, I particularly love the occasional big mouthful of grass jelly whilst slurping through the giant straw, it is satisfyingly smooth and chewy. The lychee grass jelly turns out to be one of our favourites. A mound of shaved ice is served inside a giant cup, soaking up all the canned lychee juice, topped with lychees and herbal grass jelly, and a squeeze of lime to give it a soury zing. A perfect refreshing drink for the summer; winter – not so much.
PappaRich is as good as a restaurant franchise will get; everything is systematic, the place is clean, food is decent, staff is efficient, we had a good meal but not the best. I don’t mind and probably will come back again to try other dishes, but sometimes you just wish to sit on a plastic stool on side street, served by rude staff and food cooked from a well used wok over flaming charcoal, this kind of Malaysian hawker fare is simply irreplaceable and usually the food is a lot more tasty.
63A Archer St, Chatswood
New South Wales 2067
P:(02) 9411 3207
Sun – Thur 11.00am – 9.00pm
Fri – Sat 11.00am – 10.00pm