I lined up what can only be described as an ambitious calendar for dining out last week. And while on paper I was very excited about all the good eating I’d be doing, I was also conscious that the battery would be winding down slightly after three consecutive nights out. But it was Thursday night and we were booked in to try out the Malaysian newbie on James Street….. that’s right folks, PappaRich has rocked into town!
PappaRich in Northbridge is a large new restaurant that seats up to 110 eager diners and let me tell you they are eager! We were dining on their fifth night of operation and even at 6pm there was a line out the front. PappaRich has previously been in other Australian states but their Northbridge store marks their first move into the West. PappaRich was first established in 2005 with the opening of its first restaurant in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. It has since expanded across Asia and beyond, and now boasts eleven outlets in Australia. PappaRich is serving up Malaysian food, offering “a range of the country’s best-known dishes that draw upon the authentic flavours of regions across Malaysia.”
I was really looking forward to trying it. I can’t say I was actually overly knowledgeable about Malaysia’s best known dishes, but I was keen to get a better understanding of what they are. As we found out as we read the menu, their Signature dishes include freshly-made Roti Canai, traditional Hainan bread with Kaya and butter, Satay, Nasi Lemak, Fried Koay Teow, Curry Laksa, Asam Laksa, Chicken Rice, Prawn Mee, Mee Goreng, Ice Kacang and many more!
What I thought was a really great part of the PappaRich experience is their ordering system. You arrive at your table and find a little tabulated note pad and many a lead pencil. Then as you look through the menu you write down the menu item, the amount you want and then any notes, like add more chilli, no meat, extra mushroom, etc. It is easy peasy! Then once you’ve got your order all drafted up, you just press the button on your table and that lets the staff know you are ready for them to take your order. Means you can decide what to have in your own time.
- Satay Mixed (6 pieces) – $13.90
- Pappa Char Koay Teow – $13.90
- Roti Canai with Curry Chicken – $12.90
- 3 extra pieces of Curry Chicken – $6.00
- Lychee Soda – $4.90
The focus is on food served fresh and fast, making PappaRich the ideal spot for a quick work lunch or midweek dinner. The restaurants’ interiors are designed with a simple and casual aesthetic, without compromising on style – each one is specially designed and offers a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. The open plan layout of each restaurant also gives diners the chance to see their Roti Canai being freshly prepared on the spot.
What really impressed me was that literally within a few minutes of pressing that buzzer and having our order whisked to the kitchen, our first dish arrived and the rest followed in a flurry of plate shifting, like an awesome game of tetris to fit everything on our table. We got there.
I started with some of the chicken curry. It had a beautifully rich flavour, perfectly balanced spice that wasn’t too burny hot, though I think if you wanted to up the spice stakes you’d just have to write that in your order. I welcomed the milder curry flavours. They were nice plump pieces of chook too. Then onto the roti. I actually don’t think I have ever tried proper roti before. I’ve had plenty of naan and even some paratha, but never roti, that I could recall. I took an eager first bite and I really enjoyed it! As you pulled off a piece of roti it had some wonderfully crispy bits, then some was a little softer and when you piled some of the chicken on top and a dollop of sambal it was like a party of flavours and textures. Yum!
We then turned our attention to the mixed satay sticks. Offering a mixed plate was absolutely perfect for those too indecisive to choose between all chicken or all beef. Why not have both indeed! It was a pleasantly nutty sauce and both the chicken and the beef were nice, though I wasn’t quite as wowed with these as I had been with the chicken curry. I did like the refreshing pieces of cucumber that came along with the satay sticks though.
The final dish we tried was from the noodle section, the Pappa Char Koay Teow. I am mad for flat rice noodles and have tried to cook with them at home on a few occasions, but I often find that I don’t have much luck with them and tend to burn them to my wok. So it’s a delight to sit and eat them when someone with a lot more serious wok’in skills has done the hard yards and prepared the dish for you. For both of us, this dish was the real star. I loved the eggs throughout the noodles, the few prawns and crunchy veg and just the general flavour was a winner. We both commented that we wished they did take away because we could imagine that we’d be calling in for this on the way home.
Now we had both ordered Lychee Sodas, which was a great excuse to eat a few lychees, but it was probably a sweeter drink than we would usually choose. Though we frantically tried to stir in the ice to mellow the sweetness it was pretty powerful. It was nice to try something different though and they actually have quite a vast drinks menu available at PappaRich.
So given we’d essentially already partaken in a sweet treat we declined dessert, but we were both feeling comfortable after the dishes we had ordered. I enjoyed my first visit to PappaRich and could appreciate its popularity. What I was really impressed with was the sheer pace of the place, it’s such a buzz of activity, and despite only being opened for a few days there is a real polished efficiency to the place. Orders are taken as soon as you press the buzzer, meals appear in a flash and then plates are cleared with similar haste. So it’s not necessarily a place to linger and you’ll be in and out in a a flash, but for a quick and tasty meal, it’s a great option.
And as we found out as we left, they do take away orders after all! And in even better news the second Western Australian PappaRich store is scheduled to open at Carousel within a few months!
Thank you to Wasamedia and PappaRich for the invitation to head along to try this new Malaysian wonder 🙂
Oh and if you do head into PappaRich before 31 August, then make sure you snap a selfie…. details of a competition they are running to win a dinner for you and 10 friends is below!