Seemingly out of nowhere, the Malaysian restaurant chain PappaRich has burst onto the Melbourne dining scene, opening up three restaurants in a matter of months. While the city location (in QV where Old Town Kopitam once stood) is the most convenient location, my first visit to a PappaRich store was the one on Doncaster Road.
We arrived during the lunch rush, and found the place packed, mainly with Asian diners. Taking this as a sign that the food would be at least be somewhat authentic, we settled at our table for four and consulted the massive menu.
Melbourne's winter has me craving warm, soothing drinks, especially when I'm feeling a little under the weather, so I ordered the Fresh Lemon Honey drink.
|Fresh Lemon Honey (Hot)|
The sweetness came more from the sugar added, rather than honey, and the lemon barely featured in the drink. Still, at least it was hot.
One of the "great" things about this restaurant is the ordering system. You decide what you want from the menu, write it down on the notepad provided, then buzz the waiter over to take the order.
I have the word great in quotation marks because while in theory it makes an efficient system, in a busy restaurant, all too often the waiters don't hear the buzzer anyway.
We'd chosen a range of dishes between the four of us including both noodle and rice based dishes. The must order was of course the Roti Canai.
Made fresh on site, the Roti is deliciously buttery and flakey. I'm not too sure about the serving size, as $5.50 for a single piece seems a little ridiculous, but perhaps there's a labour surcharge. Everything else though was fairly reasonably price, although the servings were on the small side.
While both the Seafood and Chicken Laksa were enjoyed, the general consensus was that the soup wasn't rich enough, and the servings were too small.
|Pappa Special Nasi Goreng with Fried Chicken|
The Pappa Special Nasi Goreng with Fried Chicken was downed in a flash. The chicken appeared a little dry for me, but there were no complaints from the eater. (Is that the right word to use? Surely there's something more elegant.)
|Jasmine Rice with Red Chicken and Sambal Eggplant|
I was really looking forward to my dish of Jasmine Rice with Red Chicken and Sambal Eggplant. When it arrived though, I was slightly disappointed. The eggplant was as strongly flavoured as I'd expected (in my head, I'd likened it to the Sichuan eggplant dish flavours), and the sauce accompanying the chicken felt too sticky and sweet to me.
I was pleasantly surprised by something I'd never tried: Kaya.
|Hainan Toasted Bread with Butter & Kaya|
The sweet spread made from coconut was surprisingly delicious on the soft bread. Now I understand why so many Malaysians love having it for breakfast as it's both creamy and sweet. Why didn't I discover this amazing spread earlier? Really, it's quite wonderful. All it needs now is the tiniest bit of nuttiness to make it perfect.
The service was fast and efficient, and the Roti was certainly the highlight, but overall, I wasn't too impressed with PappaRich. There are plenty of other Malaysian restaurants around that serves quality food, at lower prices, and in bigger portions. Saying that, I think my housemate's cooking trumps them all, but don't tell them that.
540 Doncaster Road, Doncaster