If you have ever been to Malaysia, you will know why it is called a foodie haven with a plethora of food options due to its multicultural blend of locals. A fusion of Indian, Malay, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British (from the colonization era), the variety is astounding. It is little wonder that PappaRich, a popular food franchise from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (established in 2005) has expanded its stores to Melbourne. Similar to Malaysia, Melbourne is now becoming a truly diverse city with migrants and visitors from all around the world.
On a recent trip to Melbourne, we tried the PappaRich store at Doncaster, at 540 Doncaster Road. There are currently three outlets in Australia, QV, Chadstone and Doncaster. New outlets will be opening in Glen Waverley and Nunawading.
The Doncaster outlet is at a huge stand-alone building with an inviting brown exterior with white frames and a huge PappaRich logo. The interior is cosy and airy; on a hot summers day it is as if you are dining in Malaysia. No need for flying and expensive airfares! The first thing we noticed when we entered was the hustle and bustle of activity. On a Saturday afternoon, the restaurant is busy. Luckily, we did not have to wait for a table but the restaurant is known to have long lines during busy times.
The tables were set a good distance apart which kept the noise level down and the food is prepared in an open concept area so that the customers could observe how it is made.
The preparation of roti canai especially, is an interesting process. Roti canai is a type of Indian influenced flat bread which is fluffy and soft on the inside but cooked on a hot flat plate to ensure its crispiness on the outside. The dough is rolled out in front of you, and the chef tosses and spins it before cooking the roti. Due to the open concept, this adds an extra unique element to the dining experience.
Their roti canais are usually served with a side of curry sauce, sambal and dahl. You can also order curry chicken or beef to make it a substantial and filling meal. My cousin ordered a variation of roti canai which had egg and onions in it. You can also order a sweet variation if that is your preference.
As an entrée, we ordered a mix of beef and chicken satay. The satay sticks were delicious, tender and juicy. Satay sticks consist of skewered meat, marinated in a peanut sauce which fresh lemongrass and turmeric flavouring. The sticks are later grilled and is best eaten with the delicious sauce, cucumber and onion that comes with the dish.
There is an extensive menu of Asian drinks ranging from milk teas, lychee drink, barley sugar, specially blended local coffee to soya milk. They have more than 60 variations of beverages. I ordered the milk tea which was thick, creamy and delicious. In Malaysia, it is called 'teh tarik' as the tea is 'pulled' by pouring it between cups, often from a long distance. This is to blend the tea and is an interesting art in itself.
My mum ordered a Nasi Lemak, which is steamed rice infused with coconut milk served with curry chicken, sambal prawns, fried anchovies, fried peanuts, spicy sambal, cucumber slices and a hard boiled egg. A good nasi lemak depend on the authenticity and taste of the sambal. PappaRich's nasi lemak's sambal did not disappoint. The fragrant rice blended perfectly with the spicy sambal and curry accompaniment, definitely a dish to try if you like your food hot and spicy
I ordered the Biryani rice with red chicken and sambal prawns, an Indian-inspired dish. The biryani rice had an intense flavour and was very aromatic. The dishes are a lot more expensive compared to Malaysia, ranging from $11-$20, but the price is reasonable compared to other dining options in Melbourne. It is a great place to go to hangout with friends due to its later closing hours (10pm on most days and 11pm on Thursday and Saturday). If you are wanting to indulge and splurge without worrying about your diet, this is the place to be. Although not the healthiest, it is a great experience if you do not let greed take a hold of you and order more than you should. This is difficult when their large range of ice desserts are tempting!
PappaRich has won the Asean Retail Chain & Franchise Federation Most Recognised Brand (Asean Region 2010) award and with its success in Melbourne, only time will tell before the franchise opens in other states around Australia.