Monday, 1 September 2014

A step closer to authentic Malaysian cuisine at PappaRich Malaysian Delights, Northbridge

Papparich Northbridge on Urbanspoon
Disclaimer: HungryAgainPerth was invited as a guest to PappaRich, however all thoughts and musings expressed hereon are true ramblings by me, to me, and anyone who wants to listen.

It is easy to go OTT with the satay flattery...
PappaRich, Northbridge
Just as I thought Perth's sunny winter skies were indicative of Spring, flowers, blossoms and hayfever ahead (Winter, where WERE you!), it rained. It rained hard. I wasn't particularly keen on leaving the comforts of my bed or my pyjamas, but hey - when PappaRich is in town, nothing comes between Pappa and I.

I battled the heavy rain, Friday traffic, city parking and the hoards of impatient and angry after-work commuters on the road for an hour before reaching Perth's newest Malaysian food haven in the middle of Northbridge. Despite opening over a fortnight ago, PappaRich is evidently still wildly popular with a queue snaking out of its entrance for the entire night.
PappaRich wall decor and the bar
Inside the bar stood around 2 handfuls of staff members who pumped out endless drinks the whole night. It is easy to understand how the food and drink orders arrive no more than 10 minutes after ordering - the amount of people working is pretty mind boggling. As I drooled through the entire menu (starting from the dessert section first of course), a table sat down next to us, ordered and got both their mains before I even placed my order.

This is efficiency at its most efficient!
Division of the menu into various sections
Names of dishes in the menu are accompanied by large, vibrant pictures of the dishes themselves. The speedy process at PappaRich is definitely helped by the very independent ordering system, whereby diners write down their dish number from the menu and press a button at the table to flag a waiter's attention. Sure it's sacrificing the personalised touch of service, but the 'no fuss' approach here is all a part of the overall experience.
Tropical Lime and Open Sesame - $7.50 each
I'm the type of person to never order drinks with my meals but looking at the huge selection of beverages on the menu (there's apparently 60 of them!) made it pretty hard to resist. The drinks pages are saturated with coffees, teas, milks, juices, shakes and all sorts of other beverages that you may have never seen before.

I really loved my summery tropical lime concoction, which was a fusion of refreshing lychee juice with a creamy dollop of ice cream and mint. The Open Sesame was a much thicker beverage bursting with the aroma of sesame - similar to drinking the Chinese black sesame soup dessert in a mug. These drinks are categorised under 'Pappa's Delicious Concoctions' in the menu and are desserts in their own right.
Curry Seafood Laksa - $14.90
The noodle section includes many classic Malaysian dishes which are served in soup, wok-fried or with soup gravy. With every intention to try something new and different from the menu, I still couldn't stray too far away from my beloved laksa but I'm definitely wanting to hang out with the Asam Laksa next time. I didn't surprise myself too much and ordered a curry seafood laksa, which came brimming with prawns, mussels, fish cake, fried tofu, bean curd and eggplant.

I like the level of spiciness of the soup and am pleasantly surprised by the eggplant, which I initially envisioned as a lump of gradually disintegrating mush in the soup. I nearly mistook it as a big fish fillet as it holds its shape so well after being lightly fried, which also gives it a slightly crunchy batter.

Laksa Eating 101: Lean close, breathe, slurp, repeat.
Oriental Chicken Chop - $15.50
Being a staple food in Asian cuisine, the rice section in the menu is the biggest and mightiest. There are different combinations of proteins and vegetables that are served with 3 different rices - chicken rice, coconut rice and biryani. The chicken chop is a large fillet that is breadcrumbed and deep fried, giving it a slightly crunchy exterior. Served on the side is a small medley of vegetables and an aromatic portion of chicken rice with the fragrant scent and taste of ginger throughout.

My love for rice has earned me my affectionate nickname, Rice Bucket, given to me by my parents. I have not felt a love so true - indeed my favourite part of this dish was that fragrant rice, which I could devour on its own.
Roti Canai - $7.50
The one golden rule I personally have for eating at PappaRich is to order the roti canai. I urge you to experience the goodness of hot and freshly made, flaky, yet fluffy, yet crispy roti for yourself, as it is glaringly one of PappaRich's in house specialties. Towards the end of this post I've included some pictures and an animation compiled of the photographs we took of the roti sifu in action haha.
Close up of the roti canai
There is something so simply satisfying about diving in with your bare hands and tearing apart a hot, flaky piece of roti, feeling the warmth between your fingers before you dunk it in the accompanying sambal, dhal and curry sauces. It is one of my all time favourites - the feel, the aroma, the taste. I've finally found the answer to that annoying question, 'What would you take with you to a deserted island?'. Roti it is.
Mixed Satay (6 pieces)  - $13.90
Another golden rule of life is diversification, which I have followed completely by choosing the option of mixed satays. This gives you homemade satay peanut sauce, cucumber, sliced red onion and 3 skewers each of beef and chicken, both deliciously marinated and grilled. A pet hate of mine is very dark, charcoaled skewers of satay which supposedly give it a rich, flame-licked taste and aroma, but to me tastes of bitterness. I quite like PappaRich's satay skewers, which are perfectly (perfect in my eyes anyway) marinated with fresh lemongrass and turmeric before being grilled to give it a deliciously warm aroma.
Chicken satays
Beef satays
I know it is easy to go OTT with the satay flattery, but I truly did enjoy the satay skewers. Both were great in their own right, as both meats were juicy and tender.

Which was my favourite?

Hmm. Both.
Biryani rice with beef rendang and sambal prawns
There were quite a few instances during dinner where dishes were being delivered to our table which weren't actually ours - though for a split second I did wonder if I subconsciously ordered another main meal and another roti canai without realising I did. We would have dug right in into this biryani rice dish that wasn't actually ours.

See sometimes, it's lucky that I have an obsession with taking photos of my meals. I didn't eat this, but here's a photograph of it. Just because.
Sago Pudding - $5.50
What made me LOL during ordering was after Andy told me to order the sago pudding and the tau foo fa dessert, then followed this up by asking, "So what are you having for dessert?" Quite naturally, I answered with "YOUR dessert!" as I was somewhat sure we would have quite possibly imploded by the time we got to dessert.

Just as well, the sago pudding is a small, delicate dessert of sago pearls topped with a sweet red bean mixture and sugar syrup. Surrounding the pudding is a moat of coconut milk that adds an overall creamy texture to the dessert.
Tau Foo Fa King with Gula Melaka - $5.50
Another famous dessert that reigns in the world of Asian desserts is the tau fu fa, or tofu/soybean pudding in a more Westernised context. This is a favourite of many, winning hearts and bellies over with its soft, silky texture that quite literally slips and slides down your throat. 
Tofu pudding dessert
With a name that is at risk of looking like those you see in internet memes, PappaRich's 'tau fu fa king' is as silky as I had expected. The tofu has a nice glossy sheen and is served in a bowl of palm sugar syrup. I would have loved it even more if the tofu had a texture that was slightly less firm and if it were served at a warmer temperature.

Whilst some prefer it cold, my personal preference for eating tau fu fa is a toasty, comforting and warm temperature whilst it is pelting buckets just outside the door.
PappaRich drinks service area
The making of roti
Just before we take ourselves and our loaded stomachs and roll out the door, we get an up close experience watching roti being made by a staff member who had been flown interstate to receive training in this very important skill. We watch as a small disc of dough very quickly turn into a large, paper thin sheet as it is kneaded, flipped, whacked, pounded and goes through a series of aerobatics.

Whilst these may appear as very large movements, the art of making roti itself is a fine and delicate process to ensure that perfect roti canai is served flaky and fluffy every time. I admit describing the process using words such as whacked and pounded does not do it justice very well haha, but hey, here's what I mean:
I'm kinda close, right?
A bright, welcoming interior
 I'm quite in love with the interior design of PappaRich, which features a lot of deep, earthy colours contrasting with the many light sources that brighten up the dining space. It is very much an 'Order-Eat-Leave' eating environment, but the warm smiles from the many, many staff members still help to fuel Perth's voracious appetite for Malaysian cuisine.

Yay for PappaRich making little old Perth its big new home!
PappaRich, Northbridge
Sun - Thurs: 10.30am - 9.30pm
Fri - Sat: 10.30am - 10.30pm

Tel: (08) 6361 1766
101 James Street, Northbridge WA 6003
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