AFTER weeks of buzz, popular Malaysian restaurant franchise PappaRich has opened shop in Melbourne. Meld Magazine dropped by QV to see what all the fuss is about.
With 50 outlets nationwide, PappaRich has been one of Malaysia’s more successful franchises, promising “high quality” local fare at affordable prices and with the “finest fresh ingredients”. So it’s no wonder then that when the coffee shop-style eatery opened its doors on Monday, the queue was so long, staff were telling customers they were better off coming back the next day.
Situated at QV Square, PappaRich is run by the same people who managed Old Town Kopitiam Mamak, another popular Malaysian franchise that operated out of the same location. The new restaurant boasts a more polished and inviting interior, however, with wooden tables, green leather booths and palm fronds (if you needed reminding it’s a Malaysian joint).
Like its predecessor, PappaRich serves up “koptiam” fare, from slices of toasted bread with coconut jam or kaya to “oriental chicken chop”. But prices are slightly steeper than some of it’s Melbourne competition, ranging from $5.50 for plain roti canai to $12.90 for Pappa Special Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken and Sambal Prawn.
Even so, Pappa Rich’s general manager Jian Hui Lee has described business so far as “hectic” with dishes selling out before the day’s end. He said the most popular orders so far were curry laksa, nasi lemak, chicken rice and curry chicken.
Aside from its prime location, PappaRich’s greatest selling point is the variety of it’s menu, particularly its vegetarian fare and colourful drinks selection. The coffee shop offers vegetarian dim sum, briyani and even nasi lemak with vegetarian mutton curry – already setting itself apart from most of its competition. For $3.30 to $7.20, Pappa Rich boasts more than 20 beverage choices as well, from Pappa Cham to Ribena melon and soy milk pudding .
For now PappaRich will be closing its doors at 10pm every night, but Lee says after a month, restaurant hours may extend to “supper time” ala its Malaysian counterparts.
We sampled some of PappaRich’s dishes with the help of our friends. Here’s what we thought:
Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken
For a dish that builds on the flavours of its different components, we thought this Nasi Lemak could have left a greater impact with a stronger hit of coconut milk in the rice, lots more ikan bilis and less sugar and chilli overpowering the sambal. Overall, though, the curry chicken was satisfactory and the portion size good.
Roti Canai (with curry chicken, dhal and sambal)
The general consensus was that the roti canai seemed a little too crisp. But seeing as they’re made on the spot, Malaysian-style, this is something easily remedied with a simple request to the waiter. The dhal was a big miss though for everyone, with an oddly spicy aftertaste. This was puzzling as Old Town, run by the same management, had been known for its good dhal.
Wat Tan Hor
This was the winner of the night, scoring points for tasting “just like back home.”
Pappa Asam Laksa
While mostly pleasant, we thought this could have packed more of a punch to live up to its reputation as the most “sour” of all the laksas.
Vegetarian Biryani with Curry Mutton
The “mutton” in this was too dry but overall we were happy with this. A great change from the usual vegetarian fare on offer in Melbourne.
As with many Malaysian eateries here, the Milo Dinosaur was lacking the generous spoonfuls of Milo powder we’re usually treated to in Malaysia.
While some of the layers had begun to merge by the time this got to us, this tea was both sweet and creamy.
Soya Milk Jelly (iced)
This was a pleasant combination of palm sugar syrup, grass jelly and soy bean milk.
Bearing in mind we didn’t get to sample all of their many dishes and that this was their first day – and a crazy one at that – our experience at PappaRich while not amazing, was good enough for us to consider coming back again. As one of our tasters, Jie, says, ”It’s pricey but I’d come back because of the types of food they have on offer”.
Price aside, PappaRich’s inviting ambience, variety of food and drink and their amazing location will undoubtedly guarantee continuous patronage from Malaysians and non-Malaysians alike.
Special thanks to Elena Tan, Jie Lim and Leyshani Naidu for lending us their palettes.
Have you been to PappaRich at QV, Melbourne? Tried something we didn’t? Share your experiences with us below!