Very few of us have the luxury of not working on our birthdays. But most of us can squeeze in a dinner with friends and a good night’s sleep in our own beds. Unfortunately for D, he was rostered on for night shift, so it was only two weeks later that T, N and I celebrated his birthday with him.
We’re at PappaRich in Parramatta, conveniently located in western Sydney for D and I, as well as T who was returning from his weekly stint in Katoomba. After a disappointing experience with their Hainanese Chicken at their Broadway branch, I was eager to try out the rest of their menu.
We arrive at 7 to a considerable queue. PappaRich doesn’t take reservations, so we join the queue, and we’re seated in around 15 minutes. They’re short on tables, though, and they end up squeezing the four of us on a tablet meant for two. We manage.
I go for Roti canai with Curry Chicken ($13.90). The addition of chicken makes it easier to order as a main than as something to share. The roti is less soft and fluffy than the ones at Mamak, but still have a beautiful eggy flavour without being too dense like a naan. The curries are lentil and sambal. I’m always more of a fan of the lentil curries, which are pleasantly mild, than the sambal, which has a pleasant sweetness to it before the heat becomes overwhelming for my sensitive tongue. The chicken was a tad too overdone, but I really only ordered the chicken for my protein fix, so I didn’t mind.
D gets the Roti Canai with Tandoori Chicken ($14.90). D immensely enjoys this dish. He finds the roti fluffy enough for his liking — he’s particularly sensitive to doughy foods. The chicken was pleasantly warm and looked much juicier than my pieces of chicken, probably from being left on the bone. With his higher tolerance for spicy foods, he enjoyed the heat of the sambal.
N tries the Curry Laksa ($13.90), with hokkien noodles in spicy coconut curry soup with chicken slices, beancurd skin, bean sprouts, eggplant and fish cake. N quite enjoyed her laksa and counts it among the best she’s had — the soup had a higher ratio of coconut milk to shrimp paste, and noodles weren’t rice noodles as commonly used, and the eggplant was a new and tasty addition.
T goes for the Pappa Prawn Mee ($13.90) with flour noodles in an anchovy based soup served with minced chicken, fried anchovies, mushrooms, spinach and topped with half boiled egg and pan mee soup chilli on the side. A quick taste of the pan mee soup chilli with a chopstick alerts T that its heat is off the charts, so he goes without. He enjoys the resulting prawn noodle soup.
And the drinks! D orders the Mango Mania ($6.90) with ice blended mango with whole (canned) lychees, lychee jelly cubes and watermelon balls. The drink was refreshing with lots of tasty additions. I particularly enjoyed the lychee jelly cubes — they had a good bite.
I try the Open Sesame ($7.50), ice blended black sesame with soya milk and sesame ice cream. This is one strong hit of black sesame, which isn’t something I usually find with black sesame drinks. The use of soy milk enhances the nuttiness of the black sesame and is perfect for people with lactose intolerance. It’s not too sweet and I enjoy the the grit from the ground black sesame.
T tries the Ribena Melon ($6.90) with ice blended ribena and watermelon with watermelon balls and lychee jellies. I couldn’t taste the watermelon over the Ribena, but it was evident in the gritty texture. And N goes for the tropical lime with ice blended lychee and lime with vanilla ice cream. The taste of lychee wasn’t evident, likely overpowered by the lime, and the vanilla ice cream left a not entirely comfortable creamy sensation to what is usually a frappe.
On a later visit to the store in Macquarie Park, I try the Matcha Rocks ($7.50) with ice blended green tea and red bean paste and green tea ice cream. I’d have enjoyed a stronger matcha taste, which was barely detectable here against the richness of the red bean paste. D tries the Red Bean ($5.90) with ice blended red bean and more red bean paste. The two drinks tasted rather similar, with the former being more creamy.
And with dessert to finish off, I have the Hainan Toasted Bread with Butter & Kaya ($5.50). I love thick cut toast for the fluffy innards hidden beneath the crunchy exterior, but the toast here was much too old or dried out to have any fluffiness. It also came out cold so the butter had no opportunity to melt into the toast. The kaya, though, was beautifully smooth and fragrant.
PappaRich is located at Westfield Parramatta, 2185A/159 – 175 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150 and Upper Level 3, Macquarie Centre, Cnr Herring & Waterloo Roads, North Ryde, 2113 NSW.