PappaRich is instantly recognizable at its Northbridge locale on James Street by the presence of a line zigzagging the red cutbacks out front. I decided to try the place due to its obvious popularity and proximity to The Wombats concert at Metro City.
The waiters were fast in finding us a seat and helpful in explaining how service works. Items are selected by code, which is filled in on your personal order card with quantity and any dietary requirements. Once ready to order, you press the buzzer on your table and a waiter swiftly comes and collects your order card. There are two things I noticed immediately about the menu. The first was the sheer size, with plenty of options of combinations including Nasi Lemak, Curries, Beef Rendang, Satay and Roti Canai to mention a few. The second was no alcohol. This is probably due to cultural respect as Malaysia is an Islamic country. On offer are a variety of Malaysia Favourites ranging from traditional tea and coffee to the bizarre.
Service was fast, I mean really fast. When I looked down after we handed our card over to the waiter my Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang and Iced Lemon Tea was staring right back at me. The Roti Canai takes longer to prepare so my friend was waiting a bit while I tucked in. The Nasi Lemak was served traditionally with all the necessary sides including boiled egg, fried white bait and peanuts. The Beef Rendang was slow cooked to the point it pulled apart at the softest touch. The curry was very good but there was a dominant taste of Star Anise. My friend’s Roti Canai with curry came out and I was very impressed with the curry which was very flavorsome and the meat was cooked just right. The Roti, on the other hand, was quite sweet which I found a let down.
The drinks arrived after five minutes and were sickly sweet. For someone who grew up drinking bubble tea and experiencing first hand Asians ability to consume vast amount of sugar, this broke me. I worried afterwards my teeth might glow from the artificial flavors.
For me, PappaRich defines my experience of eating in tourist traps of Kuala Lumpur. Curries are good but are premade and delivered as fast as possible. The drinks are overly sweet leading to cavities. A good friend of mine who is Malaysian and a fantastic cook assures me that it’s not representative of proper Malaysian food. I hope next time to review a restaurant that meets his standards.