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Papparich-7

PappaRich, Northbridge

PappaRich

In case you’ve missed it, Malaysian chain PappaRich has finally opened its doors in Perth.

We arrived at approximately 12:05pm on Saturday. We expected a wait. The queue was long – alarmingly long, by Perth standards – forcing a few ahead of us, and probably more behind us, to shake their heads and say ‘no more’.

I smiled (an annoying, knowing smile, I’m sure), because it reminded me a lot of our visit to Sydney’s much loved Malaysian food destination, Mamak. Lines around the block around their locations are just what you do, and though frustrating, make an excellent hunger-inducing activity.

PappaRich

But we were relieved to find that the wait wasn’t nearly as long as expected (only 35 minutes), and no naps were required for either of us.

PappaRich

The ordering system at PappaRich is simple, and takes ordering anxiety out of the equation with ‘chits'; ordering slips that you use to mark your table number, dishes and quantities on, before passing it on to your friendly wait person – summoned to your table via table bell.

The extensive menu had us both entranced for a good five minutes or so, but we eventually settled on a number of dishes. And when I say ‘a number’, I’m kind of horrified that we ordered that much food.

Between two people.

We did it for science – i.e. this blog, which seems to be a pretty common excuse ’round these parts.

PappaRich

My three layer tea (Teh C special, iced – $$4.50) was the first to arrive, starting from the bottom with a layer of gula melaka (palm sugar syrup), evaporated milk and topped finally with chilled teh tarik over ice cubes. I’m a big teh tarik fan at the best of times, but when this beauty’s on the menu, you can bet I’m going to order it, as that layer of sweet caramelly palm sugar makes an already great beverage even better.

PappaRich

J opted for a classic with a twist – iced soya milk with pudding ($4.90), which came with a snowy cap of whipped cream  and a drizzle of more of the good stuff (gula melaka!). I didn’t get the appeal, but it got his seal of approval. I still don’t understand it, but then, pudding is J’s favourite bubble tea (boba) add-on, so I guess it makes sense.

PappaRich

The food started to arrive quickly, with the first, and probably the most worrying choice of the day: Pappa deep fried chicken skin ($6.90).

As the name suggests, this is indeed a plate of seasoned deep fried chicken skin, and not much else. Well, also sweet chili sauce.

The mere sight of this dish made my heart flutter a little. Perhaps in sympathy for my arteries.

Crunchy, chickeny and just a bit spicy (dusted with some turmeric before frying, I think), this plate of skin could be just your thing. Or your idea of hell.

I honestly thought I’d love it more, being an avid skin-on person where chicken’s concerned. It was good. But I think I could do without it. And the associated feelings of self-doubt and dietary guilt.

PappaRich

When there’s Nasi Lemak ($13.90) on the menu, I’m ordering it.

PappaRich actually offers several options, from the basic fried chicken or curry chicken accompaniment to the ritzy ‘two dish’ option, that comes upgraded with chicken curry and prawn sambal.

I’m always going to choose the classic fried chicken option, as I don’t really like the added curry masking the flavour of the coconut rice or sambal that comes as standard with the dish.

The chicken offered here is dusted in curry powder before frying, so it’s a little spicy but still mild. The classic Nasi Lemak side dishes, sliced cucumber, boiled egg, fried anchovies (Ikan Bilis), fried peanuts and sambal blachan are also included.

The sambal here had a decent chili kick, but I personally found it a little on the sweet side. I’d have preferred a bit more savoury umaminess from the toasted blachan (shrimp paste).

PappaRichI had no idea breakfast carbs were included on PappaRich’s standard menu until we arrived. and I realised that they open from 10.30am.

J just couldn’t stop himself from ordering some steamed mantou with kaya ($4.90). Think of the steamed buns as a vessel for thick yellow slabs of butter and generous schemers of kaya (a sort of custard-like coconut and egg “jam”). They’re really the stars of the show.

PappaRich

We split a mixed serve of satay ($13.90), which looked like one of the most popular dishes that day. Three sticks of chicken and three sticks of beef are served with the classic partners – cucumber, red onion and peanut sauce.

Both the chicken and beef were nicely tender, but I think they could have been grilled a little longer for that great taste you only get from charcoal grilled food.

The peanut sauce wasn’t particularly spicy and would be easily managed by most people. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of peanut taste. It looked like it had been cooked with a lot of onion, which bulks out the sauce once it’s blended. Like the sambal that came with my Nasi Lemak, it was also a little sweeter than I’d usually prefer.

PappaRichAnd with Malaysian appetites that just won’t quit, we figured we’d order a roti canai and chicken curry ($12.90), because, at this point, it was clear that this was one of those meals.

The roti canai was right on the mark with a light and silky interior and crispy, flaky crust. Served with chicken curry, a small ladleful of dhal and another of sambal to amp up the heat, this was probably my favourite dish of the day.

If you eat it with your fingers (in true Malaysian style) and close your eyes, for a minute, you might just forget you’re in the middle of Northbridge, and the memory of the wait to get inside will have all but disappeared.

Papparich Northbridge on Urbanspoon

Note

At the time of publishing this post, the Northbridge store is the only PappaRich outlet in WA. But hold on to your hats, because there’s another store opening soon in Carousel – Shop 1173, 1382 Albany Hwy, Cannington.

The opening date is still to be advised.

 

 

Eating with your fingers is a must

Sri Devi Curry House, Northbridge

When J’s parents mentioned a new Indian Malaysian restaurant, Sri Devi Curry House, had popped up where Mak’s Place and later, Ipoh’s Corner, used to be, and that it was far superior to its predecessors, we were only too happy to join them for lunch to find out for ourselves.

In the interests of science and blog research, of course.

Upon arrival, we bumped into two of J’s parents’ oldest friends, who had decided to drop into Sri Devi last minute. With our group boosted to six, it meant more hands (and bellies) on deck to try out the food on offer.

Lunch at Sri Devi

One of the biggest draws of Sri Devi, for J’s dad, was the Saturday special, fish head curry. As we waited for ours to arrive, we spotted an older Chinese gentleman eating an entire bowl solo, with Just a small bowl of plain rice and a glass of water. A good sign.

Fresh pink snapper heads were used in this curry, swimming in a light curry sauce that packed reasonable heat and a great tang from the added tomatoes, lemongrass and turmeric.

Enjoying fish head curry is a relatively new thing for me – it always used to be “mum and dad food” at home – not a kid favourite, and therefore, cooked with extra chili.

Lunch at Sri Devi

We also shared two serves of vegetarian biryani ($7.00), which came laden with whole spices (cumin, cardamom), with lots of curry leaves and coriander mixed through. I found the biryani a surprise stand out. It was fragrant with just a touch of heat, and would have satisfied my appetite on its own, without the addition of meat or chicken.

Lunch at Sri Devi

J’s mum was more keen on murtabak ($12.00), and now I can totally understand why, after trying this one from Sri Devi.

Lunch at Sri Devi

Minced chicken, onion and egg are wrapped here in a thin roti canai (paratha) dough before being fried on the flat top grill. J’s mum and I got to chatting about the relative merits of murtabak, both agreeing that most places add way too much onion, leaving you with an unbalanced mix of flavours and textures. The onion to chicken ratio here was spot on.

The choice of chicken (instead of the usual mutton) was great too, as I’m not the biggest fan of mutton, generally. And if you’re feeling fishy – there’s even a sardine option too. (I assume ayam brand in tomato sauce? :))

Lunch at Sri Devi

Neither J or I could go past the roti canai, $6.00 for one, served with a meat curry sauce and dhal.

Lunch at Sri Devi

The roti canai here is *almost* as good as my mum’s. Or maybe my aunty’s. It’s smooth and silky on the inside, without a hint of toughness (a sure sign of over worked dough or too little ghee) and fried to flaky, golden perfection.

Frankly, I could eat these unadorned, every day, Monday through Friday – if overconsumption of ghee wasn’t at all a concern.

Lunch at Sri Devi

Teh tarik (“pulled” tea, $3.50) is on the drinks menu, and is the perfect thing to take the edge off the chili heat of your meal.

Alternatively, you might find other Malaysian favourites like Teh ice, Milo tarik or Nescafe (hot or cold), more your thing?

Sri Devi

The food was so good that J and I still weren’t satisfied, a full week after this meal. We found ourselves unmistakably craving roti canai ….

This time, we also sampled the Idli and sambal (a serve of 2 idli, $5.00) a South Indian specialty usually served at breakfast time.

Idli, if you haven’t tried them, are steamed savoury cakes. They’re made from a sourdough-like fermented batter, that contains finely ground rice and lentils. Once they’re steamed, they become light and fluffy, and they’re served hot – usually with two kinds of chutney (one chili-based, and one coconut-based).

Thosai are also offered on the menu – we shared one with J’s parents on our first visit (no picture, because we were too busy eating, sorry). Plain, egg, onion, cheese and masala options are all available, starting at $7.50 each.

Sri Devi

Sri Devi Curry House on Urbanspoon

The Old Crow, Northbridge

Breakfast at The Old Crow

There’s something seriously magical about a slow cooked egg. Cooked in their shells below boiling point for far longer than the usual (65 degrees celsius for 65 minutes) – the resulting egg is soft and silky, but quite solidly set.

This weekend,  I met the slow cooked egg of my dreams, at The Old Crow in Northbridge.

Breakfast at The Old Crow

The slow cooked egg was served with a flavoursome mix of lightly sauteed mushrooms including fresh shiitake, portabello and button varieties ($19.00). I really enjoyed the meaty texture of the mushrooms. Lightly browned just a hint of caramelisation, they really satisfied my craving for something something - though they weren’t my usual breakfast go-tos (bacon, chipolatas).

Breakfast at The Old Crow

The provolone croquettes were seriously good. A delightful contradiction, even. Crisp yet pillowy soft. Salty yet just barely sweet. Rich but amazingly light and almost fluffy.

When paired with the rich red sauce (hidden beneath the mix of mushrooms and croquettes) – utterly moreish.

Breakfast at The Old Crow

As well established gluttons, it was hard to ignore the fried potatoes with cajun salt and ranch ($9.00). ‘They’re a bargain!’ we said. ‘But I’m starving’, I assured J.

But try as we might, we were utterly defeated by these crunchy beauties. I’m guessing their fantastic crunch and deep golden brown was the result of being double-fried (or par-boiled then fried). The cajun salt had a kick that was perfectly offset by the cool and creamy ranch dressing.

Breakfast at The Old Crow

Getting into the weekend spirit, J kicked off his meal with a mustardy, spicy Bloody Mary ($15.00). I’m not much of a fan of tomato juice …so he enjoyed that by himself! (My usual soy flat white did the trick, thanks.)

Breakfast at The Old Crow

Though I passed on the Bloody Mary, J’s choice of cowboy beans and eggs with belly bacon ($18.00) was much more covetable – just check out that charry belly bacon!

We both really loved the faint sweetness and subtle smoke of the beans. They tasted like the real deal – cooked low and slow with a flavoursome tomato-based sauce and probably a meaty bacon bone or two for a mellow yet flavourful punch. Mild hints of cumin, paprika and maple (I think) were a highlight.

Suffice it to say – we’re really quite smitten. The food and drink options we tried were really well executed. It’s a well thought out menu that’s got options, but isn’t so big that you just can’t pick. The service was friendly, but more importantly quick and efficient. It was a great way to start my weekend!

Breakfast at The Old Crow

The Old Crow on Urbanspoon

In other Juji Chews news…

After much debate, pro and con lists, and general procrastinating … I’m now officially a Mac user. Bye bye, old laptop. You served me well.

It’s weird but exciting, and I’m getting the hang of the command button. And holy crap, when I’m using Lightroom to post-process my photos … oof. This thing looks amazing!

Are you a Mac person or a PC die-hard? Opinions? Favourite tricks? Got any advice for Mac noobs? Make sure you share in the comments!

U & I Cafe, Northbridge

U & I Cafe

Pho bo vien – sliced raw beef and beef balls

I guess I should start this post by stating: I am by no means a pho connoisseur. But I know what I like, and if the empty bowl on my table at U & I Cafe on Sunday morning is anything to go by, then I guess it was pretty good!

Did I mention we ate this pho at 7.30am on a Sunday? Though this pho neophyte may not be the best judge of authenticity, one thing I will say is, it’s exciting to see a 24-hour restaurant in Perth (that doesn’t have golden arches).

More exciting still, when you can enjoy your morning coffee, Vietnamese style, drip filtered with a generous slug of super-sweet creamy condensed milk. You can have it over ice (which is listed on the menu), or hot – as we attempted to ask for. Luckily our patient waitress was totally on board with my inability to describe what I wanted that early in the morning!

U & I Cafe

Pho tai – with sliced raw beef

My pho tai was fragrant with a light, beefy broth. I would have really loved a stronger spicier kick from the usual suspects – start anise, cinnamon, coriander and fennel seed – though it definitely packed a black pepper punch.

The onions in the soup were just al dente, which was a great textural contrast with the soft slippery rice noodles. The beef was perfectly tender, and cut to a good thickness – with a bit of bite, but not so thick it was hard to chew.

Lashings of Sriracha and oyster sauce with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon were essential here, as the soup didn’t seem to be overly seasoned.

U & I Cafe

I’ve been reliably informed by my friend G that other dishes on the menu here, like the Bo Kho which comes served with a crusty baguette, are worth trying out. I’m keen to see what they’re like, maybe at dinner so I can sample other items not on their “overnight” (10.00pm – 10.00am) menu!

U & I Cafe on Urbanspoon

Good Fortune Roast Duck House, Northbridge

Good Fortune Roast Duck

Crunchy tiles of pork crackle. Sweet, sticky char siu. Star anise laced duck, bronzed to perfection. If there’s a Chinese roast meat in creation that’s bad, then, I don’t think we’ve met….

J and I joined his family at Good Fortune Roast Duck House for lunch on a recent Sunday. K (J’s brother) and I were more than a little excited when the three meat combination arrived. We went with a selection of char siu, roast pork and roast duck – perfect for sharing in a group, and even better for the indecisive.

The roast meats on offer here are delicious, but I’m still convinced they’re better at my favourite roast meat shop, Hong Kong Barbecue.

Good Fortune Roast Duck

The reason why J’s parents chose Good Fortune for this particular lunch, was because J’s Dad had heard lots of good things about the other dishes on offer here.

It’s no wonder, when they serve up beauties like this salt and pepper flounder. Topped with a fragrant rubble of chopped spring onions, chili, golden fried garlic and generous amounts of salt and pepper, the tender white fish is hard to resist. The fish has been deep fried until both its tail and fins are as crunchy as the pork crackle on offer at the restaurant.

Good Fortune Roast Duck

The surprise star of the show is the stir fried long beans with pork mince. It’s not complex by any means, but is a definite crowd pleaser, with tender pieces of crunchy green beans and fragrant soy-laced pork mince.

The soft chunky pieces of onion throughout make me smile, reminding me of my late Grandmother’s version of this dish. I used to hate the onions (and the beans) with a passion as a kid – but luckily for me that’s not any issue any more – as I’d be missing out on this great dish.

Good Fortune Roast Duck

We’d ordered conservatively, deciding that three dishes between us (with rice) would be enough. But by the end of the roast, the fish and the beans … we knew we wanted a little more.

In the end, these sticky barbecue chicken wings were our choice – one which none of us had ever tried before. These sweet and sticky wings were coated in the same marinade as the char siu, and were the perfect small bite for these gluttons.

Good Fortune Roast Duck

One thing I love about roast duck restaurants? The Hong Kong style drinks! Sweet and strong iced coffee and iced milk teas were our beverage of choice.

Good Fortune Roast Duck

Good Fortune Roast Duck House on Urbanspoon

Love Thy Neighbour, Northbridge

Love Thy Neighbour

When it comes to warm and fuzzy feelings for my fellow man, I’ve got to confess – I’m a much nicer person once I’ve had my morning coffee.

And breakfast. Let’s not forget about the most important meal of the day!

Love Thy Neighbour

On a recent Saturday, my husband J (die-hard coffee nerd) suggested we drop by at one of his favourite coffee finds in Northbridge, the aptly named Love Thy Neighbour (LTN), and I was very keen to see if their caffeine and grub would help improve my mood.

Love Thy Neighbour

Their coffee, made with the house blend ‘seven’, was strong, flavourful (with a slight fruitiness) and damn good. It comes from Single Origin Roasters in Surry Hills – which I’m pretty sure I wandered past at least once on my last visit to Sydney.

J was equally impressed with his traditional long macchiato, and neither of us hesitated when we were offered a second round.

Love Thy Neighbour

J’s brioche breakfast came with softly scrambled eggs, house cured trout on a lightly toasted individual brioche. The Organic Loafers brioche was beautifully light and pillow-soft with a golden glow that only comes from the addition of fresh egg yolks.

Actually, this was declared some damn good brioche. I’m sure it would have been perfectly satisfying on its own, with a generous smear of jam.

But partnered with the salty-sweetness of the trout and the creamy eggs, this golden, buttery bread was even better!

Love Thy Neighbour

When there’s a biscuit on the menu, you’d better believe I’m going to order it. It took all of eight and a half seconds for me to make up my mind, and I’m hoping if you visit LTN, you’ll do the right thing and make the same choice.

Love Thy Neighbour

The American-style biscuit is rarely seen on Aussie menus, a rare mysterious breakfast (and any time) food that’s probably closest to a scone, but usually lighter in texture, dusted in cornmeal, and often made in it’s homeland with the snowiest of unnatural looking cooking fats – Crisco.

Love Thy Neighbour

The money shot – the bacon was hiding.

I don’t think the partially-hydrogenated-police have anything to worry about with the biscuits on offer at LTN.

The lovely light biscuit served here sandwiched a generous combination of fresh spinach, bacon, spicy homemade chutney, cheddar cheese with a softly set egg over easy.

I was glad the egg was cooked to the point of being slightly oozy, but just enough to ensure it didn’t dribble out of my biscuit.

It’s a deliciously different departure from the usual Saturday morning fry up that still manages all the main hangover food groups – in a neat carby package!

Truth be told, even though I was relatively stuffed after this, I did entertain ideas of other breakfast “snacks”.

Love Thy Neighbour

And how could I not, with the promise of smoked white chocolate ice cream, spotted on the blackboard as we wandered inside?

Consider my interest piqued. If I ever try it, you bet I’ll be telling you all about it.

Love Thy Neighbour

Oh hai, J’s phantom hand!

Love Thy Neighbour

Love Thy Neighbour are located at the rear of William Street Arcade, next to Ezra Pound. The team have recently expanded the seating area, so there’s choices for all – inside and out, bikes optional.

Love Thy Neighbour on Urbanspoon

Opening hours

Monday – Friday
6.30am – 5.00pm

Saturday
7.30am – 4.00pm

Closed Sundays

Is Donburi, Northbridge

IS Donburi

Miso chicken katsu don, $13.80

When my sister told me that Northbridge’s latest Japanese hot spot, Is Doburi was serving their katsu don with a special misonaise, I was very keen to taste it for myself.

And taste it I did, on both the pork, AND chicken katsu don, when I visited Is Donburi on a recent Friday night.

The combination of a crunchy katsu and egg is a classic Japanse combination that’s just perfect over fluffy white rice. All of the chicken and egg toppings I’d previously enjoyed were quickly coated in a sweet-salty soy sauce, but here, Is Donburi has kicked it up a notch, drizzling their protein double-team with a house made misonaise – mayonnaise and miso! Together! It’s the perfect balance of creamy and salty with just a hint of something-something, the fifth taste – umami.

Each donburi here comes with a complimentary side salad and bowl of miso soup, which are perfect to round out an already satisfying meal.

IS Donburi

Combination sashimi 9 pieces, $16.80 – featuring salmon, tuna and kingfish

Both J and I were very glad to welcome this stunning sashimi combination to our table. The fresh chunks of tuna were smooth and creamy – without a hint of the rough, almost gritty texture that’s common with low grade fish. The salmon is similarly swoon-worthy, lightly rippled with fat, with a pleasingly firm bite.

IS Donburi

The delightful kingfish

But it’s the kingfish on offer at IS Donburi is, that is seriously outstanding. We were both impressed with the care taken in the chef’s knife work on the lightly scored skin-side of the flesh, and floored when we nibbled on the fish itself.

It’s fresh with a distinct sweetness. Fish this fresh is offset so well by a smidge of wasasbi and a light drizzle of soy sauce.

I’m always pleased when I find a new food destination is as exciting and satisfying as everyone tells me it is. I’m now definitely a misonaise convert, and the sashimi was so good it had us talking about it for days. So much so that we returned in less than a week to sample the big kahuna (15 pieces for $26.50) !

On both our visits we were glad to find that service was consistently friendly and efficient. The kitchen and front of house teams handle service with a smile, all while managing a constant stream of customers eating in and ordering take away.

Is Donburi is a great little spot, whether you’re picking up lunch on the run (check out the spring roll sushi handroll!) or looking for comfortable place to eat in.

Is Donburi William Street on Urbanspoon

Open daily 11.30am to 9.30pm