I’ve dined at most of the PappaRich stores in Victoria and the Glen Waverley and Chadstone stores I would say are the best of the bunch. Although, I’ve heard from numerous people the Doncaster outlet is above all, I have actually yet to try it even though it’s now the closest one to me. Go figure.
Malaysian cuisine has almost become part of the Melbourne dining experience with Nasi Goreng or even Laksa as commonly known dishes to most. What isn’t as well known is probably the more Indian or Malay influenced Malaysian dishes such as their Nasi Kandar style dishes which is usually rice served with curry and side dishes.
PappaRich has a decent selection of menu choices such as beef rendang or curry chicken or even prawns and eggplant for instance. Generally, I would say you can’t go wrong with it and the Biryani offerings I would say are pretty darn tasty.
Their Har Mee (Pappa Prawn Mee) is one of my favourite Malaysian dishes. Some restaurants tend to water down their prawn soup base, but here it’s still full flavoured. My only con is that it’s just overly oily. Otherwise it’s something I can probably rely on being satisfied with.
As mentioned before, PappaRich Glen Waverley is one of my preferred PappaRich outlets and both service and food quality is above average. Although finding a table during peak times can be the most challenging issue of it all. Queuing is almost the norm there. However, to be honest I would probably prefer to dine at Petaling Street for my Malaysian fix at Glen Waverley. Though, you’re really spoilt for choice with Kitchen Inn, Straits of Malacca and O’Town all within walking distance from each other.
Ipoh Koay Teow Soup with Steamed Chicken, Pappa Prawn Mee, Pappa Special Nasi Lemak
People that frequent Sydney may know of Mamak in Chinatown, and it’s popularity over there has seemingly lead to Mamak opening down in Melbourne late last year. Serving Malaysian food and leaning towards a more Indian/Malaysian style cuisine, they don’t offer a large selection of food but what they do focus on, they do it well.
Mamak’s popularity also extends to Melbourne, having walked passed there even before it opened I saw a few groups of people waiting until it was officially opened. I don’t know if it’s that honeymoon period most places have but I have a feeling it’s probably not just due to that.
We ordered their Curry Chicken Nasi Lemak, almost a staple of Malaysian cuisine, side note, even the Air Asia’s Nasi Lemak isn’t that bad, all things considered (
plain plane food) . This is their only rice dish unless you order the mains but they do also offer a few different sides with the Nasi Lemak such as curry chicken, sambal prawns or friend chicken at varying price points.
What was instantly pleasing was their sambal, it was spicy, sweet and basically just right. Their chicken wasn’t too bad either! It was cooked well, and the curry sauce didn’t have too many spices that some other restaurants seem to put. For the price though at $11.50 it definitely leans on the pricier side, Nasi Lemak tends to be under $10 due to it’s simple ingredients and easy to cook. I remember eating Nasi Lemak wrapped in banana leaves (smaller size) and with no meat in Malaysia for roughly $1 AUD. Bad comparison but now I feel like visiting Malaysian again.
We ordered a dozen Chicken and Beef satay for $16 and this again leans on the pricier side and the portions also seemed quite small but the sauce and flavour makes up for it. I really liked the satay sauce, it was spicy, and just sweet enough but I found it to be different to satay sauces I’ve had. It was nutty but didn’t seem to have that overwhelming peanut taste to it. If you ever venture towards Dandenong Market there is this fantastic satay shop near the Fish and Meat area, it has the best tasting satay sauce and chicken/beef satays at a reasonable price. You can buy them cooked, or uncooked (refrigerated or frozen). Really good.
I found the chicken satays to be the better of the two, having a more robust grilled flavour but still being able to taste the chicken. That’s not to say the beef wasn’t good either, but it certainly seemed a bit tougher in comparison.
I always jump at the chance to order Murtabak because it seems so rare around these parts, well, it’s certainly getting more popular so that’s a plus. I prefer the Lamb Murtabak due to the flavour of lamb oozing through the roti makes it usually a marvellous dish. What I liked about Mamak’s Murtabak is that they stuffed the roti full of cooked lamb, onions, cabbage and egg. The filling was cooked perfectly and I could have eaten it all day. The only downside of having a thicker filling is that the roti served was on the soft side. I like my Murtabak roti crispy and this was nowhere near that, sadly. Probably the best Murtabak I’ve eaten in Victoria is still Taste of Singapore.
The curry sauce provided was surprisingly good, it was spicy and just creamy enough. Only con was that it was served just warm, and after tucking into the Murtabak, it was basically cold! The spicy sambal as commented on above complemented the roti well, I only wish there was more.
The other curry accompaniment which I can never remember the name of, but is always served with Roti, is as what you’d find in any other Malaysian restaurant. I don’t tend to have too much of it, but a small amount of this is always nice to have with freshly made roti or Murtabak. The only other downside is that you have to wait 15 or so minutes. I guess it’s great that it’s made to order though.
You can’t go to a Malaysian restaurant without trying their Teh Tarik. I though Mamak’s Teh Tarik was on the sweet side but not probably not bad enough to think of your poor teeth straight away. I would also liked if it had more “tea” taste to it but other than that, I wouldn’t mind ordering it again. It was only $3.50 so it didn’t seem so scandalous. I remember ordering a Teh Tarik at the now closed Malaysian restaurant in QV (Before PappaRich) and that was served in this puny tea cup for two or so sips.
What I like about Mamak is they focus on Roti and Satays, some of my favourite kinds of food. It is a bit disappointing their menu doesn’t have that much variety but I guess in terms of mamak style food, this is what they usually offer.
Their sambal is a delight in both their Nasi Lemak and the Murtabak. You can see why people are coming back for more and I can’t say no to more mamak style restaurants in Melbourne. The majority of the food is tasty, and cooked with though. If you’re in the CBD and want Malaysian Mamak food, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one.
Although for more variety, ChilliPadi in Flemington I feel offers better bang-for-your-buck but YMMV.
366 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 3000
This is going to be a historical post since the two Old Town Kopitiam restaurants in Melbourne have now closed. Their China Town location is now a Hong Kong/Taiwanese Dessert House, and their QV location is now a PappaRich store. I believe PappaRich is a cafe/restaurant offshoot of PappaRoti, and they are also opening a store in Chadstone.
I wasn’t too fond of Old Town Kopitiam, I found the food to be a little lacking and average, but their drinks menu was quite interesting. I can see why these two stores have closed though, even the appeal of Mamak food in the QV store wasn’t enough to interest most people.
Most of the food was expensive for the serving size, I did enjoy their Char Koay Kak. I must say, it probably was one of the best dishes on the menu, and you couldn’t really find it anywhere else. The rest of the menu, apart from their Nasi Kandar was bland and at times strange.
For example, their Curry Laksa (Pictured above) was so strange and unpleasant to eat. The curry soup base had a really odd taste to it, it’s slightly spicy but there is no creaminess or much flavour to it.
For added taste they add in curry leaves, by the bucketload! Eating their food actually takes effort.
I know this may sound like a whining blog post, but on most occasions the above experiences was really what it was like eating there. There were a few plus sides as mentioned above, but overall is really was a disappointing Malaysian eatery. I haven’t tried PappaRich yet, but every time I want to go eat there, it’s full!
Old Town Kopitiam (Now PappaRich)
210 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 3000
ChilliPadi Mamak Kopitiam’s more spacious locations is situated on Racecourse Rd, and only just a couple of minutes walk from Newmarket Station. I’ve already mentioned their store on Waterfront City, but if you want greater variety of choices then their Flemington restaurant is the one to try. It’s sometimes just hard enough to pick what to eat with all these choices! #firstworldproblems
We have now been there on numerous occassions and staff are always quite friendly, along with decent service to boot. With the various dishes I’ve tried, the majority of them would be something I’d go back for.
Their Nasi Lemak with Beef Rendang is a good pick. Their Beef Rendang is tender, and you can tell it has been cooked long enough for it to soften. Far too many places that have a Rendang option, serve incredibly tough beef so I was happy that is is one of the few exceptions.The sauce is also quite good, it has a good amount of spice and sweetness but it may be too mild for some people.
Of course with Nasi Lemak, they have the standard sambal and vegetables, all quite good and nothing too out of the ordinary. My verdict? I’d probably order it again, but probably after I’ve tried all the other dishes (Might take me a while)
I’ve had some family friends that have tried this and not really liked it. For me, their Har Mee is also fantastic. It definitely is for those that like a spicier soup. It has all the standard Har Mee ingredients such as boiled egg, prawns, asian vegetables, chicken, fishcake and the two types of noodles. All of it was pretty good, but I’ll admit the prawns lacked any real prawn taste but overall I’d also try it again.
One of the rarer dishes that you’d probably be hard pressed to find in your typical Malaysian restaurant is Pasembor or otherwise known as Indian Rojak. Don’t get confused with their other Rojak as it is worlds apart. Their Pasembor contains fried potatoes, prawn fritters, egg, bean sprouts, cucumber and a warm slightly sweet gravy with a hint of Indian/Malaysian spices. This was the first time I’ve tried this so I can’t gauge it’s authenticity but on taste and flavour? It was good, the sauce was flavoursome, but since I’m not a big fan of bean sprouts either raw or blanched, it isn’t a favourite. What I can say is that my mother (born and raised in Malaysia) had ordered it again on another visit here so that’s a good sign.
Lobak! A good one this time. Sometimes I find Malaysian restaurant’s Lobak to be overly dry and lacking in the flavour department too. This on the otherhand was crispy, not too oily, and was cooked well. Plus, the nice sweet chilli sauce gave it the much needed sweetness and slight chilli spice.
I can’t recall the name of this Cucur Udang (thanks Adri) but it’s basically prawn fritters and it’s a specialty item that was served during the Muslim month of Ramadhan (thanks again Adri!) and Malaysia Day period. The batter is quite thick and crunchy and is served with a satay sauce. This isn’t one of my favourites, it’s definitely too oily and too thick for my liking. Even the satay sauce was a bit too thick but on the plus side, the prawns were nicely cooked.
My mother loves Mee Rebus, she used to always go to ABC Cafe in Glen Waverley and order this. She was saddened to hear that ABC Cafe closed down and so she has been on the lookout for another good Mee Rebus. Their Mee Rebus is different to ABC’s in terms of flavour. There is something with ChilliPadi’s sauce that makes the taste a bit odd, I think it might be too acidic/sour but sweet and packed full of spice so it’s an odd combination. It seems unbalanced but maybe that’s how they do it at ChilliPadi. I’ll say I’ve had a taste of a Singaporean restaurant on Lygon St, called Killiney Kopitiam and was surprisingly close to what ABC’s sauce and flavour was like, albeit less thick.
Their Nasi Briyani was also only a specialty item for Malaysia Day, and I was amazed at how good it tasted. The flavours just in the rice was fantastic, we’ve been asking them to put it on their menu but at this point it probably will stay a once off kinda thing. This was much better than Taste of Singapore’s offering, and even that was good. Their Nasi Briyani is very similar to how my mother used to cook it and that’s how I like it!
As with most Mamak stores in Malaysia, one of their main specialties is their Nasi Kandar. Where you are able to choose your rice, curries, meat and vegetables. ChilliPadi’s selection is decent, slightly smaller selection to Old Town Kopitiam but decent. You can pick from coconut or plain rice, a sauce of either Lamb Curry, Gulai Ayam or Daging Masak Kicap, and your meat/protein (Beef Rendang, Daging Masak Kicap, Gulai Ayam, Assam Fish Curry, Butter Chicken or Lamb Curry), and one vegetable (Jelatah, Tumeric, Madras or Dhall Masala).
I’ve been trying all the Malaysian restaurant’s Teh Tarik and apart from Chilli Mama, there haven’t been any really good ones. ChilliPadi’s Teh Tarik is probably one of the better ones I’ve tasted. It has a stronger tea taste, and it isn’t numbingly sweet, it probably could be less sweet (we add a bit of hot water and it’s perfect) but other then that I can’t really fault it.
Their Ice Cendol was something I was looking forward to trying, however it left me a tad underwhelmed. As you can see, it’s quite runny and it has nowhere near enough shaved ice. They also added way too much coconut cream/milk and not enough brown sugar so it’s balance is off. Maybe I got them on an off day, I’ll probably try it sometime in the future but not for a while since I was quite disappointed with how it turned out.
The three layers drink (
Not sure of it’s name three layer tea according to Adri – thanks for the details!), is very tasty. The layers aren’t as divisive as they are supposed to be but what it lacks in aesthetic value, it provides in great flavour. Be warned as it is indeed for those sweet tooth’s. The syrup layer (palm sugar syrup) at the bottom should probably be stirred until it mixes with the other tea and evaporated milk layer as this is where all the sweetness comes from. It’s actually quite similar to Teh Tarik in terms of taste.
I can’t recall if ChilliPadi serve Bubur Cha Cha on their day-to-day menu but they definitely don’t serve the Burbur Cha Cha with Durian everyday. This particular dessert was on their menu during the Malaysia Day festivities and what makes it so different is the Durian paste-like topping. I was pleasantly surprised at how nice their Bubur Cha Cha was. It had all the essentials, diced sweet potatoes, taro and I think yams, with pearls. The warm coconut milk soup was delicious and is probably one of the best offerings I’ve tasted. It even beats some of the restaurants I’ve tried it in, in Malaysia. Only downside would be the diced vegetables are probably slightly too big, I prefer smaller chunks but it doesn’t really take away from the taste all that much.
Now, with the added Durian paste, it’s a whole another experience. I’m actually not a fan of Durian at all, it’s taste or it’s infamous odour but because it comes in this paste, the natural smell is non-existant and the Durian flavour is milder. I only added a bit of the paste stirred into my bowl so it was quite subtle but still noticeable. I’ll admit that I was very hesitant at first to try this but I actually didn’t mind it. Would I straight up order this instead of the original Bubur Cha Cha? Probably not, but it wasn’t bad in anyway.
For the many locals around Flemington this is a good place to go because it’s Halal, and you don’t see many Malaysian Halal stores around Victoria. ChilliPadi has catered for a different demographic to Chef Lagenda and Laksa King and that’s not a bad thing, we wouldn’t want three of the same stores so close to each other and it’s a welcomed change.
My impressions of ChilliPadi on the numerous occasions I’ve been there have been positive. If I had to choose between the three Malaysian restaurants in Flemington, I’d choose ChilliPadi. I’ll reiterate that, if you like more Indian/Malay styled Malaysian food, this is the one to visit so keep that in mind. It offers a great selection of dishes and they aren’t your typical dishes either. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, give it a try!
293 – 295 Racecourse Road
Kensington VIC 3031
(03) 9376 0228