Oct 19, 2014

Nearly On My Way. Pappa Rich, Chatswood.

I made it.

I'm at the airport, checked in and past customs with everything I think I needed.  Three hours of solitude are ahead of me before the ridiculous number of hours on the plane and as crazy as it sounds, this is my favourite part of a trip.  The unwinding time before the actual business of being overseas begins.  A time to decompress from the stress and busyness of the weeks leading up to departure date mixed in with the excited anticipation of what is ahead.

I packed as light as I could and I'm dressed for comfort in dark colours (hides the food mishaps) and sensible flats.  I'm still in love with that Missoni for Target scarf so it had to come along on this holiday with me.

Dramatics over the first world problems of doing work trips with a little one to take into consideration aside, it's been a lovely weekend.  Cups of coffee have been taken at leisure by the front window of our favourite cafe as we've watched Saturday morning Sydney wake up.  Walkers clipping along at a brisk pace, the first buses of the morning pulling in at the bus stop and tradies stopping in for a fried breakfast before meeting the first client of the day.

Rhonda (as I can't help calling Toddler SSG thanks to this CO Kids hoodie) has been out and about making the most of this glorious sun.  He's been helping with the laundry and running that mower of his across the lawn.  And sharing apples under the shade for afternoon tea.

We went out for lunch on Saturday to Pappa Rich in Chatswood and I can't recommend it highly enough if you're looking for a place that's both family friendly and surprisingly relaxing to lunch at on the weekend.  Pappa Rich is a bit of an empire in the Malaysian street food scene.  I believe the chain did originate in Malaysia but it's now grown to include several branches in Sydney and there's even one in my hometown of Perth (which is a bit of a Malaysian Chinese stronghold).  The menu includes a wide variety of dishes many Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese people would've grown up with eating at their local kopi tiam (coffee house).

For my mum and aunty, the menu at Pappa Rich brought back fond memories of their childhood and they spent ages agonising over which dishes order for lunch.  The Chatswood Pappa Rich is a few minutes walk from the main strip of shops and malls of Chatswood and as a result, it's less chaotic and noisy and I really did feel as if I was back in Malaysia eating at a hawker's centre.

Space and a secure children's play area.  What more do you need to be an instant hit in pram heavy Chatswood?  Be warned though, while the play area is gated off and secure, the only play equipment inside it that works are two houses.  So you might want to bring along a few favourites from home.  The acoustics are good so it never got too noisy in the restaurant despite the play area being popular and the alfresco area having its front awnings completely open to Archer Street.

But onto the food.  It all exceeded our expectations.  It was all fresh with authentic flavours.  Serving sizes were generous and they were also beautifully presented.  Staff are numerous and very helpful, regularly updating if there could be a delay with a dish you've ordered.  The ordering system is based on your filling out tickets which are picked up by runners but you can also order the old fashioned way.

Apologies in advance but I haven't been able to link prices and full details of each dish from this post to the Pappa Rich website.  I'm blogging from a flight lounge and the internet is a bit temperamental.  They do barista a mean coffee though.

The Mee Goreng had a wonderful smoky flavour from a very hot wok.  You need that squeeze of lime juice over the top of it.

Roti in Sydney (or Chatswood at least) will probably be forever compared to Mamak as the gold standard.  The Pappa Rich version is less oily and a bit crisper.  I actually prefer it.  We had our roti with both dahl and chicken curry.  I was team chicken curry whilst my mum and aunt were huge fans of the dahl.

The open kitchen looks out onto a colonial themed dining room with plenty of dark wood shuttered windows and lush pot plants.  This might be a casual dining restaurant with a high turnover of tables but it has such a relaxing ambience to it, parents of toddlers could almost pretend they were living their pre children lives on vacation somewhere in Singapore.  But then again, that could just be me.

The Hainan chicken rice came with a serve of slightly vinegary bean sprouts which I've never tried before.  This is the ultimate comfort food and the chicken was very tender with just the right amount of flavour.  You must try this with the side dish of dark sauce drizzled heavily over the rice and chicken.

Pappa Rich's nuggets and chips come with a tray of sweet chilli sauce and Kewpie mayo.  Not just a hit with the kidlets.

I know.  Chinese people ordering nuggets and chips at an Asian restaurant.  But hear me out.  The nuggets aren't your average option from the deep freezer.  The breast meat is tender and the batter light and well seasoned.  Even my mum ate one.  Chips?  We were dining with a toddler and every table featuring a little one had this guilty little secret somewhere among their dishes of choice.  Pappa Rich are very relaxed about the leftover situation.  They're generous with takeaway containers for toddlers who end up sleeping through lunch.

For dessert, we shared a mountain of shaved ice under the ABC mix of creamed corn, black jelly, rose syrup and condensed milk.

And a slab of toast.  Nigel Slater maintains that the British do toast best but kopi tiam toast comes a very close second.  The bread is light, not Vietnamese bread light nor French baguette light but Malysian light.  It's just a bit dense with a bit of a bite to it when toasted.  When you combine it with a thick layer of butter and sugar, you're closer to home with every bite you take.

I finished off my meal with a coconut slushie, from the Pappa Rich special drinks menu.  It was Good.  There's slivers of coconut flush mixed through finely shaved ice and 'Goldilocks just right' coconut milk.  This is my way of getting on this coconut water bandwagon everyone seems to be riding right now.

And, that's all the news that's fit to print from my neck of the woods.  Thanks for whiling the hours away with me.  We're just about ready for boarding.  Don't be jealous, I'll be thinking of you from my deck chair.....

Take care.


  1. Yummy that food looks fabulous!
    Where are you going? Sounds like fun.

  2. Have a great time in America! And your meal at Pappa Rich sounds delicious. You ordered all of my favourites so it was a very helpful review! :D

  3. I love papparich - there is one at Norflands! (in Preston)
    Bon Voyage x

  4. I hope you enjoy awesome shopping! ;)

  5. Although it's after dinner , I want to eat at Pappa Rich. Thanks for sharing & enjoy your time away. Den x


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