Monday, May 18, 2015

Pappa Rich, East Malvern by Obelix

Kiddo and I been repeat offenders at Pappa Rich Malvern East.  Probably because we have been exercising our retail muscles a wee bit too much at Chadstone Shopping Centre and Pappa Rich is conveniently located within. 

Left to right: lychee soda, grass jelly w soy milk

To cool our heels, we generally go for an iced drink to kick start the meal.  I’m quite partial to grass jelly and generally go for the grass jelly with soy milk or the grass jelly with barley.  I find the soy milk version the better of the two.  The dense and creamy soy almost has the texture of ice cream by the time they mix it with the tiny ice particles.  The net effect is that it’s more like a solid needing to be scooped rather than a liquid drink. 

The barley version is not for the squeamish.  They blitz the barley grains so the texture unfortunately is a bit like…chuck… so you’ve really got to tame down your gag reflex and just focus on the pleasant grassy flavours of barley.  And because the barley water is so much less dense than the soy milk version, you have to brace yourself for the kick of gelatinous cubes of grass jelly hitting your hard palate as it rushes up the wide diameter straw as you suck. 

Kiddo on the other hand, does not stray far from her lychee soda.  This is a real thirst quencher with mint, lime and the obligatory pair of lychees in the soda. 

Being a creature of habit, Kiddo always orders the Ipoh Hor Fun.  It is rice noodles in a “prawn head broth”.  I quote from the menu!  It sounds a bit off putting, prawn head goo,  but it lends a deep seafood flavour to the broth which Kiddo slurps up.  It comes with fine slices of chicken breast, a handful of bean sprouts, chives and a side of chilli with soy to spice it up ($12.90). 

I on the other hand have been trying to branch out from my usual comfort orders of Nasi Lemak and roti.  Recently I’ve tried the Chilli Pan Mee ($12.90).  Everything about it was quite delightful in texture and flavour – the aromatic ikan bilis, the nubbly bits of chicken mince, the fresh steamed veggies, the spicy heat of the dollop of sambal and the runny egg which you are urged to mix through to combine.  The noodles were the rice noodle variety but somehow the edges of these noodles were almost fluted.  This gave it a rustic and chewier texture rather than silken one.  It was different but I do prefer the traditional silky cut rice noodles. 

On another occasion, I tried the Wat Tan Hor ($12.90).  In a nutshell this was a big plate of wok fried rice noodles swimming in a deep pool of egg gravy.  It was a fair call to say there was almost more gravy than noodle but I’m under the impression that that is the way it’s supposed to be.  The smokey wok burnished noodles float in the eggy ocean with flotsam and jetsam  offish cakes and choi sum, chicken and prawns.  It was filling and delicious.  I wasn’t sure if one should ‘drink’ the sea of gravy or not.  Was it soup or sauce? 

And yet on another occasion (yes embarrassingly enough we went back twice weekly in the span of a fortnight.  If only there was a frequent flyers discount!), I tried the Hainanese Chicken Rice.  I have long dismissed this dish as mere boiled/steamed chicken with rice but that was in my ignorance.

Since holidaying in Singapore recently, I have come to the gratifying epiphany that this dish is deceptively complex.  The chicken should be silkenly tender, the soup clear and resonating with intense chickenly-ness.  I hold the chicken rice in Singapore and Malaysia as gold standard.  Nothing I have had in Australia as come close to the mark.  The Hainanese chicken rice at Papparich doesn't either but it is one of the better chicken rices I have had in Australia.  The chicken was tender and deboned, the soup clear and nourishing but my palate was still searching for the elusive intense chickeny-ness of the chicken rice in Asia.  

Verdict:  We liked it. 

Overall:  Pappa Rich in Malvern East serve up a solid repertoire of hawker stall favourites.  It is consistent in quality and service time is quick.  See our posts on other PappaRich Nunawading, Pappa Rich QV and Pappa Rich Glen Waverley.

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