Deep fried chicken skin? Mention the idea to people and you'll get two distinct reactions: a lightbulb flash of excited glee or a look of confused horror at the very thought. We'd been resisting this plateful of goodness on earlier visits, but on our third lunch at the recently opened Pappa Rich on Broadway we finally caved. Those golden fried curls of chicken skin would be ours at last.
It's a huge serving that lands on our table, a tangle of crunch hot from the deep-fryer. There's skin and fat, dredged in seasoned flour, fried to a crisp and served with a bowl of sweet chilli sauce on the side. You'll need it. The acidity is essential to cut through the richness. There's a guilty sense of pleasure as you crunch down each mouthful but really, it's all about nose-to-tail eating, right?
Traditional Malaysian cham coffee and milk tea in a kopitiam coffee cup
Relax. Not everything on the menu is this dangerous to your arteries. A heavy black folder yields a huge compendium of options, page after page of traditional Malaysian snacks and dishes. Glossy photos of most dishes take the guesswork out of ordering too.
Ordering pad and the green button to summon waitstaff
You will need to write down your own order on the notepad provided. Staff usually sense any confusion and will scoot over to help if you're having trouble. Press the green button to summon the waitstaff (so much easier than trying to flag someone down) and they'll run through your order again to check for errors.
Preparing iced coffees in the kitchen
The drinks section of the menu is particularly impressive. They make their teas and coffee the traditional way, using a long coffee sock for stronger brewing. If cham doesn't float your boat - a Malaysian favourite that mixes brewed coffee and tea together - there's no shortage of alternatives.
Soya milk pudding $4.90
You can slurp your way through 61 different drinks, from coconut frappes to hot lemon honey tea to perennial favourite, the Milo dinosaur, a massive mug of iced Milo topped with ice cream and an avalanche of extra Milo powder.
The organic soy milk comes plain or amped up with additions of tofu pudding, cincau grass jelly or rose syrup.
Open sesame $7.50
Black sesame with soya milk and sesame ice cream
I couldn't resist the Open Sesame, a huge scoop of black sesame ice cream bobbing in a stein of black sesame soy milk. It's a little grainy in parts but there's so much calorific goodness in here it doubles as both a drink and dessert.
Traditional coffee socks for brewing and straining strong Malaysian tea and coffee
Proving roti dough
They make their own roti here too, and although you don't get the same street front show you'll find at Mamak, you can still check out all the action in the open kitchen - just watch out for the flurry of waitstaff carrying orders out of the kitchen.
Tossing and stretching the roti dough
Roti dough so thin you could read a newspaper through it
Sweet round roti bom and roti telur bawang filled with egg and onions on the grill
Roti telur with curry chicken $12.90
The roti comes plain, with egg (telur), or with egg and red onion (roti telur bawang). You can order it on its own ($4.90), with vegetarian curry sauces ($6.90) or with curry chicken ($12.90).
There's some impressive flakiness going on, the billowy light pastry perfect for soaking up any sauce. It's not quite as good as Mamak, but it runs a close second.
Nasi lemak with fried chicken $13.50
Nasi lemak with beef rendang $14.50
Biryani rice with red chicken and sambal eggplant $13.50
You can also order jasmine or biryani rice with a host of sides. We had the sambal eggplant in its first month of trade, a battered nugget of sticky sweetness that won us over immediately, but it looks like they've changed their eggplant recipe since then (pic to come in the vegetarian dishes summary).
The red chicken reminds me of sweet and sour sauce, erring a little too much on the sweet side for my liking.
Ipoh koay teow soup with steamed chicken $14.50
Looking for something a little lighter? The Ipoh koay teow soup is a nourishing stock filled with slippery rice noodles. A plate of steamed chicken comes on the side.
The steamed chicken is soft and succulent, resting on a bed of cucumbers and dressed with a light soy and fresh sprigs of coriander.
Dry koay teow with steamed chicken $13.50
You can also order your koay teow noodles "dry", served not in a bowl of soup but bathed in a dark and super sweet soy sauce.
Pappa char koay teow $13.50
We've traversed much of the noodle menu. The Pappa char koay teow comes with plenty of omelette strips, fish cake slices and three plump prawns.
Crispy egg noodle $13.50
On a cold winter's day I succumbed to the crispy egg noodle, a nest of deep fried egg noodles on top of a puddle of thick gravy studded with prawns, fish cake, chicken slices and vegetables. It's a comforting and stomach-warming combination of sauce and crunch.
Chilli pan mee $14.50
One of my favourites has been the chilli pan mee. Burst that poached egg so the yolk runs everywhere, and mix up the noodles with the pan-fried chicken mince, dried anchovies, fried shallots, vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and chilli sauce. There's a good amount of heat in this dish. You can always remove the chilli sauce if necessary but that whack of chilli is what makes this dish so good.
Vegetarian steamed black cod fish with ginger $6.90
Vegetarians won't go hungry either. There's a double page spread devoted to vegetarian dishes, included vegetarian dim sum. The vegetarian fish, mutton and chicken are all made from gluten, not meaty in taste but satisfyingly chewy in texture.
Vegetarian fu chook roll $4.90
The vegetarian fu chook roll has a refreshing crunch from jicama or yam bean, all wrapped up thin sheets of soy bean curd (the fu chook).
Vegetarian char koay teow $13.50
You can skip the prawns and fish cake and get a vegetarian char koay teow.
Rice with double serve of sambal eggplant $13
They'll also let you swap out the red chicken so you can order a double serve of sambal eggplant too. It doesn't have the same shell of batter it had in its opening month, but it's still pretty tasty.
Roti telur with curry sauces and sambal $7.90
The roti telur, filled with a thin layer of omelette, should keep you going too.
Pappa deep fried chicken skin $6.90
Vegetarians will have to avert their eyes when the deep fried chicken hits the table, although the earth-shattering crunch of that skin may be hard to ignore. There's enough here to share this plate between at least four people (trust me) or do what we did, and bring the leftovers back to the office for afternoon snackage.
"Deep fried chicken?! How could you?" said one colleague in calorific horror. How could we not!
Pappa Rich Broadway
Shop 5, 185 Broadway, Ultimo, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9281 3228
Sunday to Wednesday 11am - 9pm
Thursday to Saturday 11am - 10pm
Chatswood - 1/63A Archer Street | Tel: +61 (02) 9411 3207
Parramatta - Shop 2185A, Zone 6, Westfield, 159 Church St Tel: +61 (02) 9633 3387
Macquarie Centre set to open November 2014
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Malaysian - Kopitiam, Ultimo
Malaysian - Malacca Straits, Ultimo
Malaysian - Mamak, Haymarket
Malaysian - Sedap, Regent Place, Sydney
31 comments - Add some comment love
7/16/2014 02:27:00 am