by JENNY D’ANGER:
DINING out before the theatre is fraught: any delay and you run the risk of the torturous embarrassment of mumbled “sorries” as you stand on toes and stagger into laps while shuffling to your seat.
But if you eat too early there’s the fight with peak-hour traffic and a lot of hanging around and the temptation to imbibe to inappropriate lengths at the theatre bar.
So, discovering Papparich on James Street was heaven sent. Fast service is the name of the game.
The name is a play on founder Rich Tan’s moniker: “Everyone loves the word papa, someone you can easily relate to,” the website says.
The Malaysian franchise rolled into Northbridge recently and, judging by the long line queuing as we headed to the State Theatre, it’s a real hit.
There’s no denying there’s an element of fast food eatery here but the decor is upmarket Asian and the service spot on, and reliably fast and efficient.
And unlike your average fast food joints the fare errs on the healthy side of dining—rice, noodles and steamed vegetables with a choice of meats, rather than chips and burgers.
Freshly prepared dishes are ridiculously cheap, and I rather enjoyed the novelty of filling out a chit numbering the dishes we were ordering, then ringing a bell for someone to take it to the kitchen to be cooked.
My companion and I ordered a couple of fresh watermelon juices ($5.50), which were delicious, and refreshingly cold on a stinker of an evening.
The roti canai ($7.50) we shared was one of the best I’ve had, obviously just cooked it was crisp on the outside and moist on the inside and was perfect to dip into the satay, sambal and dhal sauces it came with (beware the sambal—it’s fiery).
Large chunks of aubergine in my mate’s vegetarian laksa ($13.90) were slightly off-putting—until she tasted them and was won over, voting the huge bowl of noodles and spicy soup “fantastic”.
I’m a sucker for kway teow and Papparich’s would make my top 10, the dish having a lovely char-grilled flavour.
The menu is huge with choices to suit everyone from plain roti to one with beef rendang, a selection of chicken and beef curries, nasi goreng, biryani and laksas including a hearty seafood version.
And for dessert there’s things like the interesting sounding tao foo fa king (try to say it fast without giggling) with gula melaka (an egg sago pudding), to try out.
by JENNY D’ANGER
101 James Street, Northbridge
open 7 days lunch and dinner