The Malaysian restaurant brand's flagship Auckland store offers a quick and cheerful dining experience.
It's touted as the most successful restaurant brand to emerge from Malaysia. PappaRich now has more than 125 restaurants worldwide, including two in Auckland and one in Wellington. With such a large footprint, it must be doing something right. It's certainly quick dining option; this particular experience lasted 30 minutes (or less) from start to finish.
Auckland's Queen Street branch has been around in Skyworld since 2015 so you can look past the wobbly tables and slightly weathered furniture. You'll find the country's newest outpost in the new dining precinct at Sylvia Park. Upon arrival we had the choice of booth seating inside or aforementioned wonky tables in the covered "courtyard" — we went indoors for the ambience and the view of the open kitchen. The waitress explained the ordering concept; you simply write the number of your order on the sheet provided and the press the doorbell when ready.
Choosing exactly what to order is probably the biggest dilemma — there are more than 160 menu items. The thick food bible offers countless variations of classic Chinese, Indian and Malay dishes, and you can expect your commonplace roti canai, nasi lemak, char koay teow noodles, curry laksa, steamed buns and Hainan bread. They say you can measure any good Malaysian restaurant by its Hainanese chicken rice (it's also a safe option for those not down with spice). PappaRich's version is generous and comes with a large mound of fragrant yet oily rice, a plate of poached chicken, two sauce combinations, a bowl of sprouts and a soul-warming chicken broth. The combination makes for a comforting option, though we noted that the chicken wasn't quite as tender as it probably should be. The roti canai had all the right attributes; flaky pull-apart roti and rich chicken curry for dipping.
The drink section is something to be admired, and you'll find an interesting variety of Malaysian favourites and florescent options. Teh tarik, a sweetened pulled tea, is the number one beverage of choice and can be served either hot or cold. Lovers of bubble tea should look no further than the soya milk drink which comes with herbaceous floating grass jelly. And for those wanting to skip dessert, try the Milo Dinosaur, a sweet iced drink that comes topped with a generous scoop of the chocolate powder.