PappaRich in Sydney!

In the spirit of Malaysia’s elections coming, I will be featuring more Malaysian food found in Sydney here. Somehow, having Malaysian food does make one feel closer to the country, especially when the restaurant is a franchise from Malaysia! Yes, I have previously dined in several Malaysian restaurants that were founded locally in Australia but this one is a restaurant that everyone is familiar with – PappaRich. They have officially landed in Sydney a few weeks ago, and we couldn’t wait to give it a try.

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Roti Canai

As with most newly opened restaurants, there was a long queue in front, mostly Malaysians. It almost felt like we were back home, with all the familiar chatter and familiar faces around us. We were there for lunch, and had to wait about half an hour before we got a table. Service was prompt and friendly, pretty impressive given that it was only opened for barely a week then.

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Full house at Pappa Rich

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The familiar Pappa Rich logo

While waiting for our table, we were given a thick menu and an order chit to place our orders. So by the time we got our table, we just had to pass the order chit to the waitress and wait. Quite efficient in minimizing the turnaround time, I think. Our first order to arrive was the Roti Canai, served with 3 types of sauce – dhal, curry and sambal. I thought the dhal and sambal were good, especially the sambal because it was hot and spicy with a kick! The roti though, lacked the fluffiness that we love. Its texture was more like crispy pastry instead of fluffy bread, so perhaps we might not order this again. We definitely prefer the roti from Mamak, another Malaysian restaurant in Sydney.

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Roti Canai (AUD$5.90)

A dish that several Malaysians recommended was the Penang Char Kuey Teow, which was incidentally my favourite too. I would have ordered this regardless, and was pleased to know that it did not disappoint. One of the main weakness that I found with some of the wanna-be char kuey teow here was the lack of ‘wok hei’ or the slightly charred/burnt taste. The version from Pappa Rich had the wok hei we were looking forward to, but it did lack in terms of spiciness. Perhaps they had toned it down to suit local taste buds? It would have been perfect had it been more spicy, I think. :)

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Char Kuey Teow (AUD$12.50)

Last but not least, Saucer ordered the Nasi Briyani with Red Chicken and Sambal Eggplant, something resembling what you would get from nasi kandar places in Malaysia. The briyani rice was just as fragrant as what we remembered back in Malaysia, and fluffy too. We were very pleased with it. The red chicken or ayam masak merah was fried and mixed with a sweet and spicy gravy that was perfect with the rice. Finally, the egg plant was first deep fried and then mixed with a spicy sambal. Who wouldn’t love that? The crunch of crispy skin mixed with the kick of sambal – yum! Every element in this dish was done right, including the piece of pappadom which was crispy and in a perfect round shape. Both of us couldn’t find any fault with this dish.

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Nasi Briyani with Red Chicken and Eggplant (AUD$12.90)

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Perhaps the closest Nasi Briyani you can find in Sydney

Needless to say, we left the place happy and satiated. Sure the prices are a bit steep compared to Malaysian prices but if we’re going to pay that much anyway for any other meal in Sydney, we might as well spend it on something we love. I’m elated that there’s finally a place that I can go to, to cure my home-sickness for Malaysian food, and one that has plenty of choices! We’ll definitely be back!

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PappaRich Malaysian Delights in Chatswood

PappaRich
1/63A Archer St
Chatswood
NSW 2067 Australia.
Tel No.: (02) 9411 3207
Opening Hours: 11.00am to 10.00pm Monday to Sunday

Penang Cuisine

Being Malaysians, we do constantly crave for a taste of home. So when I heard about Penang Cuisine from my fellow colleagues who went there for lunch, I told Saucer that we simply had to give it a try. My colleagues who were non-Malaysians gave pretty good ratings for the restaurant, so I was quite excited. We finally went there last weekend, on a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon. The plus point about going on a rainy day was that tables were easily available and service was quick.

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Weekend special

We placed an order for Penang Lor Bak, which we both missed, and we probably shouldn’t have set high expectations for it. The lor bak was served with some fried tofu on top, which were quite good, but unfortunately, the lor bak itself left much to be desired. The skin was crispy and golden but the fillings within were no where near the lor bak filling we had back in Penang. This was mushy, wet and somewhat soggy. And they left out one very important element of lor bak, which was the chilli sauce! It’s no secret that I love all things spicy, so imagine my disappointment when I saw no chilli sauce served with the lor bak. Sad to say, this dish was not up to par.

Penang Lor Bak

Penang Lor Bak (AUD$6)

Saucer had wanted to eat Wat Tan Hor for the longest time, and even though I tried making it once for him, it didn’t turn out to be very good. So imagine how happy he was to see it on the menu! The Wat Tan Hor (fried flat rice noodles with smooth egg gravy) was served piping hot with the gorgeous, unmistakable aroma, which was a good sign. There were also plenty of vegetables and fresh prawns used. But that was where the plus points ended. Other than the familiar aroma, the noodles were not fried with enough heat (hence lacking the charred flavour/wok hei), and the gravy lacked flavour. It was such a shame to have had our expectations up high to be brought down after the first bite.

Wat Tan Hor

Wat Tan Hor (AUD$13.80)

Finally, we also had the Mee Rebus because it was a weekend-only special that day. The dish looked beautiful, with all the elements there – cucur udang, fried tofu, potatoes, lime and egg. We found the gravy to be lacking of that umami and kick. Perhaps more curry powder or chilli would be better? I found it interesting that they also had squid rings in the mixture, although I didn’t mind them. Among the three items ordered, this was the best even though it wasn’t great.

Mee Rebus

Mee Rebus (AUD$12.80)

Overall, it was unfortunate that we found the food at Penang Cuisine wasn’t quite as Penang as we wanted it to be. Perhaps the flavours were localized to suit the local taste buds? Or perhaps we just had too high expectations? Having stayed in Penang for a good 4 years before, it’s hard not to compare. If anyone of you have visited this place before, we’re more than happy to listen to what you think! :)

Penang Cuisine Epping

Penang Cuisine at Epping

Penang Cuisine
32/74 Rawson St,
Epping NSW 2121,
Australia.
Tel No.: (02) 8095 0788
Opening Hours: Daily (11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30-9:30 pm)
*Note: No desserts served during weekends

Penang Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Easy Lasagne Recipe

One of the recipes that I love to follow when the weather is cold and I feel lazy is a good Lasagne. I have only started to make lasagne after I moved to Australia, simply because I always thought it to be something too rich and filling to cook for 2 people. But during the cold winter months here, one can really eat more than usual! :) So I scouted around for recipe and after some trial and error, came up with my own modification of a quick and simple lasagne recipe. I love this recipe because I only need to spend about 20 minutes preparing and cooking the ingredients, then chuck it into the oven and let the house be filled with the glorious smell of cheese! I can even use the time while it is in the oven to take a good long shower and food will be ready right after that. :)

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Lasagne fresh from the oven

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms sliced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 slices pork bacon chopped
  • 575g bottle of tomato pasta sauce
  • 6-8 pasta sheets
  • 2 cups thick cream
  • 2 cups grated / 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Steps:

1. Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan.

2. Add in garlic and onion and fry until fragrant and onions are soft.

3. Add in bacon slices and fry for 2 minutes.

4. Add in beef mince and stir fry until brown.

5. Add in mushrooms and pepper.

6. Pour in pasta sauce and season with pinch of salt and pepper.

7. Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

8. While waiting for the sauce to be ready, preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced.

9. Spoon 1/4 of the pasta mixture onto a baking dish.

10. Drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of cream on the mixture.

11. Drizzle 1/2 cup or 2 slices of cheddar cheese on it then cover with pasta sheets.

12. Repeat steps 9 to 11 for 2 more times.

13. Pour the remaining pasta sauce on the top layer of pasta sheet and drizzle the rest of cheddar and parmesan cheese.

14. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.

15. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is golden. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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Glorious piece of cheesy lasagne

Easy Lasagne Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Quick and easy lasagne for a cold winter day.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms sliced
  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 slices pork bacon chopped
  • 575g bottle of tomato pasta sauce
  • 6-8 pasta sheets
  • 2 cups thick cream
  • 2 cups grated / 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil on a large frying pan.
  2. Add in garlic and onion and fry until fragrant and onions are soft.
  3. Add in bacon slices and fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add in beef mince and stir fry until brown.
  5. Add in mushrooms and pepper.
  6. Pour in pasta sauce and season with pinch of salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer for about 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
  8. While waiting for the sauce to be ready, preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan-forced.
  9. Spoon ¼ of the pasta mixture onto a baking dish.
  10. Drizzle 3-4 tablespoons of cream on the mixture.
  11. Drizzle ½ cup or 2 slices of cheddar cheese on it then cover with pasta sheets.
  12. Repeat steps 9 to 11 for 2 more times.
  13. Pour the remaining pasta sauce on the top layer of pasta sheet and drizzle the rest of cheddar and parmesan cheese.
  14. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.
  15. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is golden. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Visiting a Beer Brewery

It has been ages since my last update, I know. I have been so busy with work recently with a new task assignment on top of my current workload that I found it difficult to allocate time for blogging! Anyway, I looked through my album and discovered a place that I had been wanting to share for the longest time. It was a visit to a beer brewery in Hunter Valley! Now, when we mention Hunter Valley, most of us would just think about wines, vineyards and cellar doors. But during our visit, we passed by the Potters Hotel Brewery Resort which houses the Hunter Beer Co. brewery right next to a hotel.

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Potters Brewery

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Entrance to the pub

It was around 3pm in the afternoon when we arrived, which coincidentally meant the pub was rather empty. I guess the scene would change come night time. Walking into the pub, the first thing that came to mind was the strong smell of hops! Yes, it was unmistakable and it was pungent. I couldn’t decide if I liked or hated it. We walked over to the bar and asked about the brewery tour and beer tasting as shown on the entrance. It turned out that the brewery tour was only held during specific hours so we missed the chance, but we could still opt for the beer tasting at $10 for a selection of 4 beers.

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The pub

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Brewery area

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Brewery Chart

The Hunter Beer Co. is a microbrewery that brews several award winning flavourful beers – from its award-winning Kolsch and to the easy drinking German Ale. Even though we didn’t go for the brewery tour, there were plenty of information around the pub that described the brewery process and the different ingredients used.

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Information about beer and taste

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Beer ingredients

The bartender told us there were 10 different types of beer to choose from, and we had to pick 4. It was not easy since we didn’t know which were good and which were not. We were given some recommendations though, and decided that we must try the award-winning Hunter Kolsch. We also picked a Pale Ale and a Hunter Witbier in the mix.

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Ten types of beer to choose from

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The different beer logos

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Our choice of 4 beers

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Hunter Beer Co. coaster

Of the 4 beers we had, I remember that both of us unanimously agreed that the Hunter Kolsch was the best of all. It was not too light or hoppy, and had a refreshing aftertaste which was perfect to drink in the afternoon. We didn’t quite enjoy the pale ale, which turned out to be rather bitter for us. The Witbier was somewhere in the middle, but we still preferred the Kolsch above all. We wished that we had ordered more of that! :)

Kolsch – A refreshing easy drinking ale with flavour, perfect for summer drinking. Pale golden colour with light honey-biscuit malt character, subtle passion fruit and pineapple flavour is delicately balanced with a restrained bitterness and drying finish.

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Saucer enjoying his beer

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Award-winning Hunter Kolsch

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Beer barrels outside the brewery

After drinking our beers, we took some time to walk around the Potters Brewery surroundings – partly to let the alcohol subside, and partly to take in the gorgeous decor. The surrounding grounds were massive and had plenty of greenery for us to lie down and enjoy the blue sky and nice weather. Coincidentally, Potters is also a hotel so if you’re looking to visit Hunter Valley, you could choose to stay here right next to the brewery and have freshly brewed beer any time you want!

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Potters Brewery

HunterValley

Potters Brewery, Hunter Valley

Hunter Beer Co. @ Potters Hotel Brewery Resort 
Wine Country Drive,
Nulkaba NSW 2325
Australia
Tel No: +(612) 4991 7922
Opening hours: Open 7 days 10am – 5pm
Email: info@pottershbr.com.au
Website: www.hunterbeer.com.au

All-You-Can-Eat Lebanese Food

A couple of weeks back, we spotted a Groupon deal for all-you-can-eat Lebanese food and contemplated on whether to get it since we didn’t quite trust group-buying purchases. We decided to get it in the end because it had been a while since we last had Lebanese food and we missed the bread with hummus! After making reservations, we made our way to River Canyon Lebanese Restaurant near the Parramatta river on a weekend. It was surprisingly quiet even on a Saturday afternoon, but we’re not complaining. We had a table just next to the window that overlooked the river below.

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Appetizer

Our deal came with only food, with drinks separately charged. Saucer ordered a cold beer since it was quite warm that afternoon.

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 Cascade beer (AUD$5)

Our all-you-can-eat deal is served in 3 courses – Starters, Entree and Mains. There were several items within each course, and right after they’re done serving, we were free to re-order the items should we wish to. The first starter to be served was the Lebanese bread with various dips including the Baba Ganough – Char grilled eggplant, pureed with fresh garlic, lemon juice and tahina and Hummus Bi Tahina – Puree of chickpeas, sesame seeds, garlic, lemon juice & olive oil. I absolutely adored the hummus served, it was smooth, creamy and full of flavour. I could go on and on eating that with the Lebanese bread, but that wouldn’t be a wise choice.

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Dips: Baba Ganough, Hummus Bi Tahina

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Pickles & Olives

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Lebanese Bread

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 Hummus with bread

We were also served 2 types of salads:  Tabouli – salad of parsley, tomato, mint, onion, burghul (cracked wheat), lemon juice & olive and Fattoush – salad with sumac, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, sweet peppers, red onions, mint, toasted pita, lemon juice & olive oil. Tabouli was something that I had had before in Malaysia, so there were no surprises with this dish. It was very green, crunchy and went well with the dips and bread too. The Fattoush salad, however, was something new to me but something impressive. It was filled with a variety of vegetables and well-seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil, giving it a very fresh twist without being boring.

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Fattoush

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Tabouli

For Entree/Hot Mezza, we had a huge platter of Jweneih – Chicken wings marinated in lemon, garlic, olive oil and char grilled, Arnabeet Mekli – fried cauliflower florets served with tahina, Batata b-kizibra – diced potatoes sautéed with garlic, coriander, chilli & lemon juice, Falafel – fried croquettes made of burghul, chickpeas, broad beans & herbs with a side of Garlic Sauce & Tahina. Of the 4 items presented, it was surprisingly the sauteed potatoes that got me hooked! They were fluffy on the inside, will-seasoned and very very fragrant. I know it’s not a good practice to fill up with carbs on an all-you-can-eat quest, but I just couldn’t help it. They were just so good and addictive! I swear I had never eaten that much potatoes in one sitting! :) The chicken wings were well-marinated and delicious too. And we were glad that they didn’t overfeed us with meat because we had another plate of meat coming up for our mains.

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Hot Mezza platter

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Chicken wings, sauteed potatoes, falafel and cauliflower

At this point, we were already full with all the bread and hot entree served. In fact, we had not even finished the items on our platter, but our mains were served. They consisted of Shish Lahmeh – marinated lamb cubes & onions skewered and barbequed, Shish Kafta – char grilled skewers of minced lamb with parsley, onion & spices, Shish Tawouk – char grilled chicken breast skewers marinated in special herbs and potato chips. They might not look like a lot on the plate, but these skewers were solid with meat and packed a punch. Each piece was well-marinated and grilled to perfection, with the insides of the meat still tender and juicy. We were honestly impressed that good quality meals were served even when we were using group-purchase deals. We also had pretty good service from the only waitress that was on duty that afternoon (there were only 3 tables occupied), asking us occasionally whether we wanted any of the dishes refilled. They had obviously tailored the set such that there would be enough to stuff any adult without having to request for a refill, for we were beyond full by the time we stomached the last bit of meat on our plate.

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Mains

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Marinated lamb and chicken skewers

Overall, we were pretty impressed with the quality of food served in this Lebanese restaurant, considering we paid a discounted price of $19/person (normally $39) for the all-you-can-eat package. The food was authentic and delicious, and we definitely had a great time enjoying the peaceful afternoon on a Saturday away from the city. Did I mention the gorgeous potatoes? Someone has got to teach me how to make that! :)

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Dining by the river

River Canyon Restaurant
96 Phillip Street
Parramatta 2150
NSW, Australia.
Tel No: +612-9689 2288
Website: www.rivercanyon.com.au

A Taste of Grill’d Burgers

There must be a burger craze going on in KL recently, for there are plenty of new burger joints mushrooming around and about town. Looking at all these lip-smacking burger pictures got Saucer and I craving for burgers too! So one day, we decided to have burgers for lunch at Grill’d. Priding themselves to serve delicious and healthy burgers, Grill’d has a fuss-free menu with quite decent prices too. Going there on a weekend was not to stressful either, with tables easily available, probably due to the fast turnover of customers. I mean, how long can eating a burger take? :)

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Burger and chips from Grill’d

Ordering at Grill’d means going to the cashier and pointing out what you want, then paying before you’re given a table stand with a number on it. When the food is ready, it would be served to you by a wait staff. While waiting, one could help oneself with a bottle of drinking water placed at the back of the restaurant.

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Self-service drinking water

Before long, our orders arrived. Saucer had the Moroccan Lamb burger that came with a grilled 100% grass fed lean lamb, roasted peppers, tzatziki, salad and relish. We were also allowed to choose the type of buns to go with the burger, either the traditional wholemeal sesame bun, gluten-free bun or panini. Saucer had his burger with the traditional wholemeal bun, which was nicely toasted and still warm when served.

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Moroccan Lamb (AUD$12.90)

Saucer gave two thumbs-up for this burger! He loved that they paid attention to detail. The bun, for example, tasted like it was freshly baked. The crust was crispy and inside it was warm and fluffy. The lamb was lean, tender and juicy without overpowering gaminess. What I loved the most was the combination of roasted peppers in the burger, that seemed to have brought the flavours to the next level. I thought that made a whole lot of difference, as my burger didn’t have it, and ended up sort of paling in comparison.

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Nicely grilled lamb

As for me, I had the first item on the menu, which I suppose was also the most popular one - Simply Grill’d. It was made from grilled grass fed lean beef, salad, relish and herbed mayo. I opted for the panini bun, which was tasted really good. I loved the crusty exterior and warm, fluffiness within, making this burger stand out from the rest. The lean beef was pleasantly tender and juicy, while the herbed mayo gave it a nice flavour and fragrance. Best of all, it also came in a good size – nothing too huge that gets you feeling sick after too much of it, or too small that leaves you still feeling hungry. It was the right size, both of us agreed. However, if you still feel that the burger is too big to handle, there are knives provided on every table for the convenience of customers.

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Simply Grill’d (AUD$9.50)

The Hot Chips were available as a side order, and seeing that it’s quite popular among other tables, we decided to have one too. And we didn’t regret it. The chips were thickly cut (as how good chips should be), fried to a crispy finish and generously drizzled with herbs.

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Regular Hot Chips (AUD$3.50)

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Knife wrapper

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Cutting across the Simply Grill’d burger

True to their promise, Grill’d has indeed delivered gorgeous burgers with good quality ingredients without putting our health at risk. We definitely enjoyed our experience here, and wouldn’t think twice about returning for the many other burgers listed on the menu.

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Dining at Grill’d

Grill’d (at Macquarie Centre)
Level 4 (next to Max Brenner Chocolate),
Entrance via Herring St
North Ryde,
2113 NSW, Australia.
Tel No: 9888 7700
Opening Hours: Daily (11am – 10pm)
Website: www.grilld.com.au

Grill'd on Urbanspoon