Papparich QV

Name: PappaRich QV
Location: Level 2, shop 1, Qv Square, 210 Lonsdale Street
Cost: $10-15 mains, $4-$7 drinks
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10
Would I come back? Yes.

This is one of my go-to places when I am out of inspiration. It’s affordable, has a large range of tasty food and efficient service.

Papparich QV is the new name for the refurbished Old Town Kopitiam. The food is much the same, but with the addition of a roti and biryani section as homage to the Indian side of Malaysia. The menu has also been upgraded to include photographs of most items, and all drinks. I think Papparich has enjoyed better patronage since their renovation.

In addition to an upgrade to the menu, there are upgrades to kitchen and food preparations areas. Instead of the one food prep area, there are now a few areas organised in terms of hardware. At the back most of the noodle and curry dishes are prepared, then adjacent to that is the roasted meats section. In the far end at the back is the drinks and dessert preparation area. Sometimes you can see people blend up ice and fruit for chilled juices, and ‘pull’ tea. (Milk tea is poured from one container to another to ‘pull’ the tea and make it frothy, then strained.) There’s also the grill section where skewers of satay are prepared. There are also chefs preparing roti made-to-order.

“Smile for the picture lah, and look like you’re working!”, says one of the waitstaff.

Pretend to work, ey?/Playing roti pat-a-cake/Flip those meat skewers

When you visit Papparich, the staff will sometimes ask you if you’ve been there before. This is because there’s a novel ordering system. There are no waitstaff taking orders, and are left to do everything more efficiently. Each menu item has a code associated with it. For example, R01 is a roti dish, N09 is a noodle dish, MF14 is a drink. You write down the codes on the notepads provided, as well as table number. Then press the button on the cutlery box. A member of the waitstaff comes along and takes your written order, punches out a bill and returns the bill to you. Some people don’t like this kind of service, but I like it. It’s quick, efficient and a large party of people can take as much time as required to browse the picture menu.

Write your own order/ Add dietary requests/ No mistakes are made

Score: 5/10
Would I order it again? No.

Sour fish-based soup/ Often includes tamarind/ Should have been tasty

I have reviewed this before when Papparich was Old Town Kopitiam. The assam laksa hasn’t changed, it’s still one of the worst choices out of all the noodle dishes they have to offer.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Dry stir-fried noodles/Original mee goreng/ Not the Indomie

Mee goreng doesn’t look bad, and I have heard it tastes good. But you can’t go wrong with stir-fried noodles. To me the mee goreng doesn’t look particularly interesting, but it is good to pay homage to our favourite instant noodle– Indomie MiGoreng.
Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Malay Indian/biryani hybrid rice dish/Both chicken and lamb

Biryani rice with sides is just like nasi lemak but with spiced rice instead of coconut rice. If you like spiced rice, then go for it. The sides will be reviewed under nasi lemak.

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

An ‘anytime’ food/Malaysia’s ‘national dish’/Nasi lemak. Lah.

This is one of my favourite dishes at Papparich. You get a bowlful of coconut rice, 5 chilli prawns, 2-3 pieces of curry chicken, half a hardboiled egg, peanuts, fried anchovies, slices of cucumber and a dollop of chilli paste (sambal). If you feel like having more sides, there is an option to add chilli eggplant, tandoori chicken, as well as many other things. (But 2 sides fills me up just fine.)
Sometimes coconut rice tastes too faintly of coconut to earn the title of ‘coconut rice’. But the coconut rice at Papparich definately has the coconut milk taste. It’s moist, fragrant and savoury. Curry chicken isn’t dry at all and has a mild curry taste. Good for those who can’t handle spicy foods, but still a tasty accompaniment. The sambal prawn (sambal is a kind of chilli paste) is spicier but still fairly mild. The spiciest component is the dollop of sambal in the side.

You can mix the sambal in with the rice, or leave it if you aren’t up to spicy food. I like to do half-half, that is, half coconut rice mixed with sambal, and the other half non-spicy. Or you could douse your egg into the sambal. Up to you.

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Chicken noodle soup/Why are you so delicious?/A good comfort food

Essentially chicken noodle soup. You get a large serve of steamed chicken breast steeping in sweet soy sauce, and a basin of soup with flat thin rice noodles and plenty of fried onions. The fried onions are the dominating flavour, so it’s not your usual chicken soup. But it’s good to have variations of a theme, right?
Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Noodle soup icebergs/ Most of it lurks underneath/ But no Titanic

From the picture it looks okay. There is also some layered tofu in the vegetarian laksa for some protein. Always good to see restaurants making an effort to substitute meat for other protein sources for vegetarians. But I wouldn’t order it because I believe laksa is incomplete with a form of seafood. (Even if it is just fishcake.)

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Tasty rice noodle/ swimming in thick egg gravy/ Novel, worth a shot

Wat tan hor is a flat thick rice noodles stir-fried in a wok until it obtains an umami taste only achievable with high temperatures, or ‘wok hei’. Then an egg gravy is poured onto the rice noodles. Umami with a side of umami? Yes, please. There are also asian greens, sliced fish cake and prawns. “It tastes just like home”, according my Malaysian friend.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Stir-fried rice noodles/One of my favourite dishes/ when it is done well

Char kway teow also utilises the same kind of rice noodles and also requires formidable wok hei. The wat tan hor was so delicious, but char kway teow was anemic. There was no characteristic umami smell or slighty charriness along the edges of the rice noodles. Two out of two times the char kway teow has been like this. Disappointing.

Score: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

We all have bad days/ Insipid watery soup/ Disappointing. Boo.

This dish varies a lot depending on the day. Some days it even has different toppings on it, or it is missing a vegetable component. But the worst variable is the soup quality. Sometimes the har mee looks amazing, but other days it looks watery and bland. The day I ordered har mee it was watery and bland.

Would I order it again? Yes.

It’s pronounced ‘chanai’/Fluffy, stretch, crunchy bread/ Why is it so good?

Roti canai is a tissue-thin chewy flatbread, rolled up then curled around itself like a snail, and cooked over grill. The result is a light, chewy but crisp delicious food item. While it is good enough to have on its own, there are 3 sauces to dip your roti canai in. There’s usually a curry sauce, a sweet chutney and a dollop of sambal. I like to order this and watch the chefs spin the dough, roll it into shape, and watch the transformation from raw dough to delicious food on the grill.

Score: 7/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Curry egg noodle/Steamed chicken and curry sauce/ Not ‘curry chicken’

The steamed chicken is the same as Ipoh rice noodle soup. The noodle is an egg noodle cooked in curry sauce. It’s good, but after a while it becomes uninteresting.
Score: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

The secret is out/ Maltose syrup is a must/Makes the best fritters

The batter is a bit thick and will go stale quite quickly, especially if it sits in a pool of melted icecream. Luckily you can request the banana fritters to be brought out after you’ve finished your lunch or dinner, so they are piping hot and crispy. There is also maltose lightly drizzled over the fritters. It’s great.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

A green tea thickshake/ For the maccha green tea buff/ Complete with red beans

This is not a drink. This is a dessert. Looks good if you are a maccha green tea buff.


Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

As Doctor Who does/ Could I order a strong drink?/Leave the teabag in

There are so many other weird and wonderful drinks on the menu. I would rather try one of those rather than tea bag green tea. I can drink that home. But it’s nice to see they have that option open.

Score: 7/10
Would I order it again? No.

Not a good-looker/ Grass jelly and egg custard/ Slurp them up with straw

I like grass jelly, egg custard and soy milk. But not so much all together in a drink.

Score: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Two drinks in one slot/Ooh Ahh that’s something different/ Just like these iced drinks

This is soy milk with preserved longan fruit and honey. Sounds strange, but oddly delicious. The honey and dried longan fruits sink to the bottom, so be sure to mix it up with your straw to get an even distribution of sweetness. Or not, if you enjoy a gradient. Dried longan fruits have a much stronger and sweeter taste than when it is fresh, and like most other dried fruits it becomes chewier.

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

(Picture above. It’s the pink one.)

I have reviewed this in Old Town Kopitiam QV before it renovated and became Papparich. It tastes the same as before, that is, sweet without being too sickly sweet. It’s slightly musky too.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Poke straw through icecream/ Ta-da! An icecream donut/ Huh, ingenious

This is black sesame icecream in unsweetened soy milk. When you mix the icecream through it looks like a thickshake.

Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A food science prac/ Things with different densities/Science, everywhere!*

No, I didn’t misspell ‘the’. Hah.
This is the 3 tier tea drink that you should order. It is made with black tea, evaporated milk, palm sugar and ice. The palm sugar syrup is heaviest and sinks to the bottom, next is the evaporated milk, then ice, then black tea to tinge the evaporated milk in a gradient of brown. It’s a good looking drink. Tasty too.

*: Don’t drink this in the lab. (Or drink anything in the lab.)


Score: 3/10
Would I order it again? No.

icky barley water

I’ve had barley water at Laksa Bar, and that was tasty and refreshing. It was warm outside, so I thought some barley water would be wonderful. Wrong. The barley water is sludgy and slimy, not refreshing at all.

Score: No score, I am unable to compute the taste of AW root beer into a numerical score.
Would I order it? No.

weird as heck

Can I just say AW root beer is one of the strangest things I have tasted? It tastes like…. old peoples’ toothpaste and anaesthetic used at the dentist. It was almost pleasant with its mouth numbing effervescent way, but then no, it tastes like strong toothpaste. Then it was nice again. Weird.

Don’t let the score on urbanspoon scare you into thinking it’s some kind of terrible place. Some things are poorly done, but some are done very well. At least try their roti and special three layer tea.
PappaRich QV on Urbanspoon

Sambal Kampung

Location: 234 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: $10-15 for noodles, $15-25 for made-to-order mains
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 5/10
Overall rating: 5/10
Would I come back? No

A small chinese-malaysian eatery, largely a student’s haunt for late dinner. On the day we saw surprisingly many young families, it must be family friendly too. We were seated upstairs. The stairs are narrow, the tables are small and packed in as tightly as they possibly allowed. You could elbow the person next table across if you wanted. The brick walls are decorated with christmas lights. That’s the sort of place it is.
Would I order it again? No.

Sweet kecap manis/ Emperor Nasi Goreng/ Remember that ad?*

Indonesian fried rice with chicken. If you cup your hands over your ears, you might be able to hear somebody’s throat have all its moisture sucked out from it. So much salt and MSG. The carrots are almost raw too. I have nothing against raw carrots, but they don’t belong in fried rice.

*: Youtube ‘bigpond nasi goreng ad’. Great ad, pity it was for Telstra.

Taste: 6/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A helmet-sized bowl/ My preferred noodle vessel/ Not a real helmet

Watch out, it’s a basin of laksa.
It’s a different sort of spicy from the other laksas, not sweet-spicy but dry-spicy. The coconut milk adds creaminess and rounds out a lot of the dry-spiciness. Again, it’s very salty. We did arrive fairly late, so the laksa broth must have been boiled down into something saltier than usual. It was still edible, as long as you drank a fair amount of water and avoided most of the soup. In the laksa there is a boiled egg, some boyshoy, dried fried tofu puffs, two small crystal prawns, sliced fish cake, fish balls and plenty of fried shallots. There is also some chicken at the bottom. Its appearance isn’t as clean or neat as the other laksas, but I don’t mind the appearance. Apart from the salt, it would have been a satisfactory laksa.


Taste: 3/10
Would I order it again? No.

lychee tapwater/ Not as tasty as you think/ Lychees were okay

Tap water with some syrup from canned lychees, and then some canned lychees. It could have been okay, but too watery. The tap water has a metallic, minerally, chalky taste too.


Taste: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

Sugar will fix it/ Fix my drink but not my teeth/ Trip to the dentist


San Bo Liang is a drink made of primarily three ingredients, all of which have ‘cooling’ properties according to chinese medicine philosophy. One of them is the longan fruit, which has always been a ‘heating’ food (or so I am told). That…. doesn’t seem right. Whatever the case may be, sanboliang has canned longan fruit, some grass jelly, and a brown palm sugar syrup. It’s much tastier than the lychee drink.
But, I wouldn’t come back with company just to have laksa and sanboliang.


Sambal Kampung on Urbanspoon

Laksa Bar

Name: Laksa Bar
Location: 108 Lt Lonsdale St.
Cost: $11-15 laksa
Cost rating: 3/5
Taste rating: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10
Would I go again? Yes.

Laksa Bar (LB) opened around a year ago, in response for the need for more laksa in the inner city. It wins in term of location, and you will pay more for its location. (Roughly $2 more) It runs in a similar way to Laksa King, sharing the same 3-5pm break. But more expensive and dare I say it? Inferior? But then Laksa King has set some high standards. Laksa bar is still delicious and I’d come back if I am stuck in the inner city, and want to eat laksa or nasi lemak regardless.

While laksa (in all its regional variations) is LB’s specialty, LB also offers made-to-order rice and noodle dishes.

Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Lots of meat and sauce/ It is time to be hungry/ Nasi lemak time

Bowl of chilli paste/ What can I say about this?/Sambal is self-serve

Vinegary-sweet/ A simple vegie pickle/ Oh, the onions burn.

Favourite part of all/ Crispy crunchy salty fish/ Then more nutty crunch

Nasi lemak is something like Malaysia’s national dish. It’s a dome of coconut rice, with a main (in this case, beef rendang. But there are other options for the main at Laksa Bar), cucumber slices, crispy fried anchovies (ikan bilis), roasted peanuts, a fried egg and chilli paste (sambal) on the side. There’s also some sweet vegetable fast-pickles (acar) too.
The beef rendang here is a coconut beef stew, with plenty of sauce. It’s quite a large serve of beef rendang. It doesn’t have the same aromatic herby taste as the rendang at Red Spice Road, or the fat content. It’s lean, tender and focuses on the toasted coconut.
The fried anchovies and roasted peanuts are extremely crisp and crunchy. They’re the reason why I’d order a nasi lemak again at Laksa Bar. Nevermind the main dish.
Sambal is a sweet chilli paste. Not super-spicy. It’s less spicy than the chilli paste in MiGoreng.
The vegetable fast pickle is delicious. It has pineapple in it. It might seem odd to see pineapple used as a vegetable, but it delicious as a pickle.


Taste: 6.5/10
Would I order it again? No.

I like char kway teow/ Enough to order it here/ But bad decision

Mediocre. I found 2 crystal prawns. It’s definately edible, but nothing special. No impressive ‘wok hei’ or kitchen specs (super hot flame and heat conduction), or noodle tossing skills. The noodles were all broken up from poor tossing skills, and didn’t obtain a strong umami profile you get with excellent kitchen specs. I wouldn’t order it again at LB because I can find something on par, and costing less.
Then again, why order a noodle dish at a place that specialises in laksa?

Taste: ?
Would I order it again? Looks okay to me.

The chicken laksa/ Surprise! It's fried, not boiled!/ Richer than ever


Taste: ?
Would I order it again? I’d like to order it, but thwarted everytime!

Look, a huge mussel/ Mm, tender, not rubbery/ Tick of approval


Would I order it again? It has my attention.

Is that .... pineapple?/ Hybrid laksa looks tasty/ Curiosity


BARLEY TEA ($3.90)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Summery beverage/ Ice clinking on glass vessel/ A warm lazy day

Barley tea is a summer drink made from boiling barley in water and adding brown sugar. I don’t see how it can go wrong. Perhaps I will order it again when summer comes around.

Laksa Bar on Urbanspoon

Laksa King

Name: Laksa King
Location: 6-12 Pin Oak Crescent
Cost: $10-15 main
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 9/10

Laksa King is hyped to be the best laksa place in Melbourne, so my lunch buddy and I checked it out one grey Melbourne day. We arrived a bit after 3pm, hoping that the quiet lull that restaurants go through at 3pm would provide the space to take photographs least intrusively. It was spendidly quiet. So quiet it was actually closed. Laksa King has a break from 3pm to 5pm, remember that one kids.
(No, we didn’t spend 2 hours staring mournfully through the glass window/wall. Maybe 15 minutes before deciding whether to wait or go somewhere else.)
When it was finally opened, the staff were very friendly. I asked if I could take photos around the place, from the tables, to wall fixtures and food and they were very happy to let me do so, and even jokingly asked to have a their better half photographed.

Photos of mundane/ Chairs waiting for occupants/ Soon there'll be patrons

Artsy warehouse lights/ Light globes dangle from ceiling/ Quite mesmerising

Taste: 9.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes

An iceberg laksa/ Most of the stuff underneath/ Happier ending

It has pieces of squid, fishcake slices, prawns, eggplant, scallops and two green-lipped mussels. See pictures for all the description you need. I’m impressed with the seafood selection. Seafood laksa was had by my lunch buddy, a notorious prawn fiend but refuses to eat mussels. So I get to eat the mussels. The mussel was tender, sweet and umami. Huzzah for getting mussels right!
My only qualm is that the eggplant texture wasn’t quite right, it was … ‘squeaky’ and a bit watery. Same for the fish okra laksa.

Taste: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Creamy fish laksa/ To prevent overpowering/ Mild broth for fish

It has eggplant, battered and fried pieces of rockling (a sweet delicate white-fleshed) fish, and pieces of okra. It doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the seafood laksa but there is a LOT of fish in this laksa. Not the 3-4 sizable pieces of fish you’d expect in a noodle soup, but rather a number over 6 because I lost count after finding yet another piece of fish. The surprises just keep on coming. I do wish they were as generous with the okra as they were with fish.
I was going to place ‘No’ as a answer to ‘Would I order it again?’ but decided against it because it might misled you to think this wasn’t a tasty laksa. It’s a delicious meal packed with glorious fish goujons, the soup is creamy without being too rich, okra is crunchy and slimy in a way okra should be….. but what’s wrong with it?
It has no Hokkien noodles.
“But fish okra laksa isn’t meant to have Hokkien noodles!”
I hear you loud and clear. I now know fish okra laksa isn’t meant to have Hokkien noodles. But I love Hokkien noodles (those thick round yellow noodles in packets usually found in the refridgerated section). Out of the entire menu, all of which sounded appealing to me, I chose the only one without Hokkien noodles. (First world problems. Take that.)

Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Tower of shaved ice/ Over base of sweet goodies/ Peanuts essential

Melts into syrup/ Medley of colourful things/Fish out sweet goodies

After polishing off a bowl of laksa, the staff came over and asked if we liked their laksa (we did, very much so), and kindly indulged me by answering my questions about Hokkien noodles and fish okra laksa. (No Hokkien noodles in fish laksa. Only rice vermicelli noodles. Got it.) While we’re still drinking tea and digesting, another waitstaff comes by and asks if we’d like our ais kacang to be sweet. My lunch buddy is familiar with ais kacang (and being a sweet tooth), replies ‘Yes!’. Contrasted with myself who had little idea what an Ice Kachang was (and thought sweetening was optional), replied ‘No?’.

“Ais kacang must be sweet. Cannot have not sweet lah,” the man chuckles and disappears, shortly returning with a giant bowl of ais kacang.
….. Why did he even ask if it wasn’t an option to begin with? I am baffled, bewildered and bemused at this strange man.

In any case, ais kacang contains shaved ice, crushed roasted peanuts, pink syrup (from the jelly?), cubes of raspberry jelly, bits of grass jelly, cendol (green jelly noodles), palm seed, sweetened whole red beans, canned longan fruits and a thin palm sugar syrup. It was actually very tasty, and we got through the entire bowl with no trouble.

Laksa King on Urbanspoon

Old town Kopitiam Mamak QV

Name: Old Town Kopitiam Mamak QV
Location: 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne CBD
Prices: Entrees $5-10, Mains $15 ish, Drinks $3.90-5
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Oldtown Lemak Laksa ($10.50)
Taste: 6.5/10
Would I order it again? No.

Photography derp/ Focussing on the wrong thing/ Check out cutlery

Hello fish curry/ Damn, it's that sort of noodle/Shoot, foiled again.

Oldtown Lemak Laksa has a caption with its menu entry: “Thick white rice noodles in spicy coconut soup with fish”.

The noodles go pasty quickly, I advise you to eat them quickly. I don’t like these thick white rice noodles (the kind that are oily and dry as a wad of noodles), because they’re either uncooked/hard or pasty. I’d much prefer the thick white rice noodle that comes refrigerated, with the texture of Hokkien noodles.
The soup is thick, coconuty and is a sour and salty curry. I like the soup, it’s interesting from the first mouthful til the last. There is plenty of fish in this curry, which surprises me in a good way. The fish itself is an oily fish, which is great. Oily fish needs to be servred more often at eateries. But more care is needed with the preparation of the fish. There are a few bones and scales left, which make the noodles less easy to eat, and the soup gritty. There’s also another ingredient that makes the soup gritty, but I’m not sure what those are. I don’t think they are fried onions, because those become mushy when they’re in soup for an extended period of time. Maybe they’re fried bits of spices that got stuck at the bottom of the pot. Who knows? Whatever it is, grittiness makes a negative impact on the otherwise delicious soup.

There’s mint, cucumber and shredded lettuce to balance out the sour-salty coconutty soup and oily fish. There needs to be more cucumber and lettuce to balance it out for me. The soup is quite heavy from the thickness of it, so I feel as if I need more cucumber and lettuce to undo the heaviness. There’s also a little dish of sauce, but I didn’t add that to my lemak laksa. It tasted terrible by itself, and I doubt it’d taste much better in the laksa.

Mee Rebus ($10.50)
Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Hokkien noodles/ Limes make pictures look better/ This is food envy

Paste of crustaceans/ Spoonful of umami hit/ Please use sparingly

Mee rebus is a sweeter curry than lemak laksa. The soup is sweetened with a gravy made from sweet potatoes. It’s a subtle sort of sweetness, but it is nonetheless tasty. There are yellow Hokkien noodles here, which induced food envy. There are prawns, a boiled egg, dried shrimp paste, fishcakes, fried shallots, spring onions and a wedge of lime in this bowl of curry-like noodles.

Little green wormies/ Stir with spoon and watch them squirm/ Suck through straw om nom

Cendol in a Glass ($5)
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Cendol is a green jelly dessert. Sometimes the green colour and the flavouring is derived from pandan, but more often than not it’s from food colouring. The green riceflour dessert is then shaped into little worms and slurped up through a straw. The jelly worms are not brittle like ordinary jelly (think Aeroplane jelly), but more like a chewy noodle.

Bandung ($3.90)
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.


Pretty-in-pink drink/ Reminds me of cough syrup/ Childhood trauma

Bandung is a rose flavoured drink. It’s a tasty sort of rose flavour, so I didn’t mind it so much. I don’t like rose-flavoured, rose-scented, rose-anything. But in the rare event that I want to drink something rose-flavoured, this one is the drink to go for.