pappa rich – doncaster (read the review first to see if you want to go)

now i’m no malaysian food fiend but i think i can recognise malaysian food reasonably well when i see and/or eat it. there’s a certain malay flavour, a core of malaysian-ness. this is not malaysian food. and the ordering process?! wtf?! let me explain…

for some inexplicable reason the decision was made to 1, eat in doncaster, and 2, book a table at pappa rich. that didn’t seem so bad at the time. doncaster (and springvale) are well known for some very good chinese restaurants so the concept wasn’t beyond the pale. or so we thought. we thought wrong.

i think we flicked through the menu a dozen times in search of something, anything, that looked appetising or even just edible. now i’m no gourmande (well, actually, that’s exactly what i am) but the words ‘maggi noodles’ should not appear on any restaurant menu. anywhere. full stop. think food court in a restaurant. a heady combination i think you’ll agree. i think i must have blocked out what i ordered – i didn’t remember then and i don’t remember now. thank you brain for you have saved me once again. something rice-y or noodle-y but who knows.

ordering was a bewildering process. every item on the menu has a letter and a number. i’m sure on some planet, the letters and numbers make some kind of sense but stick with me here. on the side of the napkin holder was a (hastily) written list of what was not available – again using the clever letter/number combination so we have no idea what the dish actually was unless we looked up the reference manual, er, menu. which we didn’t have. it just created a whole bunch of confusion, stupid questions, and even dumber answers like so:

“is n34 available?”
“dunno. what’s n34?”
“i’ve no idea. i think n is for noodles. or nut jobs. or no fucking system”

but get this – we have to write our own order made of letters and numbers, taking care not to select letter/number combinations that are not available as displayed on the now famous napkin list. then the waitress (ha!) comes over and checks that we’ve done it right, checking our order agains the list and announcing, to our chagrin, that there are additional meals that are not available (and not on the napkin holder list). this forces us to go back to rewrite the order. oh what a game!

when the food (and i’m being liberal with that term here, too) comes out, the name of the dish is announced but the waiter has no idea what the letter/number combination is! although we have been rapidly schooled in the aforementioned letter/number combinations while we wrote our own fucking order, we of course have no idea who has ordered what dish or what dish relates to what number. anyone see a problem with this whole business model? anyone? bueller? bueller?

are you fucking serious?! i was lost for words. still am. i now know that doncaster =! any sort of reasonable food experience, at least at senor rich. if i closed my eyes, i could have been in a food court. noisy kids and all.

do you still want the address?

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