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13th December 2023

PappaRoti review: Malaysian coffee buns make their mark in Manchester

PappaRoti in Piccadilly Gardens provides a comforting atmosphere for consumption of their customisable coffee buns
PappaRoti review: Malaysian coffee buns make their mark in Manchester
Photo: Sumayyah Khalid @ The Mancunion

Internationally inspired sweet treats are enjoying a renaissance in Manchester, with Fluffy Fluffy’s Japanese soufflé pancakes and The Fing Fing Cloud’s Hong Kong bubble waffles having recently whetted the appetites of Mancunians. Joining the fold with a new store in Piccadilly Gardens is PappaRoti, an international restaurant chain established in Malaysia in 2003. 

PappaRoti’s signature menu item is their coffee bun: a plain, unassuming yeast-based sweet bread baked with a coffee caramel glaze. You can adapt the original bun to your liking with their multitude of drizzles and nut toppings.

Ice cream sandwich buns are also available, with a choice between four ice cream flavours and twelve toppings. An enticing array of hot and cold drinks are on offer – though these will typically set you back just as much as the price of a classic bun, if not more.

The café’s interior is tastefully decorated. Warm, muted colours and bright lights give a homely yet modern feel, blending the brand’s humble domestic origins with today’s eye for the aesthetic.

Photo: Sumayyah Khalid @ The Mancunion

We ordered a signature coffee bun with Nutella, and an ice cream sandwich bun with caramel ice cream and chocolate chips. These were promptly delivered to our table, and yes – they did look as good as they do on Instagram

Photo: Sumayyah Khalid @ The Mancunion
Photo: Jacob Robinson @ The Mancunion

Nutella was a heavenly complement to the crunchy biscuit shell of the classic bun. The contrast between the bun’s crisp exterior and fluffy interior was exciting and unexpected. Neither sickly sweet, nor confusingly savoury, the signature bun’s appeal was undeniable. 

In addition, the ice cream was cleanly smeared inside the sliced bun – resulting in a less messy eating experience, particularly if you are taking your order to go. The warm bun distinguished the ice cream sandwich from your typical freezer fare. Once again, the balance between sweet and savoury was beautifully struck. 

PappaRoti’s menus have regional differences to suit the local clientele, with the US menu featuring a ‘cinna-bun’ and the Dubai menu including Knafeh, a traditional Middle Eastern dessert. Their ice cream sandwich flavours – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and caramel – are among the top five UK favourites, according to a study conducted earlier this year. 

In light of this information, we considered the ice cream sandwich to be a solid addition to the UK menu. It could indeed become a staple in the summer months. However, it is the café’s drinks which have pride of place on the wall-mounted menu – with the topping choices for the signature bun, and the ice cream sandwich bun and its customisation options, being bizarrely excluded. 

The pricing for the signature bun starts at £5.50, with each drizzle costing an additional £1.20 – or an additional £2.25 for nuts with a drizzle. The ice cream sandwich bun costs £8.50, which includes the price of one topping. Any further toppings incur the same additional charge.

Though PappaRoti is a more upmarket dessert parlour, it is a worthy addition to your pudding portfolio – whether for a get-together with friends, a family outing, or a solo excursion.

PappaRoti is open from 9am-10pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-11pm on Friday, 10am-11pm on Saturday, and 10am-10pm on Sunday.

Sumayyah Khalid

Sumayyah Khalid

Winner of Writer of the Year (The Mancunion) (SU Awards 2023) | Highly Commended for Best Newcomer (The Mancunion) (SU Awards 2023) | Shortlisted for Best Newcomer (Rising Star) in the UK (SPA National Awards 2023)

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