Mamak Melbourne

September 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm (Malaysian, Melbourne CBD, Victoria)

So excited that the team behind Sydney’s Mamak has decided to expand their venture to Melbourne.  Now I don’t have to wait for trips back home to get my roti fix.  Despite having just recently opened their doors on Lonsdale St, we knew it wouldn’t be long before the word got around so K, J and I headed out after work to beat the dinner crowds.

It almost looks like the Sussex St restaurant has just been uprooted and placed on Lonsdale St.  Same no-nonsense layout of wooden tables and, of course, same shiny kitchen right at the front so that you can watch the skillful chefs preparing fresh roti while you wait for seats.

We started with roti canai; fluffy, flaky, stretchy pastry, served with fragrant dhal and sambal.

Murtabak, another popular street snack, takes longer to prepare (longer than the 5 minutes it takes for the majority of dishes to arrive anyway) but is well worth the wait.  Essentially a stuffed roti, it consists of a heavily spiced mixture of lamb or chicken, egg and sweet onion, wrapped in layers of incredibly thin, stretchy pastry.  Very dense and satisfying.

Rojak salad arrived piled high with cucumber, crispy jicama, fried tofu, boiled egg and sweet prawn and coconut fritters, smothered in peanut sauce.  A very appealing dish with good contrast between the fresh vegetables and rich flavours.

Nasi lemak (literally ‘fatty rice’) lived up to its name; fragrant coconut rice served with fried anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg, curry potato, sambal and curry chicken.  A bit more sauce and this would have been as good as you can get.

Finally, a meal at Mamak would not be complete without sweet roti.  I’m still unconvinced that curry sauce makes a good accompaniment to desserts so we had our roti bom with ice cream.  Appearance-wise, it’s not as intriguing as the giant, hat-shaped roti tisu but this sticky, plump, rolled roti is most definitely my favourite dessert on the menu.  It even won over K (not normally a dessert person), who described it as ‘a fried danish – disturbing but delicious’.

For drinks, traditional teh tarik (pulled tea) and cham (half coffee, half tea- bit odd, but trust me, it’s delicious) are highly recommended.  You can also ask for the drinks to be made less sweet, which should probably be the default because even this version is a diabetic’s nightmare.

With food on par with its Sydney sibling, and serving arguably Melbourne’s best roti, I can see Mamak absolutely taking off.  Hopefully this means more restaurants and shorter queues 😛

Mamak on Urbanspoon


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