• Mamak (Lonsdale St, Melbourne)

I remember Mamak in Sydney years ago.  Before our flight home, we were at the door waiting for it to open, then scoffed down hot, delicious roti with watery dhal before rushing to the airport just in time for our flight.  It was worth it.

Since then, its Melbourne expansion has seen Mamak become the topic of gossip amongst foodies in the superior southern capital.  I finally checked it out, and compared it to the Sydney original, and the even more original roti breakfast I enjoyed in Penang.

Arriving at 1pm on a weekday, I was pleased to see tables available and was seated along the side wall without a wait.

The menu extends beyond roti but maintains Malaysian specialities.  I, of course, had to order the signature roti canai.

Usually served with two curries and sambal, mine arrived with a double serve of dhal – that being the only of the only vegetarian accompaniment.  It was thick with crushed lentils, lots of chilli and at one point a hint of aniseed.  The roti could have been served hotter, but the cooking was still admirable with a brown crunch on the edges, and a tissue-like, elastic dough in the middle.  As good as that in Penang?  The curry and roti there were better – but how can one deny that taste-buds are always more favourable judges on holidays?



Seeing Teh Tarik on the menu, I could not help but try it too.  I was pleased to see the milk being poured from high to give the beverage its name of pulled tea.  There was a lot of froth.  The tea was strong.  The condensed milk gave just the right amount of sweetness.  Sigh.  I could have been in Malaysia at this moment.


But I was not in Malaysia.  I was in the busy city, rushing in during my lunch break.  This is a proper restaurant, with proper tables and proper service compared to the casual but tasty coffee shops of Penang.  Still, the roti is enjoyable and cheap.  And to be honest, it was the best Malaysian food I have enjoyed in Melbourne for a while.  Go ahead.  Talk about it. Mamak.

Mamak
366 Lonsdale St
Melbourne 3000
03 9670 3137
www.mamak.com.au

Mamak on Urbanspoon

13 comments:

  1. On a cold wet morning like this in Melbourne, yes I do wish I was back in Malaysia having roti and curry for breakfast! During my last trip back to Sydney the queue at Mamak's was too long so I had to go somewhere else. As you say, everyone is talking about Mamak here so it'll be worth going to. Looking forward to a Malaysian meal at my friend's tomorrow evening. Ros

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  2. Oh that would be very very nice right now :) Enjoy tomorrow evening and please let me know what you think - will be interesting to hear what a real Malaysian food lover says about this place.

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  3. I've been keen to try this place out but wondering about the veg options. Thanks for filling us in!

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  4. Lovely to hear from you Cindy. The roti is worth a try, but it will probably be the teh tarik that pulls me back ;)

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  5. Love Mamak! Although the service can be a bit rushed, the food is amazing and I think that combination is Authentically Malaysian right?

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  6. I believe it is one of the more authentic places in Melbourne. But of course still not as good as the original street vendors and coffee shops in Malaysia. Still, the most important thing is not always authenticity but taste. Good to hear you enjoy it. :)

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  7. I'm going tonight, pretty excited! I've already scoped out the menu and am looking forward to the roti! I might even try their half coffee, half tea creation!

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  8. Hi Laura, I'm not quite tempted by the coffee/tea but let me know how you go. I also wonder if it is harder to get a table in the evenings. Enjoy :)

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  9. Just had dinner at Mamak's. Got there just before their doors opened and the restaurant was more than half full by 6pm. Of course I had to have their roti canai, which was delicious (exactly the way you described it). The dhal was a bit too watery but still tasty. I think I've been spoiled by my friend's dhal (hers is to die for). I had the teh tarik - good but perhaps too bitter. I also had the roti pisang. It was excellent with neat rows of sliced banana embedded in the roti and crunchy on the outside. That really took me back to the hawker stalls of Penang. I was also keen on trying the roti with kaya but when the waitress said the kaya was not homemade, I decided against it. I think it's best to go to Mamak's with several friends so you can try all their roti if you are a fan of roti like I am :-). I wanted to try their cendol too but didn't feel like it on a cold wet night. The service was very good too. Ros

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  10. Hi Ros, thanks so much for your detailed description. I had been looking forward to reading your thoughts on Mamak. I will have to try the roti pisang next time. And I like the tip about going as a group too. Elisa

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  11. You're welcome. I had to have my fill of Malaysian food before heading off to China next week for 3 months. I will definitely miss it as well as the variety of food in Melbourne. Reading Nouveau Potato will keep me going till I get back. Ros

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  12. Went back to Mamak's last Friday evening with a few friends. It was the first time for them so I was keen to see what they thought of the food. We ordered roti canai, roti tissue and roti pisang. My friend from Penang gave all of them big ticks, which is a huge endorsement. The sambal was also incredibly good and authentic. It was the first Malaysian restaurant my Italian friend had ever been to and he loved the food! I thought the sambal and curries would be too spicy for him but he didn't think so and had lots of it. The third friend also loved the food especially the roit pisang. I was glad I had gone back with a few friends so I could try more roti. The restaurant was full and noisy but the food made up for it. Ros

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  13. Great to see! I still think the best roti I have ever had was in Penang - it is hard to beat the food on that island. Hope you enjoyed it too. I have to go back again for a snack soon.

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