One of the bloggers we met at the Restaurant Atelier blogger dinner was foodpornnation. It was there we discovered she had never dined at Mamak but had read about it on our blog. It didn’t take long for us to lock in a catch up… at Mamak of course.
This time around it was Lex who went as the advanced guard to secure a place in line, as myself, foodpornnation and Brazil were stuck at work a tad later than expected. When I arrived Lex had only been waiting in line for 10 minutes and we were already the next group of four set to be seated. Score, a nice and quick wait this time around.
Roti canai ($5.50).
Since this was foodpornnation’s first time at Mamak there were a few dishes we knew we had to get and roti canai was one of them! As always the fluffy ball of roti was great, so easy to break up and enjoy with the sides of dahl, fish curry and sambal belacan. Maybe it is the slight novelty factor of the canai but it is fast becoming a favourite of mine.
Roti telur – classic egg roti ($6.50).
Torn between roti telur and roti planta, it was hard work deciding which way to go. Should we opt for the classic egg telur or the rich buttery planta? I’m not sure what the deciding factor was but the telur won out. Soft layers of pillowy roti laced with light fluffy egg just make this a perfect combination.
Satay chicken ($9.00 for 1/2 dozen).
Satay skewers can seem a little pedestrian compared to everything else but it is not really the skewers that we are in love with. It is the peanut sauce that we cannot get enough of. Maybe the staff knew this because the skewers were tiny, we were all quite surprised at how little they were. Big or small they were still quite tasty with a nice amount of char. And because they disappeared in a few seconds we had to order another round, but mostly so we could eat the satay sauce, by the spoonful.
Ayam berempah ($16.00).
If chicken karaage is Japanese KFC then ayam berempah is Malaysian KFC. Morsels of chicken that have been blended with various herbs and spices and deep fried to create an amazing combination. It was the turmeric that really stood out for me, other than its vivid yellow colouring, the earthy piquancy of the spice had me going back for seconds… and thirds…
On our last visit there was no rojak available, so this time around (and after Jackie M’s gorgeous version) we knew this was a must. When it arrived it did not look as I had imagined, instead of my visions of a simple salad we were greeted by a tower of rojak standing tall and topped with crunchy prawn fritters. The thick peanut sauce drowned the rest of the dish and resulted in a rather soggy salad. We’ve since found out there are numerous versions of rojak, and sadly the Mamak version was not to our liking.
Nasi lemak ($8.50) with curry chicken ($3.00).
We’d not had Mamak’s nasi lemak before so it was an obvious addition to our order. A mound of coconut rice was surrounded by sambal, peanuts, crispy anchovies, refreshing cucumber chunks and half a hard-boiled egg (how do you share half an egg between four?) The addition of curry chicken took this simple ensemble to another level.
Moving on to desserts, it was foodpornnation who convinced us to try the cendol. A bowl of shaved ice, drenched in gula-melaka (palm sugar) syrup and coconut milk, all covering bright green starch noodles that had been made from fresh pandan leaves. It was quirky and refreshing, something I would never have ordered but a dish I will probably try again.
Roti kaya ($7.50).
Brazil’s choice was the roti kaya, a square of buttery roti filled with a pandan and coconut spread. The hit of the night, the roti kaya won us all over. Not too sweet or dominant the kaya (coconut jam) in all its coconut glory and hints of vanillaesque pandan were marvellous, I just love how versatile roti can be, savoury or sweet it delivers every time.
And we were done. As always, the queues and sporadic service were outdone by the delicious fare, and although the service can be a bit hit and miss it is nice not ever feeling like they are rushing you out the door. At $25 a head, Mamak delivers a lot.
15 Goulburn Street
Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9211 1668