When Gerard goes to Sydney for work he goes out for dinner and then comes home and tells me about all the fancy (and not so fancy) restaurants he went to. One of his staple quick dinners in Sydney is the ever popular Malaysian restaurant Mamak which specialises in roti and other delicious bits and pieces. Luckily about a month ago Mamak opened an outpost on Lonsdale Street. Gerard and I tried to go for dinner at around 6pm a couple of weeks ago and found that there was already a queue out the door. So, a couple of days later I went back with some friends on a Saturday night. Luckily at 6pm on Saturday there were plenty of table free. They were all gone by 6.30.
The restaurant is big, open and frantic with large photos of what I assume is the Sydney version’s kitchen on the walls. The kitchen is right at the front of the space giving you a great view of the roti rolling magic from the street.
I really enjoyed the food at Mamak. It wasn’t as fancy as I expected, but it was quick, tasty and cheap. The service was also particularly good for this type of busy, no-nonsense Asian restaurant. Good times if you can get a seat.
There were 4 of us and we shared a number of dishes. From the roti menu we tried the roti canai ($5.50) served with curry dip. It was delicious, just buttery enough. Next time I’d like to try one of the filled version. When I got home Gerard berated me for not also trying the dessert roti tisu, shame he forgot to tell me about it before I went!
Next up we tried the rojak ($14) – a Malaysian-style salad with prawn and coconut fritters, fried tofu, egg, cucumber and a spicy peanut sauce. This was delicious, easily my favourite dish of the night. If you could bottle this sauce I would drink it daily. Actually you probably could bottle it and I know that drinking it straight would be a bad move, but you get the idea. I’ll be eating this again.
We also had the nasi lemak ($8.50) with lamb (extra $3). The nasi lemak was tasty (and great value), but it was no rojak; that rojak was seriously delicious.
We shared a serve of a dozen chicken and beef satays ($16, $9 for a half dozen) with more peanut sauce. Personally I preferred the chicken.
Finally we had 4 pieces of the ayam goreng ($14 for 4, or $4 a piece). My BFF who came to dinner had been craving fried chicken all day and was devastated when we initially ordered and were told that they were all out of it. Luckily our lovely waitress came over to our table about half way through our meal to tell us that the chicken had been restocked and to ask if we would still like some. We jumped at the chance and really appreciated the waitress letting us know.
Mamak has taken Sydney by storm and now it’s Melbourne’s turn. If you’re looking for cheap, tasty Malaysian in the city and a roti-throwing-show you can’t go wrong.