366 Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC 3000

Mamak has moved across the border. It was a natural step, really, given the success of its two sister stores in Sydney. After all, why should Melbourne miss out on all the fun? And aforementioned success is why no one was surprised to see the Malaysian restaurant fill up within the span of 10 minutes, once lunchtime hit.
Traditionally, mamak is a Malaysian term used to describe a small street-side food stall run by Tamil Muslims (says wiki). But these days they have evolved into more cafe-like establishments serving hawker-styled dishes. The menu isn’t big, specialising in roti and beverages, with a smattering of curries, satay, and whatnot. But who are we kidding, pass the roti please.
Milo Ais ($3.5)/Teh Halia ($3.5)
We started off with a couple of traditional drinks. Chris loved his cold glass of Milo Ais ($3.5), malty and chocolaty in the way mums everywhere forbade. But it didn’t hold a candle up to the warm complexity of the Teh Halia ($3.5), the traditional sweet and frothy ‘pulled’ milk tea made with condensed milk, enhanced with a satisfyingly spicy ginger powder (syrup? flavouring? essence? I’ve no idea).
Roti Canai ($5.5)
Roti Canai ($5.5)

The logical first step would be to try the Roti Canai ($5.5), a simple rosette of dough with a crispy exterior encasing pale, buttery ribbons. Torn into pieces and drenched in robust curry sauces, and maybe a daub of sambal, this was a shining ode to simplicity.

Chicken Murtabak ($11.5)
Chicken Murtabak ($11.5)
If you were after something a bit more substantial (though the roti canai is a lot more filling than it looks), the Chicken Murtabak ($11.5) is a good choice. It’s listed under the roti section but it’s really more of a sandwich-sized omelette, moist and fluffy with chicken, cabbage, and a pinch of curry powder, held in place by a sheet of gauze-thin roti. 
Roti Kaya ($7.5)
Roti Kaya ($7.5)

We were pretty much full but I couldn’t and wouldn’t leave without trying the Roti Kaya ($7.5). Talk about saving the best for last. The unassuming square of roti was just substantial enough to carry the thick, fragrant smear of kaya, a Malaysian coconut jam flavoured with pandan, yet still light enough for golden, crispy edges.

With a reputation preceding itself by 877.9km, it’s no wonder Mamak is, and will continue to do well. I personally wouldn’t cross the town to eat at Mamak, as the choices are a bit limited, but I would damn well hope that I’m nearby if a roti and teh halia craving hits.
Rating: 13.5/20 – satisfying the ro-teh craving.

Mamak on Urbanspoon

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  • Reply Peach 22/10/2012 at 9:06 am

    I wanted to have their Teh Tarik and they were old sold out. I personally don’t like the idea of a gingery beverage though!

    And.. what all Roti? LOL Good thing you didn’t get banana roti with curry ;P

    • Reply ming 22/10/2012 at 10:31 am

      How can you be sold out of teh tarik?! That’s like saying you’re sold out of coffee! And yep all roti; otherwise it’d be like going to a sushi restaurant to have ramen :p

      I saw your post on mamak, and I agree, I’m all for sweet and salty (mm salted caramel) but curry and banana roti? nothing except extreme starvation will make me have that :p

  • Reply MoMo and Coco Dessert Correspondents 22/10/2012 at 10:28 am

    Talk about carb-heavy dessert! Hoping to visit this place soon. Which time would you best recommend?

    • Reply ming 22/10/2012 at 10:33 am

      Carb heavy eh? Better balance out with some more ice cream! And I would say rock up just away from the peak hours. In other words, before 11:30, and between 2-5:30. Awkward times I know – the sacrifices us foodies make for good food!

  • Reply Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake 23/10/2012 at 4:47 pm

    I’m kicking myself for not ordering the roti kaya when I was there…it looks so good! I’m having massive roti cravings right now..not good to read blogs when I’m hungry!

    Did you know that Japanese people often add chocolate, coffee, bananas and all kinds of other unthinkable things into their curries? I’ve tried making it with chocolate and coffee before and it was so delicious so after that experience, I’m a lot more open to sweet and savoury things together now. :D

  • Reply ming 23/10/2012 at 10:51 pm

    No I didn’t know that, though I can’t say it surprises me either! But chocolate and coffee! My mind is still reeling at that o_O

    And there’s always a next time! The roti kaya was sooooooo good <3

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