Mamak is a restaurant that's rather popular in Sydney, which has found its way into Melbourne. When it first opened, I remember the buzz about the fact that it was opening, and the long queues of people lining up for a table every day. Big Fil went there a few weeks after it opened (see his review in September 2012).
As I'm quite skeptical of most things, I figured, if Mamak is good, then it would be around for some time and, as such, I don't need to hurry to try the food there. When I first ate there (over a year ago), I didn't see what the big deal was. The food was okay but I thought it was a bit pricey for what it was. I didn't have anything against the place but I wasn't in a hurry to go back.
So a few weeks ago, it happened that we needed a quick apres work dinner. As it was before 6pm, the place wasn't full and we got a table straightaway.
We got two mains and some roti chanai to share. The roti was flaky and light and came with some dipping sauces. By memory, the yellow one was had some lentils and wasn't too spicy (it was our preferred sauce), while the orangey one was bit more spicy. We didn't even try the chilli sauce because it'd probably be too hot for us. While the roti was freshly made and the sauces were nice in flavour, the sauces, however, were lukewarm. Tsk.
For the mains, we got nasi lemak w curry chicken ($12). Instead of curry chicken, you can choose curry fish, lamb or veggies; sambal prawn or cuttlefish; or fried chicken. A big mound of coconut rice was the good thing - as were the ikan bilis, roasted peanuts, cubes of cukes and the boiled egg. The curry chicken itself was rather mingy. Two pieces of mostly bone and gristle with very little meat, and also served rather lukewarm. Definitely not worth the $12.
The mee goreng ($12) was slightly better - at least it was freshly cooked. Stir fried Hokkein noodles w egg, prawns, fish cake and bean sprouts. It was okay but nothing exceptional or noteworthy about it.
Food – 6.5
Atmosphere – 7
Service – 7
Price - 6
While my first visit I thought Mamak was 'meh', based on my latest visit, my thoughts are "I'm not coming back". There was a whiff of MSG from one or both of dishes - I couldn't tell which one though. It was enough to make me feel really thirsty afterwards.
Food is average - you can certainly get better for cheaper or at the same price elsewhere. I still can't understand what the big deal about this place is (and there are still queues during the peak dining times). For the price, the serving size is on the wee side - we were both still hungry afterwards. I certainly wouldn't line up to eat here.
This ain't a cheap and cheerful sort of place. It's mid-range but they still expect you to clear your table asap so they can give it to the next lot of diners. Overall, I find Mamak a bit of a rip-off.
366 Lonsdale St
Telephone: 9670 3137