Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mamak Corner, Garran (ACT) by Big Fil

It's called Mamak Corner but I wouldn't really classify the food as mamak. It's more Chinese Malaysian or maybe just South East Asian. It seemed modified a bit for western palates too, which is understandable enough given its potential customer base. And so while it probably wouldn't cut the mustard in somewhere ultra competitive like Kuala Lumpur or Penang, given Mamak Corner sits in a non-descript local shopping centre in Garran I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty some of the food was.

First up was the Penang style Char Kway Teoh. The Penang style is definitely my favourite style of CKT. It makes much less use of sauce to impart flavour to the dish and consequently lives or dies by the amount of wok hei (breath of the grill) that a skilful cook is able to impart. This version did have more wok hei than I'd have anticipated, with slight charring to the texture and smokiness to the flavour of the noodles. What prevented it from being a great CKT was that overall the flavour was a little flat. Maybe a few more prawns and sausage or (duck) egg and a little less bean sprouts might have helped in this regard. 


Second dish up was the Seafood Laksa. First the good things about the dish. Lots of calamari, fishcake, fish, tofu, and both Hokkien and Bee Hoon noodles. On the other hand two things mean that I'd probably not order it again. The soup itself didn't grab me: the flavour should be complex from the spices used but this was a bit uninteresting. More importantly it ticked one of my major peeves, the use of seafood sticks. They're not authentic, they aren't even tasty. If you need to bulk up the ingredients I'd much prefer more fish cake or tofu, even nothing at all would have been better. 

Fortunately I was more than mollified by the last and best of the mains, the roti with beef rendang. Surprising too, given it was neither the fluffy roti or dry style of beef rending I prefer. But the roti was nice and crisp and flavoursome and did a good job of soaking up the accompanying sauce. One of the reasons I tend not to like the wet style of rendang is the meat is so often tough but this was beautifully tender. And the sauce itself was creamy and coconutty and very tasty. Just a delicious dish. 

The range of desserts is typically limited at most Malaysian restaurants but Mamak Corner does offer a few options including Ais Kachang. It's a hot weather style dessert, cool and refreshing with shaved ice, palm sugar and ice cream on top. I didn't think the version here stood out as being particularly good or bad, just a pleasant way to end the meal. 


It's clean, friendly, tasty and reasonably priced, all things you want your favourite local restaurant to be. Definitely worth a try if you are in the area, and if the roti is any indication of the rest of the dishes may be worth a revisit or two. At the very least, it's just so much better than the hospital cafe I'd otherwise be eating in. 

Food - 7.5 
Ambience - 6.5 
Service - 6.5 
Price - 7

4 Garran Place 
Garran ACT 2605 
Tel: (02) 6281 5830

Mamak Corner on Urbanspoon

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