Mamak

366 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9670 3137
mamak.com.au

Earlier this year, I tasted the best roti in Australia. It may not be exactly the ones you can buy for less than a dollar at a street stall in Malaysia but I’d say they’re pretty damn good. And given the lines forming outside of Mamak on Goulburn Street, Sydney, every hour of every day, you can bet that I’m not the only one who thinks Mamak’s roti dishes are excellent.

So when I heard that Mamak was opening a branch where the Lonsdale Street JB Hifi DVD store used to be, I was ecstatic.

Like OMG-THE-FINAL-SEASON-OF-GOSSIP-GIRL-IS-AIRING-SOON-ECASTIC!

(Yes, I’m aware that the above TV show had gone to sh-t a long time ago but like that was going to stop me from watching)

Mamak had their soft opening a week and a half ago, which I was invited to but could not attend. Then they had their grand opening a few days later which I actually rocked up to … only to find that the line at 7:30pm that night was as long as the inbound traffic on the Eastern at 8:00am in the morning. Screw that.

My chance came on Sunday, however, when I arrived at 11:45am for an early pre-studying lunch. Mamak opens for lunch at 11:30am so I thought the place wouldn’t be terribly packed, especially on a Sunday when most Melburnians are nursing killer hangovers.

I was wrong.

It was more than half full by the time I arrived, with happy couples feasting on all manners of roti dishes and Malaysian staples such as nasi lemak and fried noodles.

Everyone who’s been to Mamak knows that you have to be stupid if you leave here without ordering a roti dish. It doesn’t matter whether you order a roti on its own or with a main meal, it needs to be ordered. My preference is to order the roti and not bother with everything else for you can get better nasi lemak, mee goreng etc in the suburbs. On Sunday, I ordered a roti chanai ($5.50) and a frothy glass of teh tarik (above, $3.5o), lovingly made and presented with a flourish by my friend Jess, who I first met at the Sydney restaurant and is now helping Mamak in showing Melburnians how it’s done.

The roti was predictably amazing. When you’re not particularly hungry, all it takes is a ball of freshly-made roti that was soft, fluffy, crunchy, flaky and buttery in equal doses. And while the curry sauce, the dahl and the dab of sambal were all delicious accompaniments, the roti still tasted excellent on its own – that’s gotta be a testament to good roti. It was only a small meal, but it was enough to keep me full while I spent the rest of the afternoon studying.

Another thing I need to add here is that the service was great. Jess and her crew were polite, helpful and friendly despite being run off their feet with the Sunday lunch crowd. I also received my roti and tea pretty quickly too. From what I could see, there seemed to be very little (if any) teething problems despite only being open for a few days which I think is an incredible achievement.

It will be a while before I return – and it’s only because I hate queues more than anything else. In the meantime, I’m just glad that Melbourne Mamak lovers don’t need to cross the border for some good roti☺.

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39 Comments

  1. It’s unfortunate that Gossip Girl has gone downhill since they left constance… but I still love the show and cannot wait for October!!!! Roti love amazinnnnnnnnnnnng!

    1. Yeah, I hate how the writers made up a bunch of convuluted storylines to keep everyone in New York. Pfft. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for the final season to start 🙂

  2. OHHHHHHHH!!! This is the first post I’ve read about Mamak. Good on ya for being ahead of the pack. And omggg I feel so conflicted because I seriously hate queues too. Is there any time at all that this would be less busy for me to visit? Think they’re definitely giving the Papparich chain a run for their money, don’t they? The roti looks so perfectly flaky and delicious. Want…To…Try…But…Qssssss =/

    1. The place opens at 11:30am for lunch and 5:30pm for dinner. Like Papparich, they don’t take bookings so I would advise you to come as early as you can (yes, I know 11:30am is a tad early for lunch but it’s either eat early or line up) or you’ll be standing there waiting!

  3. Oo I’ve been wondering how it lives up to its original store! Good to hear although the lines put me off a bit, I will make sure I go during the non-peak hours 🙂

  4. yummmmm, fresh roti. this review is exact to wifeys comments as she went last fri. now i want to go. move aside Pappa Rich Mamaks taking over. btw Libby the photo is almost similar to zam zam pic. 😛

      1. Wifey liked it so much that today she took me for lunch o/ and we were lucky not have to line up but after we ordered the long Que started to form. we didn’t order much as we were so full the Le petite gateau ( yes, we had dessert before before lunch) i was looking for Hainan chicken anyway. they have a very small menu though. the roti is soooooooooo good. worth the visit. service was even better. Mamak welcome to melbourne, all the best.

        Went to proud Marys for breakfast this morning over Le traiteur we’ll hve to save for next time.

  5. Bahaha, I’m one of the people who gave up on Gossip Girl during the Blair-Dan season. Dear heavens it just goes round and round and round and the BORING, the BORING. But at the same time, I understand seeing it through to the end.

    And that is my comment, which has nothing to do with food. End scene.

  6. Oooh, I’ve been watching this place setting up with interest and the smells that emitted from it on Monday almost drew me in! Looking at that photo you can be sure I’ll be back now to actually buy something.

    1. Haha I know which word you’re talking about! LOL

      To be honest, I don’t really like most Indonesian restaurants in Melbourne – Sydney is the way to go! I prefer to eat my mother’s Indo food any day. That said, I’ve heard places such as Bali Bagus and Gramerica (both of which I haven’t tried) are good so I will make a visit to both at some point 🙂

  7. Oh man, I had a work lunch at Zam Zam last week and my jaw dropped when I saw Mamak next door! So wish I went there instead lol next time I guess 😀 Can’t wait!

  8. Ohhh you are so so so quick 🙂 I’ve been meaning to go visit hehe but then I’m worried about the wait, so I think I’m gonna have to go extra early! I’m super excited about trying the roti every single time when I’ve gone to the Mamak in Sydney the wait is too long so we just got takeaway 🙁

  9. sweeet saint peter! That roti looks fanntaaasssssssstic!!! I love roti and haven’t had it in so long. The last time I ate it was during my stay in India. Imagine, fresh village hand made roti cooked over open fire. 😀

  10. I’m not the biggest fan of queues, but who is? I’m still willing to give it a go though, since I didn’t get to try last time I was in Sydney, and after you gave it such a good review! 😀 One of my friends is apparently working in the kitchen there too.

  11. Hi there libishski. I have to say i’m a big reader of your blog as it is one of my favourites, and having recently eaten at Mamak, can fully endorse how good the roti is. It’s a great place for really good quality cheap food 🙂

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