Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dispatches from Sydney - Mamak

A few weeks ago I was in a taxi heading down Goulburn St in Sydney when I saw a crowd outside a restaurant. They appeared to be queuing and as I craned my neck to get a better view, I thought I could make out the words 'Malaysian' in the distance.  As a big fan of Malaysian food, two weeks later I traipsed back to the spot to check out what people had been queuing for.  At first, I was a little disoriented as there was no queue to help me locate the restaurant but as I walked up to the door, I could see the place that was jam packed with a small queue forming inside.  The restaurant in question was Mamak, a Malaysian restaurant specialising in roti.

 I'm not a fan of queuing. In fact, I consider it to be a cardinal sin, given the copious number of restaurants available.  I did break my own rule then, but reasoned that as there was entertainment supplied, I could weather the 5 minute wait.  The entertainment was provided by the staff in the open plan kitchen who were churning out the roti and pulled teas quicker than you could say 'street hawker'.  What an art!  The dough is stretched and spun until it is paper thin, then folded in on itself.  A short turn on the hot grill plate sees it browned and puffed.  My favourite part is when the roti are flipped off the grill and 'boxed' by the chef in a pushing/scrunching motion that plumps the roti.

'Boxed' Roti

No more Nasi...
We were quickly seated and given the short menu that still proved difficult to choose from.  We chose a classic Roti Canai from the roti section and the equally classic Nasi Lemak with a Lamb Curry side from the rice & noodle section.  I would have preferred a pulled coffee but it wasn't on offer so a Teh Tarik or Malaysian Pulled Tea sealed the deal.  All three items arrived within minutes of ordering.  Oh my goodness - that Roti Canai was good!  Hot, fluffy and slightly crispy with accompanying sauces, I could have had a dozen.  The Nasi Lemak also hit the spot with tender lamb, coconut rice and the traditional accompaniments of ikan bilis with peanuts, sambal and cucumber.  I could have sworn I took a photo of it.

We topped the meal with Roti Kaya, a roti filled with a pandan & coconut spread.  Like a sweet filled pancake, it was also hot and crispy and barely touched the sides.  We both agreed that it would make a great afternoon tea with the Teh Tarik.  And that was that.  Queuing, ordering, eating and paying took under 40 minutes.  By the time we left and stood outside, watching through the window as the chefs turned out roti after roti, the queue had started to snake out the door.  I can see why.

Mamak
15 Goulburn St
Haymarket  NSW

http://mamak.com.au/

Visited: Saturday 3rd March 2012 - Lunch Service

Mamak on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. Mmmmmm Mamak...
    We ate there on one of our last visits to sydney... roti is fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Fiona,

    It's a crime in Malaysia to leave that much sambal and ikan bilis on the plate after eating the nasi lemak.

    ReplyDelete

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