Long live Mamak!
This morning we were rushing around, trying to get all of our Saturday chores done before we could allow ourselves to be first in-line at Mamak Haymarket at 11:20am. But everything took longer than expected, and we only managed to arrive at Mamak at 11:40am! Noooo!
But there were no lines in sight, and we were immediately shown to seats – even allowing us to sit at a table for four, when it was just the two of us. That’s a change! In the past the only way you could avoid the crowds, was to line-up even before they threw open their doors for that day’s trade.
Scanning over their relatively limited menu, we ordered the Teh Tarik (warm sweetened milk tea) – $4.50; Sambal Sotong (stir fried cuttlefish in sambal sauce) – $20.00; Nasi Goreng (mixed fried rice) – $15.00; and 2 pieces of the Ayam Goreng (fried chicken) – $4.50 per piece.
Seated beside the kitchen we were able to listen-in to the pop playlist which the kitchen staff had playing for their own enjoyment (no music was playing in the rest of the store). And the wait staff and kitchen staff sounded like they were all enjoying their slow morning, laughing and joking – seemingly not concerned that trade wasn’t as bustling as it used to be. And after we had placed our orders, only one other party of four rocked-up after us.
When the food arrived, they all came in a hurry, one after another they were placed on our table. The first to be served-up was the warm sweetened milk tea, under the layer of froth was a very sweet and strong tasting condensed milk tea! Yum!
Next to touch down was the Sambal cuttlefish, but we waited for the rice to arrive before tucking in. The cuttlefish wasn’t as melt-in-the-mouth as we’d like it to be, but the sambal sauce was tasty. It was nose-runningly spicy, but tolerable, as the sauce had a sweetness to it – methinks palm seed sugar was an ingredient?
The Nasi Goreng was ok, a little non-descript, with once frozen peas and carrots mixed in with the diced-up pieces of prawn. But it served its purpose, in absorbing up the excess sambal sauces from the cuttlefish dish.
While we had been craving Mamak’s fried chicken for a long time (our go-to-dish each time we eat here), unfortunately today’s serving was only so-so. I had the drumstick, which was jumbo sized, with a crunchy fried battered exterior, and with a tender well-cooked interior (which had been lightly marinated). However my wife’s breast piece was dry and over-cooked.
We had planned to also order the dessert Roti at the end of our meal (deep fried roti served with ice cream), but unfortunately we were too full to try their sugary treats in the end.
Our end verdict, 3.5 Stars from 5 (2.5 from 3 for Food (the food was good, but it wasn’t amazing, nothing to write home about); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (all the staff were polite and friendly); 0 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (if you sat further away from the kitchen, there wasn’t any music to add to the store’s atmosphere); and 0.5 from 1 for Value for Money (Mamak’s prices are pretty standard for the city, not a bargain while not being too steep either- $49 for two)).
We hadn’t been back to Mamak in a number of years now, as we had spent much of our allotted Malaysian dine-out budget on Pappa Rich- but now that all the notable Malaysian restaurants in the city have closed down (Chintoria, Hawker, Pappa Rich, and most recently Petaling St), all we have now is Mamak. It’s good for us (and seemingly good for the hired hand) that Mamak isn’t as crazy busy as it used to be, as it means we can be walk-ups and everyone can enjoy themselves over a more laid-back meal. But fingers crossed that they’re turning over the tables frequent enough to pay their staff and all their overheads. Long live Mamak!
Mamak- Saturday 25 May (3.5 Stars)
PH: (02) 9211 1668
15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket
Mon-Fri 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10pm
Sat-Sun 11.30am – 2am