People that frequent Sydney may know of Mamak in Chinatown, and it’s popularity over there has seemingly lead to Mamak opening down in Melbourne late last year. Serving Malaysian food and leaning towards a more Indian/Malaysian style cuisine, they don’t offer a large selection of food but what they do focus on, they do it well.
Mamak’s popularity also extends to Melbourne, having walked passed there even before it opened I saw a few groups of people waiting until it was officially opened. I don’t know if it’s that honeymoon period most places have but I have a feeling it’s probably not just due to that.
We ordered their Curry Chicken Nasi Lemak, almost a staple of Malaysian cuisine, side note, even the Air Asia’s Nasi Lemak isn’t that bad, all things considered (
plain plane food) . This is their only rice dish unless you order the mains but they do also offer a few different sides with the Nasi Lemak such as curry chicken, sambal prawns or friend chicken at varying price points.
What was instantly pleasing was their sambal, it was spicy, sweet and basically just right. Their chicken wasn’t too bad either! It was cooked well, and the curry sauce didn’t have too many spices that some other restaurants seem to put. For the price though at $11.50 it definitely leans on the pricier side, Nasi Lemak tends to be under $10 due to it’s simple ingredients and easy to cook. I remember eating Nasi Lemak wrapped in banana leaves (smaller size) and with no meat in Malaysia for roughly $1 AUD. Bad comparison but now I feel like visiting Malaysian again.
We ordered a dozen Chicken and Beef satay for $16 and this again leans on the pricier side and the portions also seemed quite small but the sauce and flavour makes up for it. I really liked the satay sauce, it was spicy, and just sweet enough but I found it to be different to satay sauces I’ve had. It was nutty but didn’t seem to have that overwhelming peanut taste to it. If you ever venture towards Dandenong Market there is this fantastic satay shop near the Fish and Meat area, it has the best tasting satay sauce and chicken/beef satays at a reasonable price. You can buy them cooked, or uncooked (refrigerated or frozen). Really good.
I found the chicken satays to be the better of the two, having a more robust grilled flavour but still being able to taste the chicken. That’s not to say the beef wasn’t good either, but it certainly seemed a bit tougher in comparison.
I always jump at the chance to order Murtabak because it seems so rare around these parts, well, it’s certainly getting more popular so that’s a plus. I prefer the Lamb Murtabak due to the flavour of lamb oozing through the roti makes it usually a marvellous dish. What I liked about Mamak’s Murtabak is that they stuffed the roti full of cooked lamb, onions, cabbage and egg. The filling was cooked perfectly and I could have eaten it all day. The only downside of having a thicker filling is that the roti served was on the soft side. I like my Murtabak roti crispy and this was nowhere near that, sadly. Probably the best Murtabak I’ve eaten in Victoria is still Taste of Singapore.
The curry sauce provided was surprisingly good, it was spicy and just creamy enough. Only con was that it was served just warm, and after tucking into the Murtabak, it was basically cold! The spicy sambal as commented on above complemented the roti well, I only wish there was more.
The other curry accompaniment which I can never remember the name of, but is always served with Roti, is as what you’d find in any other Malaysian restaurant. I don’t tend to have too much of it, but a small amount of this is always nice to have with freshly made roti or Murtabak. The only other downside is that you have to wait 15 or so minutes. I guess it’s great that it’s made to order though.
You can’t go to a Malaysian restaurant without trying their Teh Tarik. I though Mamak’s Teh Tarik was on the sweet side but not probably not bad enough to think of your poor teeth straight away. I would also liked if it had more “tea” taste to it but other than that, I wouldn’t mind ordering it again. It was only $3.50 so it didn’t seem so scandalous. I remember ordering a Teh Tarik at the now closed Malaysian restaurant in QV (Before PappaRich) and that was served in this puny tea cup for two or so sips.
What I like about Mamak is they focus on Roti and Satays, some of my favourite kinds of food. It is a bit disappointing their menu doesn’t have that much variety but I guess in terms of mamak style food, this is what they usually offer.
Their sambal is a delight in both their Nasi Lemak and the Murtabak. You can see why people are coming back for more and I can’t say no to more mamak style restaurants in Melbourne. The majority of the food is tasty, and cooked with though. If you’re in the CBD and want Malaysian Mamak food, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one.
Although for more variety, ChilliPadi in Flemington I feel offers better bang-for-your-buck but YMMV.
366 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 3000
India Delights, as the name suggests is an Indian restaurant in Forest Hill, across the street from Forest Hill Chase Shopping Centre. I head one of the chefs here was from another Indian restaurant in Knoxfield (or around there) who has established this one recently. The food at India Delights is predominantly Indian (duh) but the food also has its Malaysian influences. It’s Mamak (Indian/Malaysian) but I feel it leans more heavily on its Indian ingredients as opposed.
Their Chicken Briyani as pictured above is quite tasty, the flavours of the rice are beautiful and taste as a Briyani should, plentiful of spices, and meat. The curry isn’t too bad either but it definitely tastes like your standard Indian curry (and spicy too). I prefer ChilliPadi’s Briyani to be honest and Taste of Singapore’s Briyani, but this would be a close third.
Indian Rojak is one of those dishes you hardly see, but nonetheless it is a treat to order. It’s basically an assortment of vegetables/salad ingredients with crispy friend potatoes and tofu mixed with a spicy gravy. My mother swears this is one of the tastier Indian Rojak’s around, better than ChilliPadi’s. Her stamp of approval is extremely hard to get (haha) and I find it it be quite great too. The gravy has a nice hint of spice that tingles on your tongue but doesn’t overtake the taste of the other ingredients. Very complementary.
I ordered their Lamb Murtabak and it certainly is on the thick side of things, packed full of lamb and onions. I found the bread to be too soft, I prefer my Murtabak to be crispy on the bite but here it feels like roti that hasn’t been toasted. It’s probably because it’s difficult to get the balance of crispiness right with the inside cooked well but I’m unsure.
The curry also isn’t too bad, I felt it uses too many spices that doesn’t sit right with me. Some might prefer this kind of curry but I like the creamier varieties with the spices toned down. Overall it’s a decent dish, and quite filling at that, but Taste of Singapore’s Murtabak has it beat.
Unsurprisingly, Indian Delights is quite popular with Malaysians and Singaporeans. During lunch time, that’s all you see eating there! I actually haven’t seen Indian diners there.
The food here as indicated above is more Indian influenced as opposed to Malaysian/Indian but that’s not a bad thing. A bit of variety is always welcomed. I don’t know if it’s my go to place for Mamak cuisine, however the food here served is overall quite good so on occasion I might venture down there again.
59 Mahoneys Rd
Forest Hill VIC 3131
Nanyang Kopitiam is located on Canterbury Road, close to an Indian grocer and a BP Petrol station. They offer a mix of Malaysian and Chinese dishes for a decent price. It’s not exactly a popular part of Box Hill, it’s actually very quiet even around the peak lunch time period on a weekend. [Update: Apparently this has closed down]
They don’t particularly have a great range of dishes to choose from, but they do have all your standards offered in many Malaysian restaurants here. One that seems to be on more Malaysian menu’s now is the Mee Rebus, and luckily for those Mee Rebus lovers out there, this is on Nanyan Kopitiam’s menu.
I’ll first talk about their Nasi Lemak. You get your choice of Curry Chicken or Rendang Beef like most Malaysian eateries, I often choose their Rendang since I like the flavours more so than your usual curry. It’s probably also that I often have Curry Chicken at home anyway.
Their Nasi Lemak also comes with your standard sides, so nothing out of the ordinary here. Their Rendang was a bit too tough for my liking, I think it’s because they hadn’t cooked it long enough but the sweet and spicy flavours were all there. I did enjoy it to be honest but the toughness was a bit of a letdown.
The sambal was overly sweet, and lacked that chilli punch that Taste Of Singapore has.
Overall it was a decent meal, and if you’re in those parts of town their Nasi Lemak is definitely okay.
I had a little taste of their Mee Rebus and it was quite good but it was odd because their sauce was extremely watery but it had all the essential flavours in it. I’m usually used to a thicker gravy but although this was different in looks, the taste was all there.
Probably the stand out for me was their Roti Canai. Their curry was delicious and had loads of flavour. It wasn’t too creamy and had just enough spice and heat to it. Along with their fresh roti (Their own roti if I’m not mistaken), that was nice and crisp on the outside but soft inside, I couldn’t really fault it.
Nanyang Kopitiam’s Char Kway Teow looked great. I only had a small taste of this as well, but again, it had a good balance of flavours and spice to it. People rave about Straits Char Kway Teow as one of the best in Victoria but this isn’t too bad either.
Strangely enough they say Kopitiam but it lacks many of the drinks you may find in a Kopitiam like for instance, Teh Tarik. I can’t remember if they served Coffee but I have my doubts.
All in all, if you’re in the area Nanyan Kopitiam will satisfy your Malaysian cuisine cravings. Even if you’re not , it’s decent enough to give it a try.
895c Canterbury Road
Tel: 03 9899 7077
Taste of Singapore is located on Clayton Rd, not too far away from Monash University’s Clayton Campus. If I’m craving Malaysian food and can’t find it anywhere, Singaporean cuisine will satisfy my cravings. What I’ve noticed between Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine is that Singaporean food is usually slightly sweeter but of course that can depend on where you frequent.
What I found with Taste of Singapore is that it had fantastic flavours and yet wasn’t that sweet like most Singaporean food I’ve tried.
Taste of Singapore serves quite a few well known dishes along with some not so famous dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Murtabak and Nasi Briyani. They also offer some sweet treats like Kueh and Teh Tarik!
Murtabak, as shown in the first image, is similar to Roti Canai but has a meat and onion filling. Usually this will be either lamb or beef. I’d probably go for their lamb but I know a few people who can’t quite stomach the lamb flavour.
Their Murtabak was very good, I do enjoy a crispy thin roti to dip into a spicy curry sauce and this dish met all my requirements for a great Murtabak. You also hardly ever can find a restaurant that sells Murtabak in Melbourne. So luckily it didn’t disappoint!
Taste of Singapore’s Nasi Lemak was surpisingly decent. Along with their cheaper than average, their serves are proportionate to their price. The Beef Rendang was cooked well and not too tough like some Rendang’s I’ve tried and the sauce had great authentic flavour to it too.
What was the biggest surprise was their chilli sauce/paste. I was expecting something sweet and not very spicy but this packed quite a good punch along with its sweetness so it balanced out nicely.
The usual assortment of egg, cucumber, anchovies and peanuts are mostly standard with what you get in any Nasi Lemak. I don’t think you can really go wrong with that.
Overall their Nasi Lemak is probably one of the better offerings I’ve tried in Melbourne.
I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the flavours are from the Nasi Briyani, while the rice looks plain enough it has good flavours to it. Although their serving size is less than desirable and with only one skinny chicken drumstick, I don’t think it’s value for money to be honest.
Oh Teh Tarik, how I love thee, and especially a good one. Taste of Singapore’s offering is one of the best I’ve tasted, probably up there with Chillipadi. It has a nice frothy top and it’s also not too sweet. A definite must try.
Here is one of their Kueh offerings on my Saturday visit. It was so-so. What I didn’t like about it was how sweet it was. It just overpowered any flavour that the Kueh was supposed to have. The one upside is that the texture was quite nice, it was slightly chewy but mostly soft like jelly.
Taste of Singapore has great flavours and although there are some cons with a few of their dishes, it does have a lot of upsides so I’d recommend you give it a try. The Singaporean chef is also quite friendly to chat too, so it has a great atmosphere to boot. However, I’ll admit the decor leaves a little to be desired.
Taste of Singapore
162 Clayton Rd
Clayton VIC 3168