Photographs: David Straight
Here’s a tip: get to Mamak early or go late. The tiny shopfront in the Chancery has a handful of tables inside and a handful of tables outside and it’s almost always full. It’s smart – white walls, dark wooden tables and Malaysian phrases written on the wall in bright green; the service is efficient and friendly. It’s a step up from most cheap eats: there is – holy of holies – a handful of beers and a few wines. No more do you need to smuggle in a bottle of red.
The food is hawker classics, done very well. The laksa ($14) is huge – really huge – and the stock has a decent amount of heat to it, including fresh chillis, which a lot of places don’t bother with. The char kuey teow ($13.50) is beautifully smoky. It’s not perfect – we had a beef rendang ($13.50) recently that, while tasty, was on the chewy side rather than the fall-aparty side.
But you really need to eat the roti curry chicken ($15.50). On an early visit, we asked the owner what the best thing on the menu was. Curry chicken roti, he said. They make the roti fresh each day: generous and beautifully flaky, so good they make other roti taste old and rubbery. The curry is rich and generous, beautifully spicy with fall-apart chicken. It’s the kind of dish that you want to go back and eat again and again. We intend to do just that. SFG
HOURS Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30 to 3pm and 5pm to 9.30pm
ADDRESS Chancery Square, 50 Kitchener St, City, ph 948-6479. mamak.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS Try the Malaysian coffee – it’s a treat.