RESTAURATEUR JEFFERY NG has found his culinary niche. He has opened his drawcard Mamak spot with wife Charlotte in the Chancery Precinct, Auckland CBD. With a captive market of Malaysian nationals, students, a lot of whom live in the central city, and locals who love Malaysian food, Mamak caters for all. It's a firm favourite with my CWI Aunties.
Mamak refers to the cuisine of Tamil-Muslims of West Malaysia. Mamak stalls and cafes offer cheap abundant food, from breakfast to dinner. Most dishes are accompanied by roti and the usual dhal or curry. Jeffery has picked up on this model and opened Mamak Malaysian as a modern take on Mamak cuisine. Muslims can dine here, the food is halal. And the chef is from Sarawak, our home State.
The fit out is modern, with Malay phrases and English translations on the walls. You can sit outside under huge shades in the precinct. Gas heaters keep you warm. Start with Mamak Tapas: Tofu Sambal, Sambal Grilled Prawns, Chicken Satay, Spicy Soft-shell Crab, Pandan Soy Bites, Sambal Sotong Balls or Sambal Telur (deep-fried hard boiled eggs with sambal sauce).
For mains, you can't go wrong with the Nasi Lemak, or a Beef Rendang, all manner of curries served with lemak rice or roti and Indian cabbage. You can have the roti as roti canai, roti telur (egg) or roti bawang (onion). For noodles: Mee Goreng, Char Kueh Tiaw, Curry Chicken Ho Fun. The food is authentic enough but more tailored for the New Zealand palate. The robust tastes of the cooking at Mamak stalls is not quite there though the food is spicy and hot enough (check the 3 chilli indication). Nice serving touches include lemak rice (with coconut milk), banana leaf and sambal, big plates and deep bowls.
For drinks, Tiger Beer is a great accompaniment, and their wine is by the mini-bottle. Rather humorous and wine afficianados will turn their noses up at this choice. But then wine does not feature much in Mamak cuisine, its a European affectation. You can choose Teh Tarik (pulled tea), Teh Ais (ice milk tea) or Kopi O to end the meal with with the piéce de rèsistance Roti Tissue, crispy 'tissue' thin roti built in a cone 40cm high. The inside surface has a sugar syrup. For added sweetness, there is a saucer of condensed milk for you to dip into. Rather decadent!
The young squeal with delight when they find they can have Kickapoo Joy Juice or A&W Root Beer. I have been meaning to ask Jeffery whether he make me a root beer float. One day, soon.
50 Kitchener Street
Ph 09 9486479