Who doesn’t want a bit of theatre with their food? And when that theatre takes the form of a deft display of the roti throwing technique – stretching the dough out to almost transparent thins with the flick of a wrist – it never gets old. At Mamak, it’s all part of the show.
Mamak made its name as the place with a queue out the door in Haymarket, so when the owner/chef trio Julian Lee, Alan Au and Clement Lee expanded their flair to Mamak II in Chatswood, the North Shore thought all their Christmases had come at once.
People come here less for the space (generic cafe tables and red walls) and more for the flaky, oiled goodness of the Malaysian roti menu, exploding with distinctive Southeast Asian flavours. There are family groups dipping roti into kari sayur lentil curry, young couples giggling over ayam goreng fried chicken and business groups grabbing nasi lemak.
But Mamak has also earned a reputation for tall cones of crisp, sweet dessert roti (roti tisu) and a concoction involving creamed corn, rose syrup, sweetened milk and shaved ice, a lumpy sweet/savoury combination defying any kind of description.
Get in early, just like at the original, or you’ll be queuing down the street.