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Dec 10, 2010 02:51 PM

Any intel on Mamak Cafe?

Have any of you been to Mamak Cafe?

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  1. nice find. menu looks interesting with the exception of the use of nasi kandar. the description sounds more like a mixture of a few items not nasi kandar. just hope they dont mislead people to think this IS 'nasi kandar'.

    1 Reply
    1. re: betterthanbourdain

      Nice find, oiboy! I was right beside it today at Bread and Meat (Meat and Bread?) but had no idea I was within feet of a new Malaysian place. Thanks for putting it on the radar. Wish they were open on weekends as I would go tomorrow...

    2. Yes, there are situated right inside of pub 340. Not the best possible location in terms of ambiance, but their beef rendang is unbelievably tasty and their prices Includes HST! The chef is from Jonker Street restaurant, which unfortunately closed.

      Jonker Street Restaurant
      1128 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6Z2X7, CA

      16 Replies
      1. re: greygooseroo

        Cool! It's hard to find a really tasty beef rendang. I never did make it to Jonker Street...

        I just noticed Mamak is still in soft opening mode so I may wait till the new year to give them time to settle in...

        1. re: grayelf

          Nice one oiboy. Great find. I wasn't a huge fan of Jonker Street (and less so of its new iteration Fresh Bowl). Perhaps the new setting will help (anywhere but Yaletown for Asian).

          1. re: fmed

            The rendang at Jonker was good. Can confirm that he was previously at Jonker. Jonker was struggling and needed a change. I agree fmed. Though is seems most standalone restaurant are struggling everywhere this days.

            1. re: betterthanbourdain

              This could be a great place to go for a pint and some hawker snacks in the interregnum btwn Xmas and New Year's. I love going out for a long lunch during that time!

              1. re: grayelf

                a beer and a roti: awesome snack combination because their roti is actually very good as well: light and crispy. i will definitely be back for lunch this week to try the other items they have.

                1. re: greygooseroo

                  agreed the roti is very good relative to other version in this city. i.e. Still not stretched filo thin like the Mamak or M'sian pros.
                  also as mentioned the rendang is good. beef falls apart tender as prefered by some M'sian chinese.
                  those were the two items i liked. the other items has room for improvements.
                  everything is made fresh in house. it is a place in transition. the menu offers east hasting pub style menu and semi authentic Malaysian menu. the ambiance is 'interesting'.

                  love to hear your report back .... does vodka and roti work as well, greygoose?

          2. re: grayelf

            GE - I just had some really decent beef rendang last night at Kedah House (SE Marine, at Argyle, next to Visions Electronics). Place is like a larger version of Hawker's Delight. See Chowtimes review of Kedah. I'm all of a sudden craving Malaysian these days.

            Nice to see a Malay resto in Gastown !

            Mamak's roti canai looks pretty dang good.

            Kedah House Restaurant
            5750 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W2Z5, CA

            1. re: LotusRapper

              Saw your comments on CT -- will make it to Kedah one of these days :-).

              Rendang and roti on the radar for Mamak, BTB.

              1. re: grayelf

                "Rendang and roti on the radar for Mamak, BTB."

                The kids nowadays would call that "FTW !" :-)

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  LR, what is FTW? LOL.. you should know by now accronyms are frowns upon on this boards. :-P just kidding. I also have been craving good M'sian food.

                  The mamak stall menu is limited. GE and if anyone interested, Charles from Mamak house want to offer a 'chowdown' menu. Just putting it out there....

                  1. re: betterthanbourdain

                    Sounds like a plan, btb -- we need a food chowdown in Jan to complement the coffee tasting. Do you think Charles would be ready for that?

                      1. re: fmed

                        Picking a date, and checking it twice, gonna find out if Mamak's naughty or nice...

                        1. re: grayelf

                          LoL grayelf... .

                          fmed... what would be worthy of a chowdown menu? i cant think right now.
                          FWIW, Charles is a self trained Malaysian chef. He took weekend classes at the San Francisco Culinary Arts. He has worked doing chinese bbq in HK.
                          I'll give him a call . Get some ideas. Fair to say his cooking style and flavor profile is different than Jamal, Kedah house or BLK.

                  2. re: LotusRapper

                    the rendang at kedah house is inconsistent. partly because it's of the buffet spread possibly. sometimes the beef is a tad tough for my liking. but authentic in flavor when compared to others in town.

              2. I work around the Gastown area and happened to try Mamak Cafe today(I was originally gonna grab a porchetta at Meat and Bread, but it was packed!)
                Saw a sign outside of Pub340, decided to give it a try...
                I have to say, when I walked in, I wasn't sure if I was in the right place (Mamak Cafe is situated in Pub340), the place is a bit dark but the place is clean ... the Pub/Mamak wasn't busy in the afternoon, I guess not a lot of people know about this place yet, so I got a chance to chat with the chef.
                Apparently the chef at Pub 340 used to be the owner/chef of Jonker St(never got a chance to visit Jonker Str) and let me tell ya, he can cook Malaysian food! (My bf is Malaysian, so I know a thing or two about Malaysian food)
                If you go, order their "Nasi Kandar"(like betterthanbourdian said, it is not really nasi kandar, but a mixture of a few item), it comes with chicken curry, sambal prawns and beef rendang, papadum and rice, so you get to try a little bit of everything.
                Like many of you mentioned already, their beef rendang/Roti is to die for. Awesome food for less then 10 dollars including HST, (every little bit helps in this economy)...:)

                5 Replies
                1. re: Arwai82

                  i went to meat and bread after for their porchetta and bacan ice cream sandwich. i like the 'bun', salsa verde, sambal and mustard best. Mine you my timing wasnt right, i was there mid afternoon. The pork was sitting in the alto sham for a while so the crackling wasnt right and the meat a tad dry.

                  as for the bacon gelato, i had a bite and offered the rest to my friend who took two bites. it didnt get finished. i dont mine salt with sweets. but it was overtly salty and the texture of large frozen chunks of bacon made it a mealy savoury sandwich. I like the cookie/sandwich.

                  i can see the appeal of B&B. it is made with care and thought. overall i wasnt dissapointed. but just felt something was missing.

                  1. re: betterthanbourdain

                    Went to Meat & Bread today for lunch, you're right, my friend ordered a Porchetta, she said it wasn't so good today...the skin was not very crispy, maybe its because I went after 12:30pm.
                    I ordered a meatball sandwich, it was pretty delicious, it was loaded with meatballs and the seasoning was just right, perfect comfort food for a day like today.
                    As for the sambal, Meat & Bread's sambal is a little bit different then the traditional sambal that I am used to...
                    Does anybody know if Mamak sells their sambal? I really liked their's very similar to what I had in Malaysia...

                    1. re: Arwai82

                      I made it to M&B last Friday and hit it perfectly at 2:30 or so as a whole porchetta had just come out. Crackling was very crispy (though I could have used more). Meat was not as flavourful as my memories of Roli Roti in SF but quite tasty. Bun was firm enough to hold together but not so firm as to rip your teeth out. Very enjoyable. For me the highlight though was the ice cream sandwich. I loved the largish chunks of slightly chewy bacon contrasting with the creamy vanilla ice cream and the cookies are delightful. No mealiness, thankfully -- different batch than btb's maybe?

                      I think I'd be here a fair bit if I lived or worked in the hood but it's a little out of the way for me (went after a visit to the Christmas Market from whence it is only a short walk).

                      1. re: grayelf

                        i defitnitely agree that it makes a big difference. roast needs to rest and get sliced and eaten within a certain amount of time preferably. same with the crackling. the crakling i had was moist. i can imagine what this would taste like and what texture they intended to serve the porchetta at. but mine might have been a one off like i mention. i think what i was saying is that pretty much that it was good, but i had the porchetta near the end and sitting in the alto for at least 1/2 hour.

                        on the ice cream sandwich i like the cookie but not the ice cream. what i found was that the chunky bacon took longer to chew and swallow than the ice cream and cookie. so i ended up with salty cold bacon in my mouth. i would have prefered that they at least make it candy bacon. than the finish is sweeter, more akin to desert. i would give M&B another try. esp if the porchetta if fresh with nice crakling. it is the best sandwich of this kind in the city. but as mentioned prob not as great as Roli Roti.

                        1. re: betterthanbourdain

                          It's hard to get a good crackling unless you go to a place that specializes in porchetta and has a large turnover. Roli Roti (SF) succeeds because they always seems to have a long lineup. They have about 10 porchetta rolls on the rotisserie all at once. Anyway...fodder for another thread....not this one about Mamak.

                2. Just a follow up post (Unfortunately no camera as Nikon service staff is on holidays)

                  Went there for lunch yesterday and ordered the roti canai, laksa, beef rendang, and sambal udang.
                  The roti canai was dry dense and very oily. It tasted like those frozen paratas you can buy at T&T. The sauce though was good though we had to douse the rotis in the sauce. The laksa was OK though we thought the flavors/heat were dumbed down. We had better at the food stall in Richmond Public Market or Bo's. It was almost they added too much water in their broth to cater cut the flavor of any spices they used. I wish places stayed true to their cuisine and not "try" to cater to western palates. The beef rendang was actually very good. I think they used grated coconut in addition to coconut milk. It was the best dish we ordered last night. I actually liked the rendang here more than Kedah House or Seri Malaysia. It was fork tender and not too liquid. After that dish we regained some hope. We ordered the sambal udang (prawns) the prawns were cooked well and not rubbery, but the sauce was sickly sweet, think ketchup or banana sauce. It didn't have the flavour of any sambal I've ever eaten. My colleague commented it tasted like sweet and sour prawns. In all fairness they just recenty opened and perhaps they are working the kinks out of their recipes. I will go back in several months and try them again. I still have hope for them.

                  Seri Malaysia Restaurant
                  2327E Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V6, CA

                  Kedah House Restaurant
                  5750 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W2Z5, CA

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: oiboy

                    Thanks for the update, oiboy. Will deffo try the rendang on Friday as it sounds lovely. Too bad about the roti though, and appreciate the warning on the sambal udang.

                    1. re: oiboy

                      Great update! i guess them being new may have led to some inconsistencies in the product they are trying to put out. From my experience, their roti was probably the best i had in Vancouver. It wasnt dry and oily like you said but flaky and light. Just out of curiosity, where have you had better roti?

                      1. re: greygooseroo

                        I'vr had better roti canai at several places. The now defuct Taste of Singapore restaurant in Surrey, Bo Laksa King, and even Tropika. Obviously they are not up to KL hawker stand roti canai, but for Vancouver they were not bad IMHO.

                        Bo Laksa King
                        4910 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R, CA

                        1. re: oiboy

                          I've heard from a chef friend of mine that most of these restaurants does not make their own Roti, they order them from a supplier, but I have to agree that these roti taste pretty good even though they are not made from scratch.:)

                    2. has anyone tried their beef satay? I could never find beef satays that aren't too tough. Makes me stick to chicken although i like the taste of beef satays better

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: greygooseroo

                        We didn't have the satay but we did get to try a few dishes at lunch on Friday. Chicken kari, mee goreng with shrimp, laksa, rendang and roti canai. The first three were okay, though the chicken was all white meat and quite dry, the mee goreng was sweet but then it usually is I think, and the laksa was probably my favourite. Maybe not authentic (?) but tasty and the noodles were very nice. The roti was just okay and quite small, but for me the rendang was a fail. Way too sweet, and far too much ginger with no depth of flavour at all. BTB took some fotos (speaking of fail, I showed up late with not one but TWO dead camera batteries) so maybe he will post 'em. I'm afraid I won't be rushing back especially with Meat and Bread right next door and reopening today after the Xmas break.

                        1. re: greygooseroo

                          Just a little follow up. Tried the beef satay. A little tough and dry so i'll be sticking to the chicken. I don't think their rendang is a fail though. I grew up in malaysia and it's very close to what I used to have growing up except i think my grandma's version was sweeter and spicier.