Mamak. A new restaurant offering a mix of exotic and more approachable street food dishes from Malaysia. Exotic enough to excite the foodies, and approachable enough that I can bring my husband. The place is tiny and a little worn looking for a new restaurant, but the service and flavors more than make up for it.
There actually weren’t any tables available when we arrived for lunch on a Saturday afternoon, but the staff quickly scrambled to get us seated and comfortable. The whole time we were there, the women who waited on us were very warm, inviting and accommodating, making us feel like they really appreciated our business. And we appreciated them!
Check out my video review here, then keep reading below for more details!
First I had the Malaysian iced coffee, which was like a dream from heaven and potentially the best iced coffee I have ever had. While it was extra creamy and sugary, it still packed a strong caffeine punch and was the perfect mix of sweet and stimulating. If any of you New Englanders are familiar with coffee milk, it kind of tasted like a stronger version of that, and was a great way to kick off this stellar meal.
I was in the mood for some meat when I arrived, so I ordered the chicken satay as our starter, which was actually a tad underwhelming. They tasted perfectly fine, especially with the peanut sauce served on the side, but they just weren’t that exciting and were extremely small. However, do not let that discourage you. The rest of our food was fantastic, and Mamak has some other appetizers that might be better, including roti and spring rolls. I will definitely try a different one next time, though I did appreciate the fresh cucumbers that came with the skewers.
Okay, now buckle up, it’s time for the entrees. Today we ordered salt and pepper squid and the chef special spicy tofu, both of which blew my mind. The squid was exquisite with a subtle but salty flavor that was just right. The diced peppers that came with it were a nice touch too. They do garnishes really well here!
Next to the iced coffee, the crispy, spicy tofu dish was the best thing I put in my mouth at Mamak. Covered with a mildy spicy red sauce and a sprinkling of minced pork, it was deeply satisfying – like Malaysian comfort food. The tofu had just a little bit of crispiness to it, and was nice and soft inside just as tofu should be. This dish was everything!
Besides the exciting yet comforting flavors, it was the personalities of the staff and the little touches that really won me over – from the cute carafes of water they place on each table to the leaf they used to cover our rice to keep it warm.
Mamak definitely earns a Fresh Factor of 10 – if not more. The prices were not dirt cheap like at some of the other spots on Buford Highway, but at $34, not including tip but including two generously portioned entrees with rice, an appetizer and two non-alcoholic beverages, it wasn’t too bad, and I definitely plan to return to try more.
With a welcoming atmosphere, spectacular food and a snazzy web presence, Mamak is doing everything right. I highly recommend that Atlantans and visitors alike drop by and give it a try. If you’d like to check out their menu, go to www.mamak-kitchen.com.Tags: Asian food, Atlanta, Buford Highway, Malaysian food, restaurant, review