Dining Out: Old Town Kopitiam Mamak, Melbourne

by April@MyFoodTrail on January 7, 2010

in Dining Out, Malaysian, Melbourne

Old Town Kopitiam Mamak
Level 2, Shop 11, QV Square, QV Building, Melbourne
(03) 9654 2682

Cuisine: Malaysian
BYO: No
Prices: Snacks $3-$6, roti $4-$7, other dishes $8-$15
Parking: Paid car park in QV Building, street parking

Old Town Kopitiam Mamak
Top: Outside Old Town Kopitiam Mamak, bottom: Various drink mixtures displayed on the back wall

Hubby and I had the week off work in between Christmas and New Years, and on one of those days, he actually agreed to go shopping at the sales! If I am doing serious shopping, I normally go without him because he loses interest in about half an hour! This particular day, hubby had specific items in mind to purchase so off to the city we went.

Hubby was looking for a new pair of jeans so we walked into a store, he grabbed a few pairs to try on, tried on the first pair and decided he liked them, and went to pay for them. I looked at him in amazement and said “Don’t you want to look around? What if you find a pair you like better somewhere else? What if it’s cheaper somewhere else?!” Hubby’s response was “No. I like these so I’m going to get them and I’m not looking at jeans anymore so I won’t know.” Men!! Contrast that to my search for jeans, which would have probably taken a week! 😛

Hubby bought all the things he wanted and then we went searching for some lunch. We were at QV and wandered through the QV Square and spotted Old Town Kopitiam Mamak. It must be newly opened because there were still signs out the front advertising it would be open in December 2009.

Mamak is a Malaysian term to describe the Tamil Muslim community and culture, and a mamak stall is normally run by a Tamil Muslim, serving well known Malaysian dishes. There is a lot to choose from on the menu – it was hard just picking a few things because I wanted to try everything!

The first dish to arrive was the otak otak. The otak otak I am used to is a fish mousse which comes wrapped in a fragrant banana leaf, first steamed, then grilled. Our friends in Singapore take us to a place that serves Katong laksa and we always order a few otak otak to have on the side. The otak otak at Old Town Kopitiam Mamak came flat, looking like it had been fried and tasted different to the otak otak we have had before. It was very spicy and had a grainy texture with a distinct taste of lemongrass.

Otak otak
Otak otak $6

The next dish was the roti canai. The flaky piece of bread came with a curry dipping sauce and a sambal type dipping sauce. Both sauces were delicious, but again, too spicy for a chilli weakling like me! The roti is all made fresh to order and you can definitely tell from the fabulous flakiness. They have 7 types of roti available, though I thought it was strange that when I ordered the roti tissue, the waiter told me they didn’t have it. Hmm, can the roti man not make roti tissue?

Roti canai
Roti canai $4

The last dish we ordered was the nasi kandar. Nasi kandar originates from Penang and is a meal of steamed rice (plain or mildly flavoured) and served with a variety of curries and side dishes. At Old Town Kopitiam Mamak, you can choose between jasmine rice or briyani rice and the number of selections you want, as well as the sauce you want poured over your rice. Hubby wanted to get the briyani rice, but I think he was mistaken as to what it would be. This briyani was very heavily spiced (spice spice, not chilli spice) which made it difficult to eat. The fried chicken piece was a bit dry, but the braised beef was tasty and tender.

Nasi kandar: briyani rice with ayam goreng & daging masak kicap
Nasi kandar – briyani rice with 2 selections (ayam goreng – fried chicken with spice & daging masak kicap – beef simmered in dark soy & spice) $9

The people sitting next to us were having the chicken rice, which had the wonderful aroma of authentic chicken rice, transporting me to a hawker centre in Singapore. Now all I needed to imagine was everyone around me wearing t-shirts, shorts and slippers with beads of sweating dripping down their faces, drinking out of clear mugs filled with an icy cold drink and I would be there!

Overall: I would skip the otak otak next time and save the stomach space for something else. I would also avoid the briyani rice and the fried chicken, but wouldn’t mind trying the jasmine rice with the other nasi kandar choices. The food is very spicy (chilli hot) but I can’t take much chilli – someone who loves chilli might say it is not hot enough! The roti is top quality and the best bit is they make it fresh! Prices are cheap and serving sizes are decent.

Would I return? Yes, I’ll be back for the roti (I wonder if they have a mild sauce!!) and there are other dishes I want to try.

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Cherrie Pie January 7, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I need to try this place. I've heard so much about it.

My hubby is exactly the same. He lists what he has to buy then it's in and out. It's like a military operation with him!

btw, I love your new header.

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mademoiselle délicieuse January 7, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I'm not even Malaysian and I thought the otak otak looked a little…'different'! Love freshly made roti though, and we're so lucky there is such a thing as fresh roti in Australia now =)

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 7, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Nice new header for the new year, but looking at that trout every time is going to make me ravenous 😉

Speaking of ravenous, that roti looks pretty great.

Your hubby may have that man weirdness of buying the first thing he likes, but at least you didn't have to put up with him moaning about not being able to find anything! Men!!

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Simon Leong January 7, 2010 at 9:54 pm

sounds like a bit of a hit and miss place which is a shame. nothing like the Mamak in Sydney which is always so busy and popular, especially for their freshly made Roti.

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Thermomixer January 8, 2010 at 6:37 am

Men buy clothes, women shop for them – for hours, days, weeks, …

I make otak-otak and have to say that looks very Australianised. I usually do them in a dariole mould rather than going to the trouble of banana leaf oragami exercise, but soft and delicate. It is one of the dishes in drafts from te soft week that i have to finish 😉

Thanks again.

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Iron Chef Shellie January 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

I walked past here on the weekend and wondered if it was any good!

Ahh.. men and shopping!!!

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Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) January 8, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I had the biryani with fried chicken and loved it! Yes it took a bit of picking through to get the whole spices out (nothing worse than chewing a whole star anise) but the fragrance was delightful. My chicken was also not too dry.

On the other hand, we had the roti canai and didn't like the anchovy sauce – it was really sour and bitter.

Will definitely be returning!

Jetsetting Joyce

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm

LOL at your husband! That's such a typicl man isn't it 😛 Although Mr NQN is getting better. He is happy as long as there's a seat for him in the store and

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Vee - A Melbourne Munchkin. January 8, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Ooh nothing worse than unauthentic otak-otak (and that definitely looks like nothing I've ever had in Malaysia) and dry chicken! On the other hand, EVERYONE'S been buzzing about this place, so I must get a fork in soon! And YES, men are dreadful to shop with – I came out of a Sportsgirl changing room once to find my man asleep on the seats they provide outside – ouch!

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Arale79 January 9, 2010 at 11:56 am

Rilsta!!!! my husband do exactly the same, my plan of whole day shopping with him can be instantly shorten by minutes!!!! they just dont think alternative isnt it!!!!

Spoke to one of the owner last time and he said they are doing different food to the one at chinatown and still twicking the recipes.

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Agnes January 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Mhmm now I have a curry craving…. I laughed at your description of your hubby buying jeans – mine is exactly the same. Boy shopping takes 10 minutes, girl shopping takes the whole day!

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Rilsta January 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

Hi Cherrie: Aww, thanks for noticing my new header!

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse: Fresh roti is great! All restaurants should make their own roti!

Hi Conor: Thanks for noticing my new header! LOL abt men not moaning about not being able to find anything!

Hi Simon: Mamak is one of the places on my list to get to when I am in Sydney!

Hi Thermomixer: Otak otak in a dariole sounds interesting! Shall look out for your post!

Hi Shellie: The roti is good and definitely worth a try!

Hi Joyce: The fragrance of the rice was nice but with all those whole spices, it had to be! I'll be back too!

Hi Lorraine: I think it must be a typical man trait!

Hi Vee: OMG, asleep? I don't think I would ever be in a changeroom long enough for my hubby to fall asleep!!

Hi Arale79: Hehe, men huh?! At least they shop fast!

Hi Agnes: Totally agree!

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Heidi - Apples Under My Bed September 30, 2010 at 10:20 am

I know this was posted ages ago but just had to say thanks for this review & all your great Malaysian restaurant reviews. Have been having major cravings lately for my newfound love of Malaysian 🙂 will try this place out, thanks!
Heidi xo

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April @ My Food Trail October 7, 2010 at 11:08 am

Hi Heidi: Thanks for taking the time to write a comment! 🙂 Do try out the roti if you come here!

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