Tom’s made to wait at Mamako

Interesting evening on Saturday at Mamako, the new pan-Asian place that’s replaced Spiga on Broadhurst Gardens. It was the venture’s opening night and what followed was a little chaotic!

Must be said right away, the food was certainly good and in parts excellent. Standouts included the Malaysian curry puffs – a chicken parcel thing with a quite exquisite pastry – some veggie gyozas with a delightful, soy-based dipping sauce, a Nyonya chicken curry and Nasi Lemak. My seafood noodle dish was nice, but not special, with everything cooked just a little too long in the wok; very soft noodles, slightly rubbery prawns and squid rings.

Mamako chicken curry

Large chicken pieces in a rich yellow curry sauce

The menu definitely veers towards Malaysia and Thailand, but there are a few Korean and Japanese items on the menu too.

The team seemed to have been thrown by a large party of a dozen people – one or two were friends of the owners, but they hadn’t realised such a big group was coming and the kitchen never recovered. For those arriving just afterwards, orders took an extraordinarily long time, and plates arrived in a disjointed fashion. Inevitably, there were a couple of polite walk-outs, and – as the last table left – we were given our meal on the house which was a nice gesture.

The waitress was endlessly polite and apologetic, and both the chef (who is clearly skilled and displays warmth and enthusiasm), and the manager, took time to chat with us at the end to explain their difficulties. We just felt that more communication as to what was going on earlier in the evening, and perhaps some nibbles etc. while waiting, would have gone down well.

All that said, the menu is enticing and there’s lots to intrigue the diner – get along there, but give them a chance while they find their feet. I’m sure we’ll be back to do a proper review before long.

Now, none of that ‘dry January’ rubbish for me, thanks very much; get some Port down you and keep warm the right way!

  • Yadkram

    Had a great meal at Mamako last night. Nasi Lemak was authentic and delicious. Service was friendly and attentive. Will definitely be back. Clearly the reviewer caught them on a bad night!

  • Allison

    Unfortunately I can’t tell you whether the food was delicious or authentic and clearly they had had another bad night! We arrived at 20:00, shown are seats and that was that for 30 minutes. We had to ask twice for someone to take our drink order. My sake didn’t turn up for over an hour and my glass of water took 45 minutes to appear despite asking and then begging 3 times for water. The food turned up at 22:00; except mine didn’t. The other 5 in my party had their food but not me. My chicken arrived 20 minutes later and I had to wait another 20 minutes before the noodles turned up by which time my chicken was cold and my friends had finished. It was now way past 22:30, I hadn’t eaten all day and I was starving but I didn’t want to eat when everyone had finished; I just wanted to go home. There was absolutely no concept of service. They looked genuinely shocked that we were not satisfied. They were, however, clearly used to taking the service charge off the bill as they did so in a very resigned manner. In fact they did so for the couple sitting adjacent to us; obviously a very common occurrence. I am so relieved that our evening was not for a special event.

    • Skeleton O’Rourke

      Wow – that’s pretty crazy. I really hope they sort things out, as there was real enthusiasm from chef when he popped up. Just seems to be a fair amount of pure naivety that these guys need some proper help and advice with.

  • Jane L

    An update in April, had an amazing dinner there tonight. Admittedly it was Monday and deserted so of course service was timely. But the food was so much noticeably better than Banana Tree who share a similar menu. It’s cheaper too. Much fresher ingredients and authentic flavours.

  • Harper

    I’ve been twice now and both have been on a weekday. Service was quick and attentive. The laksa and mee goreng, both of generous portions, were so delicious and far more authentic than what I’ve had at Banana Tree and Too Mai. At lower price points, and better quality food, I haven’t been to those places since discovering Mamako. Good for tasty, no fuss food. Dinner w mains, drinks and sides for 2ppl was approx GBP35.

  • Des

    Slightly off the beaten track; Mamako serves by far the best east asian food in West Hampstead. The Laksa, curry and malaysian nibbles in particular are the best we’ve had in London. Much more authentic and tastier than similar establishments on West End lane. Ingredients are also generous and of superior wuality. Service is always exceedingly friendly and very efficient. We have been coming back again and again since discovering a few months ago.