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!