When I discovered a new Malaysian place right by my house I was distraught.  How did I not know about this before?  Or at least walk by it?

One reason, perhaps, is because Mamak Café was located INSIDE Pub 340.  Thank god the chef had some following from his previous gig, otherwise it would have been difficult coercing people into that bar at lunchtime (or ever).  It kind of was anyways, which is perhaps why they chose to move down the block to the Afro-Canadian restaurant.  An equally puzzling location, but I’ll go anywhere for good food.

We were greeted with: “Welcome, this is a multi-ethnic restaurant.  Would you like Indonesian or African food today?” and a smattering of Spanish from the table beside us.  While the inside left much to be desired, a certain hole-in-the-wall charm prevailed.  BBC World News played in the background, and restaurant staff chatted easily.  It seemed like a friendly joint that turned up its nose at pretense.

None of the dishes are over $10, making it a great budget option.  The Roti Canai (fried bread with curry dip) is a must, and a steal at $3.  I got the sambal tofu, which was nicely spicy and a bit sweet.  All the rice dishes are served with coconut rice, papadum, and a little side salad of cabbage.  All that for $8?  Yes please.  I was totally stuffed after lunch, and my wallet still had some dough in it. 

Don’t let the restaurant-within-a-restaurant concept throw you off.  It’s well worth the venture, and a great deal!

~ Meghan Roberts