Old Town Kopitiam Mamak

279 Swanston Street Walk, Melbourne, VIC

All Details

Dani Valent

There are three types of Melbourne International Film Festival meals: pre-film eating on fast forward, cinema-seat popcorn scoffing and slow-mo post-film feasts. The city centre, especially Swanston Street, makes the pre-film feeding frenzy easy with heaps of efficient Asian restaurants offering everything from no-brainer sushi to my favourite Melbourne menu item, the scary "lamb internal mixture soup" at a regional Chinese cheapie near Melbourne Central.

Malaysian canteen Old Town Kopitiam Mamak is just off Swanston Street, hidden away in QV Square. It works for quick, early meals and for post-movie munching: service is speedy and tables are shared, all the better to hear others spill their must-watch and better-avoid movie wisdom. A "kopitiam" (coffee shop) sells Malaysian-style coffee and tea mixed with condensed milk. The essential accompanying snack is kaya toast, spread with a sweet mix of pandan-flavoured egg and coconut milk. Hawker dishes are often part of the picture, too. Old Town is also "mamak", which means it's Indian Muslim and therefore halal.

The roti is made here and it's flaky, fresh and golden. Savoury versions like the roti telur bawang, sandwiched with egg and onion, come with curry sauce and sambal. My new favourite treat is the sweet roti bom, a fat, fluffy scroll served with dipping dishes of condensed milk and sugar. Have it with Milo, which is huge in Malaysia and delicious here served hot in a cute cup and saucer.

Nasi kandar - biryani rice with your choice of ready-made hot dishes - makes an easy, cheap meal to share. I tried the beef stew, which was a little dry, and the unctuous eggplant belacan, which responded better to the food warmer. Classic dishes such as mee goreng and curry laksa are under $10 and cooked to order, along with more obscure noodle and rice dishes such as the pan mee. The "dry base" pan mee is a flat rice noodle dish, stir-fried with crisp anchovies, mushrooms and greens and served with special chilli and shrimp paste sambal. It's a curious, moreish dish.

A couple of tips: bookings are possible Monday to Thursday; otherwise, come before 6.30pm or after 8.30pm for the best chance of a no-wait meal. A note on libation: Old Town is alcohol free, but I was surprised to discover that it's possible to talk film while sipping tea instead of red wine.

Tips and pans to theserve@theage.com.au

Rate this restaurant

Rate this restaurant:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate this restaurant with 0.5 a star Rate this restaurant with 1 star Rate this restaurant with 1.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 2 stars Rate this restaurant with 2.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 3 stars Rate this restaurant with 3.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 4 stars Rate this restaurant with 4.5 stars Rate this restaurant with 5 stars

Write a review

Thanks for voting!

Write a review

279 Swanston Street Walk, Melbourne, VIC

  • 03 9654 2682
  • Cuisine - Malaysian
  • Prices - Snacks $3-$7.50, mains $8-$15, desserts $3-$6.50
  • Cards accepted - Diners Club, EFTPOS, Mastercard, Mastercard
  • Opening Hours - Sun-Wed 11.30am-9.30pm, Thurs 11.30am-10.30pm, Fri & Sat 11.30am-midnight
  • Author - Dani Valent
Close map

Similar Restaurants

SugarBun

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (12)

Coconut House

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Reader ratings (3)

Reviews

Be the first to write a review.

Write a review

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak

Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak:

Use [left] and [right] keys to rate, [enter] to submit, [esc] to cancel.

Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with half a star Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 1 star Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 1.5 stars Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 2 stars Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 2.5 stars Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 3 stars Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 3.5 stars Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 4 stars Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 4.5 stars Rate Old Town Kopitiam Mamak with 5 stars

Error: Please select your rating for 'Old Town Kopitiam Mamak'.

Error: Please select a rating.

Error: Please enter your review.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your review has been submitted for approval.

Reviews are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Most viewed restaurants in Sydney

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Melbourne

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Brisbane

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Most viewed restaurants in Canberra

View all

You can also view recent reviews for:

Promotions

From cooking advice to top accessories, here's a food lover's barbecue guide.

Winemaker Louisa Rose is the custodian of both Yalumba tradition and innovation.