March 26, 2019
Turning up the heat in DC Mall, Mamacina exudes a sultry sizzle, spanning the seductive vibes that throb through its pulse-quickening setting to the sensuous vibrancy of its kitchen's smouldering creations (think oxtail bakar, flamed flank steaks, charred broccolini and more).
The presence of Mamacina permeates this restaurant and bar, illustrated by portraits that channel her life and passions. The curious character, rocking round-rimmed sunglasses at night, might be fictional, but her vivacious spirit is well and real here - immaculately coiffed, she may have travelled far and wide, but she always comes home, bringing back international influences like Italian artwork and French Champagne to complement her own Asian heritage, underscored by a wall strikingly filled with maneki-neko fortune cats.
True to that border-crossing philosophy, Mamacina's menu is impressively eclectic, with inspirations that leap from continent to continent without breaking a sweat. Chef Pravin has harnessed 11 years of professional experience for fare that straddles the line between casual and chic.
Start with the sandwiches, far from ordinary. Served fresh and warm, the Patty Melt is like a cross between a burger and a grilled cheese sandwich, bringing together Australian beef patties with mature cheddar and caramelised onions for a robustly hearty meal (RM33), while the Katsu Chicken Sando takes cues from the Japanese meat-cutlet, milk-bread sandwich, thick and tempting with crispy chicken breast and red cabbage, subtly zesty with ponzu sauce (RM28). Order these and bid begone to boring ol' submarine sandwiches.
Dinners here are constructed for sharing: Beef up with the Oxtail Bakar, braised with stout and cider for six hours to yield a rich and soulful succulence, rounded out with carrots and potatoes (RM59), or the Beef Bacon, Egg and Cheese Fried Rice, savoury and earthy with parmesan shavings and truffled mushrooms (RM20) - nourishing comfort food for the carnivorous.
Naturally, Mamacina likes to spice things up every now and then - keep the fire burning with a bowl of Mama's Curry, a medley of Indian and Mexican inflections, comprising chicken thigh meat in a thick yogurt curry, supplemented with tortilla for mopping up the sauce (RM23), and the Hot Wings, the perpetual crowd-pleaser, dripping in a house-made hot sauce with a sweetish edge (RM23).
The extensive repertoire extends to excellent bar snacks for all-night-long munching - the Charred Baby Corn, partnered with cheese and coconut cream curry sauce (RM12), and Truffle Fries with grated parmesan and truffle aioli (RM22) showcase Mamacina's initiative to make each meal here matter. The kitchen is typically open until 10pm, with late exceptions made for selected bar snacks - note that for at least for the next week or so, there's a 30 percent discount on the food menu to celebrate Mamacina's official launch.
While Mamacina may be your next home away from home, some of its cocktails might remind you of home, rooted often in local ingredients that convey determinedly Malaysian nuances, blossoming with visually vivid flair and flamboyance.
Pick your Malaysian-tinged poison: Perhaps the pomelo-laced Pomelo Anderson with a heart of gold (RM40; with vodka, gula melaka, creme de cassis, bubbles), Pineapple Express with its spiky exterior (RM40; rum, salted pineapple syrup, coconut milk, fresh pineapple, lime), the Cupid-approved Lychee Love (RM38; gin, limoncello, lemon juice, lychee syrup) and the Mamacina Addiction, crafted to make sweet-toothed customers crave more (RM38; gin, fresh pomelo and gula melaka, crowned with a leaf of powdered sugar), each of which strives to channel an invigorating uplift in every sip.
Even Mamacina's Old Fashioned has a touch of a Malaysian twist, with whiskey and bitters wedded with gula melaka instead of conventional sugar (RM38). Other creative concoctions include the binge-worthy Netflix and Chill (RM38; dark rum, Milo, vanilla cream, monin, chocolate bitters and salted popcorn) and Eh Matcha, aromatically alluring in a ceramic cup (RM40; gin, matcha, lemon, egg white).
All in all, Mamacina feels like an engaging destination for unwinding after work or on a Saturday night, with a distinctive, diverse stable of both food and drinks, complemented by playful possibilities like beer pong for an upbeat experience that'll put your sobriety on the line.
Many thanks to the Mamacina team for having us.
Lot 1-2, DC Mall, Jalan Damanlela, Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights, 50490 Kuala Lumpur.
Open Monday-Thursday, 5pm-1am; Friday, 5pm-3am; Saturday, 6pm-3am. Closed Sunday. Tel: +6011-6193-1339
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