Al-Madinah is your typical mamak joint, usually bustling with activity and chatter, alive with the warm scent of roti and curry. The restaurant is just behind Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, which made it a sort of regular spot for me to have breakfast during my stays in Singapore. Being Malaysian, a lot of the food here is standard fare, not unlike the stuff you would find in the mamak stalls back home. However, there were a few things here that I found to be more of a Singaporean regular than what is normal across the Causeway.
During this trip to Singapore, I visited this restaurant twice; once just after my aunty, sister and I had checked into our hotel and the second time later around midnight after our night spent watching Phantom of the Opera at Marina Bay Sands. For our breakfast, my aunty went with roti telur, which is also what I had for our late night dinner. The roti telur is nice and buttery, served fresh from the kitchen. The accompanying curry was a bit salty, but even so the roti was good on its own.
My first choice was the Maggi goreng - I had just gotten off a flight from Kuala Lumpur with little breakfast, and my thoughts were somehow focused on the mamak-style fried dish. What I received was different from what I'm used to back home. For one thing, the dish was in a true shade of Singaporean red, a colour that I have come to see regularly in a lot of food across the island. I enjoyed this breakfast, and the portions were good enough to fill me up and prepare me for our long day ahead. Even the gooeyness of the egg yolk went well with the noodles.
The roti boom my sister ordered was an even bigger surprise - literally. This was more of a paratha, the size being three times that of your regular Malaysian roti boom. Just writing about it now is making my mouth water! The plate it came on was glistening with melted sugar and butter, and the roti itself was crispy and sweet, enough to leave us happily licking our fingers.
With nightfall, the taste for sweet things had faded, and we ended up having more savoury dishes. By this time, the restaurant was crowded and noisy, and we were lucky to get a small table at the furthest point within the restaurant (it's not a very deep eatery though). My sister's mee sup came with the noodles drowning in a deep red soup, a colour reminiscent of my Maggi goreng from that morning. The soup was quite tasty and savoury.
On the other hand, the mee goreng my aunty ordered was a normal shade of fried noodle brown. I wonder what dictates the redness of some of the dishes. Anyway, these noodles were alright, though I much preferred my Maggi goreng, as this one was a bit salty to the tastebuds. Even so, we were pretty hungry, so the plate was wiped clean eventually.
Al-Madinah is a pretty convenient mamak joint. The food's not bad, it's within walking distance of our hotel and Orchard Road, and the service was OK. I hope to one day meet again a plate of their delicious roti boom.