Date: SPRING, 2013
Location: CLAPHAM, LONDON
Photography: BEN MILLER COLE
Service: FULL DESIGN SERVICE
“Mama Lan is a small family owned enterprise that brings authentic northern Chinese street food to south-west London. The venture was inspired by the owner’s grandparents, who used to make their own street food in China, and is named in honour of her mother. Mama Lan’s began as a North London supperclub and has now been spin into two successful cafés – one in Brixton and the other on Clapham Highstreet. Earlier this week I paid a visit to the café in Clapham and I was very pleasantly surprised by the dinky venue and concise menu.
Mama Lan’s Clapham restaurant is small and unassuming – I’ve actually walked past it many times without really paying it much attention! However, once inside I found the space comfortable, well-lit and incredibly atmospheric. Mama Lan has a characteristic charm that instantly won me over, I liked the feel of the place and I felt completely transported away from the rush-hour hubbub going on just outside its doors.
The menu is rather limited but I liked that Mama Lan isn’t trying to do everything – it has some tried and tested favourites and works to produce them to a high standard. That being said, I thought the array of drinks available was pretty impressive and absolutely loved the Lychee Orchard Mocktails (£3.00) which really complimented the spicy main dishes. I opted for a Spicy Chicken Ban Mein Noodle Salad (£9.00) which was very generously portioned and featured a lot more chicken and noodles than I’d expected. I wouldn’t personally call this a salad, it’s more like a chilled noodle dish with plenty of sauce and a healthy topping of fresh vegetables. It is spicy but not so much as to ruin the meal, although I did find the sauce a little bit saltier than I prefer. Overall, I think it was a tasty dish and I’d definitely eat it again, but I do think that it could benefit from more variety in texture (perhaps from the inclusion of some bean sprouts or even fresh fruit) and a slightly more complex sauce.”
Review By: Angelica P. ‘onelittlevice’ June 2015