Mama Lan

  • Restaurants
  • Snack bars
0 Love It
Kate Swanson/Time Out
Kate Swanson/Time Out
Kate Swanson/Time Out
Kate Swanson/Time Out

This no-bookings, cash-only Chinese café is an offshoot, a second branch of the original in Brixton Village Market. It’s typical of a new wave of restaurant entrepreneurs who have moved from running a supper club to setting up premises with little experience or capital, spread the word by social media, and built up a loyal following.

The experience gained at the first branch has paid off. On our three visits the service in Clapham was smooth, the kitchen consistent.

The pork buns, which look a little like meat-filled muffins, have a yielding texture and savoury filling.

A spicy chicken ban mein (noodle dish) was generously portioned and intensely savoury. The Beijing dumplings (similar to Japanese gyoza) were correctly pan-fried with a burnished crust.

Leave room if you can for some of the smacked cucumber. This simple, spicy salad, newly popularised in the West by a Fuchsia Dunlop cookbook, has rightly become a new classic.

With a beer or soft drink, Mama Lan’s is a perfect pitstop if you don’t mind the slightly cramped seating, and if you’re in no rush for a table.

Venue name: Mama Lan
Address: 8 The Pavement
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-3.30pm Mon-Sat; noon-3pm Sun. Dinner served 6-10pm daily
Transport: Tube: Clapham Common
Price: Main courses £3.50-£9

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
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Lindsay H

Really nice place, great staff, yummy dumplings, but roundly disappointing main noodle dishes. Veggie and beef soups both lacked any depth of flavour beyond just chilli, and had way too much sesame for any of our tastes. But still definitely edible, v reasonable price, and some good sides. 

Sarah P

Not the greatest food, not the greatest staff, it closes its kitchen way too early for Clapham and didn't really deliver on taste or experience, or value.  You could do worse, though, it's not dreadful.