Mama Lan

Restaurants, Snack bars Clapham
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
13 Love It
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Mama Lan Clapham (Kate Swanson/Time Out)
Kate Swanson/Time Out
Mama Lan Clapham (Kate Swanson/Time Out)
Kate Swanson/Time Out
Mama Lan Clapham (Kate Swanson/Time Out)
Kate Swanson/Time Out
Mama Lan Clapham (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
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Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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

This is just simply one of my favourite cheap places to eat in London. I have literally eaten here about 20 plus times over the years and it is just always delicious. It's all about the dumplings (beef and spring onion, pork and chinese leaf and prawn and water chestnut), spicy chicken wings and vegetable balls (which are a bit like a chinese onion bhaji's). Don't bother with the soup - not that it's not good, it's just not as good as the other things on the menu. Everyone I have ever taken here has loved it and it's really cheap as well. They have become a lot more popular recently, expanding from their little family run kitchen in Brixton, to Clapham, Croydon, Shoreditch and Dalston which usually bugs me when my favourites become a mini chain but they deserve it. Just go!


Small place, good for the winter! The gyosa is really really tasty and the soup is good but not the best I´ve eaten. The staff is friendly (Clapham branch) and prices ok. I´d recommend to share the main and order 2 or 3 portions of the starters (2 is enough). Before 7 or 8pm they have a meal deal as well.

Brittany B

Love this little place! Small spot and small menu really deliver on taste! Also, great value for money.

Dianne H

Mama Lan is one badass cook.Not only does she offer you a plethora of yummy dumplings (the pork and prawn are the best) but she also teases you with her fried vegetable balls, pork buns and spicy chicken wings.We popped into the Clapham branch on a Monday night andwere lucky enough to grab a four seater table at the back, although this could be difficult enough due to the no booking policy.The no frills menu meant that we ordered pretty much one plate of each offering which was just right for 4 people and the total coming to £70 meant it was a bargain for the sheer amount of food!

Exactly what it says on the tin.  All praise the Mama.

Shane C

Amazing tasty food, served quickly and great handmade dim sum. Couldn't recommend the Gyoza enough!

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 J Peach

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.