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Mama Lan

Restaurants, Chinese Shoreditch
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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A sixth outpost from the dumpling-focused social-media success story.

I hadn’t expected to leave this Shoreditch branch of the Beijing dumpling specialist bowled over by a cold, slippery noodle salad that I’d only ordered as an afterthought. But then I hadn’t expected to be nonplussed by the dumplings either. All I could think of when tucking into one filled with beef and spring onion was: Cornish pasty, a foodstuff I find baffling at the best of times, let alone when it’s masquerading as dim sum – like a butch northern (or, I suppose, southern) brickie slipping into a chemise.

Still, everything else here was ace. That glorious noodle salad had punchy hits of chilli, good-quality shredded chicken, al dente noodles and a scattering of crushed peanuts for texture and salt. Crispy chicken wings were great too, as were chicken ‘buns’, even if I’d have preferred a steamed bun to the grilled, flat ones served here.

I didn’t love the room, though. It’s as high as it’s wide and not helped by stark, sterile lighting. At least cheery staff improved the vibe. And they were well-drilled enough to suggest they’ll be adept at catering for the quick lunches and pre-party pit stops for which this place seems set up.


Address: Unit 9, Avant Garde
E1 6LD
Transport: Shoreditch High St Overground
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £50.
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