Sunday 5 July 2015

Mama Lan restaurant, Brixton Village, south London

Spicy beef noodle soup

One of the many quirky eateries competing for business in buzzing Brixton Village, Mama Lan has a short, simple Chinese menu, apparently harking from Beijing. You can sit at one of the handful of coarse wooden tables in the covered market alley or you might be able to get a cosier table inside.  The hefty king prawn and Chinese water chestnut dumplings (5 pieces for £6.50) are tasty enough, but the prawns are overpowered by the water chestnut. Better is the spicy beef noodle soup (£9). A real assault on the taste buds, this dish is strong, sensuous and substantial with plenty of meat and carbs. The spicy chicken ban mien (£9), on the other hand, is a little stodgy and doesn't win great reviews.  With the fiery food, you'll probably want a couple of bottles of Tsing Tao beer (330ml for £3.50), but there are also large glasses of mediocre wine for about a fiver and free tap water. You eat with chopsticks from large china bowls on wooden tables. The service is a little gruff and the staff may even ask you to move tables half way through your meal to accommodate other diners.  Still, Mama Lan is good value, if you choose your dishes carefully. 7/10

spicy chicken ban mien