Sunday 18 June 2017

Mama Lan, the Pavement, Clapham, South London

Part of a small chain of Chinese restaurants specialising in Beijing street food, the Clapham branch of Mama Lan is a compact stripped-back establishment where you sit on benches around wooden tables. The menu features a variety of dumplings, spicy chicken wings, noodle soups and rice dishes, such as sweet chilli chicken and crispy ginger beef. Well presented and full of colour, the food doesn't tend to taste as good as it looks. The prawn crackers are a bit stingy for £2.50 and harder than you might like, while the dumplings (£5.50 for five) don't have enough flavour, and the chicken wings (£6.50) can be very bony. The beef noodle soup (£9.50) doesn't have enough meat, relaying heavily on the pak choi and chilli to maintain your interest. You can wash it all down with bottles of Chinese Tsing Tao beer (£4) or glasses of pinot grigio (£5), cocktails or fruit juices. There is also tap water, but it needs ice.  Mama Lan isn't expensive, but it isn't great. 6/10