“Minuscule” would be a great word to describe Mama Lan (or “petite”, should I be gracious enough to make it sound cute), as it occupies the corner of a street in Brixton Market. The small tables, and even smaller chairs, are somewhat reminiscent of food vendors in Asia where space (and being able to shuffle away fast) is not just a commodity, but a luxury. Only the queues seemed to ignore the theme, ever extending into the night.
Cuisine: Chinese (Beijing)
Camera: Nikon D40, 18-55mm Nikkor Lens
London tends to be more of a miss than a hit for me when it comes to Chinese restaurants (partly because Chinatown really doesn’t do Chinese cuisine a favour), so it was great to finally find a place that serves some good dumplings. Mama Lan tries to bring to London the “true” Beijing taste, with fresh handmade dumpling and care that, in truth, many other restaurants fail to bring.
The menu doesn’t offer much choice in terms of dumplings – then again being constrained by the small space the entire place occupies (Mama Lan is not a Tardis) – but there is sufficient variety (a veggie option, seafood, and two meat options). You could tell that the dumplings were made fresh from the texture of the dough, and the juices inside were full of flavour that did indeed bring “homemade” to mind. The ingredients – which are apparently bought from Brixton Market every day – are of clearly high quality. Which is good, many dumpling restaurant in Chinatown often feel as if they’ve just defrosted some of the dumpling they bought in the supermarket next door.
Nothing is all that spicy (even when advertised to be so) – then again maybe India ruined my taste-buds forever.
The service is rushed but not rude, as the staff tries to cope with serving and dealing with clients as fast as they can (remember the queues and be appreciative). Cash only tho – something I never seem to be prepared for.