For all the excitement that Clapham has become to me (especially given my previous stint in Island Gardens), I must admit that it doesn’t do amazingly in terms of diversity for food. There’s the odd Indian restaurant, quite a few Mexican/Latin American ones, and another shop for Mama Lan! But how does it compare to it’s Brixton sister?
Cuisine: Chinese (Beijing)
Not incredibly well. I remember my excitement with the Mama Lan over in Brixton as I described it as “great to finally find a place that serves some good dumplings”. The Clapham sister still provides decent dumplings, but I often found that what we received was either not what we expected or at times somewhat underwhelming.
In terms of architecture, Mama Lan is successful in evoking that wooden, Northern China feel. It certainly has character and much thought has been put into how it presents itself.
When it came to the food, however, there was a certain disconnect. From dishes that we didn’t really expect to turn out that way (the open bun, for example, was more like a little sandwhich made with bread you had forgotten in the cupboard and went hard – not very Chinese reminiscent) to the dumplings that were just average. The soup was great, both in terms of flavour (spicy and nice) as well as in terms of texture.