My habitual craving for Chinese dumplings has meant that I’m always on the hunt for good ones in London. So, it was with great delight that I discovered Mama Lan, the venture belonging to a mother & daughter from Beijing, nestled nicely within the heart of Brixton Village Market (& now also with a second branch in Clapham Common).
Not unlike most places in the Village, Mama Lan is unfussy & modest – it’s tiny inside with only around 6 seats, although there is more seating outside for about 10-12. As you peer in, you can see dumplings being hand crafted in the open kitchen, and akin to everywhere else in the Village, the atmosphere bustles nicely. As we were seated on an outdoor table, we noticed the bar next door where some guys were playing live music, which turned out to provide some nice entertainment for our meal.
The menu is small and simple – there’s 4 types of Beijing Dumplings (£4.50-£6, served in a portion of 5), 2 Noodle Soups (£8/9) and a handful of Street Snacks (£3.50-£5). Despite the brief menu, portions are generous and as a result, you get great value for your money here.
Our dumplings were cooked to order and arrived delicate, piping hot, fresh and crammed with tasty ingredients – dipping them into soy/vinegar/chilli sauce made for a perfect combination. We went for the king prawn dumplings after our waitress advised these to be the most popular and delicious – I was highly impressed with these excellent and moorish morsels.
The noodle soup was also very good – probably one of, if not the most authentic in London, as testified by my dinner date who lived in Hong Kong once upon a time. With tender beef, flavoursome broth and homemade noodles, you could really taste the quality difference in this dish. Bear in mind the portion is pretty large, so it’s enough for 2 to share if you’re ordering dumplings & sides also.
Spicy Chicen Wings (7-8 decent sized wings for just £5) were something else – full of flavour and SO incredibly crispy. Sadly, we hardly managed to get through half of them since we were so stuffed between the dumplings and noodle soup (& also the cheeky pre-dinner-dinner we indulged in earlier that evening in the market).
In a nutshell, Mama Lan provides fresh & tasty Chinese street food at decent prices and it’s safe to say that it well & truly satisfied my dumpling craving. P.S. A little birdie tells me that the Vegetable Balls are pretty yummy, so i’ll be sure to try these next time.
In terms of service, it was perfectly good – just remember that it’s a market, so you’re not going here for 5 star service.
Dips Dines: I’d definitely recommend the food at Mama Lan, and especially if you’ve never been to Brixton Village before – the overall experience & atmosphere is certainly worthwhile. Bear in mind that you may have to wait a while to be seated, but rest assured, food arrives quickly once you’ve ordered. Thank you Mama Lan for bringing authentic tasting, excellent value Chinese street food to London. I’m very happy with this foodie find and shall return for sure – next time i’ll most likely check out the newer Clapham Common branch which has a wider noodle soup & street snack selection.http://mamalan.co.uk Brixton Village Market, Unit 18, Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PR