Once again, Dalston represents with another foodie haven to rival the more established barrio’s of nearby Spitalfields and Shoreditch. On the low key bit of Kingsland Road before you hit the stations, its bustling market and shops, Mama Lan quietly occupies a cute cafe offering street food from Beijing.
When most talk about food from this area, they group it as Chinese. They rarely refer to regions, especially specifically its capital – well not that I have seen much of anyway. So of course on a Sunday chill session it grabbed my interest on the walk up to Dalston for some shopping. Mama Lan in Dalston is one of four locations, two east, two south. The website talks of handmade dumplings, doodle soup and street snacks being its core, hailing from Beijing. I was intrigued.
As a solo diner, this spot works well. Dining alone can always be a little daunting, as you can look like you are a bit of a billy no mates, depending on the kind of place you visit. During the quiet service (Sunday afternoon), this is perfect. Single diners get comfortable, couples quietly share dishes and Deliveroo couriers come in and out like revolving doors (obviously popular for delivery).
Having decided to have an alcohol free day, I opted to start with their cocktail of lemonade with rose. It was really refreshing, although a tad sweet. A glass like jug with lashings of juice over chunky ice cubes. I ended up having two. To eat, I had their spicy chicken wings, stewed seaweed and beef & spring onion dumplings. All were cooked quickly and tasted good. The only observation I would have is that the seaweed sauce was very intense, almost like vinegar. Could perhaps be toned down a little.
My bill came to a little over £22, which I guess is decent for three small dishes and two drinks. Really cute dining experience, will go again.
511 Kingsland Road
London E8 4AR
T. 7254 0559