Monday, 5 April 2010

Mama Lan Supper Club

The Menu in a scroll

Ning carrying a lantern

Ban Hai Dai: seaweed salad.

Song Ru and the vegetarian Su Song Ru: fried Chinese five spice Chinese beef and fried vegetarian cake, both wrapped in cripsy tofu skin.

Rou Bao Zi: pork buns and Su Bao Zi: vegetarian buns.

Tang Yuan: sweet sticky rice balls in syrup.

Mama Lan is a Chinese supperclub just up the road from me in Cricklewood. I'm so glad supperclubs are coming to North West London, we can't let East London hog them all!
It's a little complicated to get there, not being near a tube. The nearest transport is Cricklewood Thameslink train station. Driving is probably the best method, hence less of an emphasis on drinking alcohol said Ning, Mama Lan's daughter.
No mind, we were served a refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail and I'd brought a beer, a good match with Chinese food. Tonight was all about dumplings; Mama Lan even gave us a demonstration of how to make these, encouraging us to try our hand too.
The flat is incredibly clean and neat and the bathroom sparkled. The living room, where 7 of us ate, was atmospherically decorated to celebrate the 15th day anniversary 'Lantern festival' after the Chinese New Year.
Supperclubs are a great opportunity to peek behind the kitchen curtain and eat in homes to which we may not usually get invited. It was a treat to eat authentic mother's Northern Chinese food, served family style. Mama Lan comes from a catering family; they sold street food in Beijing and her husband was a chef that cooked for Chinese VIPs. Ning told me that the supperclub has been a psychological boon for her mother who, suffering from empty nest syndrome, now has others to cook for.

Mama Lan sitting quietly on the sofa afterwards reading through a Western recipe book as the youngsters chatted around her.

£20 a head plus tip


  1. After eating traditional Indian food cooked by a friend's mother, I have been unable to eat in Indian restaurants as it's never a patch on hers. I'm not keen on Asian food but the only places I've tried this food is in UK restaurants, and I would understand that this is not authentic based on the slop that passes off as Italian food. Nothing like the food my family eats.

    So yeah, supperclubs run by mums is a brilliant idea! Would love to taste world cuisine this way.

  2. You totally should! I've been to Mama Lan and loved it! It's totally different to what I used to think of as typical Chinese food and Ning (or Mama Lan Jnr, as we teased her) translated our Chinese horoscope for us over dessert. Am definately planning on trying out dumplings at home now. :-)

  3. Sounds very intimate and friendly just the seven of you. Love the idea that the mum likes it to deal with "empty nest syndrome".


I would love to hear what you think of this post! I try to reply to every comment (if there is a delay, I am probably away from an internet connection or abroad)