Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Mambow

Silver Award

Mambow’s brief stay in Peckham was a highly successful one - Abby Lee and team took the restaurant from a beloved pop-up with a cult following to one of London’s very best. With a considerable reputation in tow, Mambow has upper sticks and joined the cool East London crew, taking up residence on Clapton High Road.

It’s a cosier space than Peckham, and feels a little more makeshift with little counter dining spots set up against the front window and by the open kitchen. That kitchen is the heart of this elongated space - the team whizz around on either side of the pass shuttling dishes out to hungry diners, and the whole space has a real buzz about it. The combination of pokey counters and the rapid arrival of small plates makes finding space tricky, but when the food is this good, dishes don’t last very long anyway.

Some all-star dishes have survived the move - the zingy pickles, for one, as well as Abby’s crispy, meaty Lor Bak (five spice pork, prawn and bean curd bites). Do not come to Mambow without ordering at least one plate of these.

It feels difficult to go wrong with anything on Mambow’s compact menus. Clams arrive with a hit of buttery white pepper sauce, and we dig around the bowl to triple check that there are none still hiding in their shells. A thick-cut stone bass steak is beautifully cooked, in a rich sauce that delivers just the right level of spice. There’s immense joy in the ritual of interspersing Mambow’s richer, spicier dishes with a bite of pickle in between. You’ll always find a single dessert on the menu as well, which we recommend saving room for if you like the sound of a pineapple treacle tart. Mambow has also added a few excellent cocktail options to the already very crushable wine list.

If we’re honest, we slightly preferred the Peckham location, but Mambow’s small plates and big flavours continue to go from strength to strength, and the sky is the limit for this talented team.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cool, Cosy, Fun, Lively
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Child friendly
Food Hygiene Rating


A portmanteau of ‘Mama’s Bowls’, Mambow is a street food concept that pays homage to her Malaysian heritage, whilst incorporating myriad influences from Singapore to Europe via the Middle East. The international slant is inspired by chef-owner Abby Lee’s experience working in food around the world, from Michelin-starred restaurant Pasha in Italy to her family’s bakeries. After a successful stint at Market Halls in Peckham, Mambow has moved over to trendy Clapton, nabbing a spot right on the high street.

Lee's modern Malaysian food focuses heavily on Nyonya dishes as well as fiery curries from different parts of Malaysia. The compact menu, as of the time of writing, kicks off with Nyonya pickles, then continues through five spice pork and prawn bean curd rolls and a punchy black pepper curry chicken. Also on the menu is a tangy pineapple curry with crispy garlic and chive dumplings, a grilled prawn glass noodle dish with sambal belacan, and a refreshing dish of wok-fried mussels with soybean and curry leaf sauce. Don't sleep on Lee's hulking Hainanese chicken sandwiches either - these poached chicken, ginger & spring onion oil, kewpie mayo, chicken fat chilli vinegar, fried onion and cucumber beasts are only available at lunchtime, so might require a special trip to South London.

Wine is a big part of the experience at Mambow too, with Les Caves de Pyrene putting together a compact list of natural wines to accompany those spicy dishes. 

The restaurant also focuses heavily on creating nourishing food from quality ingredients, as well having a big emphasis on reducing food waste. Leftover fruit and veg are often used up in soups and loaf cakes, while the design also picks up on the sustainable theme with vintage and ethically made furnishings.


Where is the restaurant?

You'll find the restaurant in Clapton in East London, on the main high street.

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Do you need to book a table?

Yes, we recommend that you book a table before visiting.

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78 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, London, E5 0RN

Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri Closed
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun 12:00-17:00
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 17:30-22:30
Thu 17:30-22:30
Fri 17:30-22:30
Sat 17:30-22:30
Sun Closed


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