Just a stone’s throw from Peckham Rye station sits Market – a trendy destination combining independent food outlets and eclectic fashion and beauty brands. Nestled in the back corner is Mambow, a laid-back and inviting space housing Michelin-trained head chef Abby Lee’s new modern Malaysian concept.
First impressions are good: an open kitchen with bar seating, a handful of small tables, low-atmospheric lighting and an order-at-the-bar policy, complemented further by the buzzy chatter of the full tables around us. We took our seats and reviewed the menu, which is small but boasts flavours that promised to pack a punch. Things were great from the off, with the zingy Acar Awak (pickled vegetable and pineapple with coriander and crushed peanuts) delightfully contrasting with the crispy, meaty Lor Bak (five spice pork, prawn and bean curd bites).
The mains took things up a notch, with the Gulai Nangka - an aromatic, coconutty jackfruit curry dish - providing a break from the zingy sauces of our starters, and pairing perfectly with fragrant turmeric rice. But the pièce de resistance was the Black Pepper Curry Chicken. Think melt-in-your-mouth chicken thigh, covered in a rich, peppery gravy, finished with a generous red onion garnish – a dish that we're still thinking about days later. To finish, we found space to share the only pudding on the menu: the Cendol. An icy, sugary combination of coconut milk, pandan jellies and beans, it’s definitely worth ordering to complete your Mambow experience.
For some restaurants, a limited menu can be restrictive, but here it just works. Small plates, big flavours, great wines and one showstopper of a dessert – Mambow ticked all the boxes for a low-key but memorable mid-week meal.