Latest opening: Mambow

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Latest opening: Mambow

Related tags: Restaurant

Chef Abby Lee has created an affordable breakfast and lunch-focused bowl food restaurant that’s pitched as an alternative to the big brands.

What:​ A low-key Spitalfields restaurant born out of a chef’s frustration with the the capital’s lunch market. Open from 7.30am to 4pm in the week and 11am to 5pm on weekends, the sustainably-minded Mambow offers affordable, freshly cooked food that’s intended to be an alternative to the big brands that dominate London’s lunchtime scene.

Who:​ Abby Lee. She grew up in her family’s organic bakeries in Singapore before moving to Italy to cook at the Michelin-starred Pashà Ristorante near the city of Bari in Puglia. “In Singapore I learned the importance of beginning every recipe with quality ingredients, and cooking nutritious food with soul at its heart,” she says. “It was also really important to me for Mambow to close the loop as far as possible: I’m working with local suppliers and using any leftover produce for soups and cakes.”

The vibe:​ Designed by Leticia Houston, Mambow’s walls are a mix of exposed brick and painted in earthy greens and taupe which contrast with the space’s colourful, abstract prints and vintage fabrics. The sustainable ethos carries over to the design too, with second-hand stools and chairs  and a counter and benches made by Goldfinch, an ethical furniture-maker which works with foresters to source fallen and coppiced trees for its timber.

mambow bowl

The food:​ Breakfast dishes include seasonal frittatas; coconut yoghurt with house turmeric granola and rhubarb and ginger compote; spiced vegan porridge with maple caramel, dried cranberries and mixed seeds; and a selection of pastires and buns. At lunch, diners can create their own bespoke bowl from Mambow’s selection of salads, vegetables, proteins and house-made dressings and condiments or choose from a small selection of set bowls. Options for the latter include  Chick Flick (black rice, za’taar sprouts, roasted beets with orange miso, spicy green grilled chicken, salsa verde, and leftover pickles); and Beet It (farro tabbouleh, raw and grilled fennel, charred spicy broccoli, beetroot patty, mixed tamari seeds, and creamy harissa). Mambow will soon be hosting a series of evening supper clubs that will see Lee serve family-style dishes themed around different world cuisines.

And another thing:​ It’s not the first time that a chef has looked to shake up the London lunch scene with a bowl food concept. Roux scholarship winner Frederick Forster designed a menu of healthy, made-to-order breakfast and all-day bowls for Sow last year but the Soho restaurant only lasted two months. Owner Peter Farrell - a former Prescott & Conran operations manager - said that the concept had potential but had become unsustainable due to high costs.

75 Commercial Street, London

Related topics: Openings

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