With the same relaxed atmosphere, but serious attitude toward Vietnamese food, MAM (pronounced Mum) is a little more polished than Dalston sister restaurant, Salvation In Noodles. It’s less rustic, more ‘relaxed-chic’, with private booths for couples and a fantastic round table where groups can converse through a tree. Vietnamese family photos are tucked amongst the succulents, adding to the homely feel. It was surprising to see the place consistently buzzy on a Monday night, after opening only a month or so ago. If you turn up last minute on one of the busy nights there’s a relaxed bar area where you can grab a drink while you wait for a table. Cocktails tend to be classics with their own special house twist, or there’s a thoughtful wine list. Staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. So much so I did wonder whether they’d put their best staff here to help with the opening and the high expectations of locals completely spoiled for choice. Novel sharing dishes, like the pick and mix BBQ skewers, are designed to be built into noodle wraps. It takes a little practice and makes for a fun distraction. Rice dishes on the menu almost seem a bit two dimensional by comparison. They aren’t as exciting to the eye either, but that feeling soon dissolves as quickly as the delicious salmon on your tongue. When it comes to the rice dishes, the focus shifts away from novelty and toward straight-up quality. Whatever you’re ordering make sure it comes with a side of chef Colin Tu’s mum’s recipe sauce, made with shrimp paste and pineapple. Fans of salted caramel should save room for the Miso ice cream – the same premise, but with a richer, more complex flavour. MAM’s has a fun, sophisticated, sociability and is competitively priced for the area. If you don’t fancy a full meal it’s also a great place to drop by for a cocktail and a sly plate of their famous chicken wings.
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