Mao Chow review image

Mao Chow


159A Mare St, London
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

There are small restaurants, there are cosy restaurants, and then there’s Mao Chow - an entirely vegan Chinese restaurant in London Fields that’s one Henry hoover away from being mistaken for an airing cupboard.

Finite space aside, the thing to know about this tiny 12-seater spot is that it makes some tasty food. Their sesame dan dan noodles with soy mince, cucumber, and a sauce that we’d definitely enforce the 30-second rule for if we dropped it on the floor, are better than a lot of meat versions we’ve had in the past. And their homemade dumplings, filled with a ‘meaty veg’ mixture, are satisfying and mysterious, like an ASMR-read riddle.

Not everything works here though. The good things - noodles, greens, and dumplings - are all punchy in flavour and heat. While the less good things - smacked cucumber, doughy bao, and mid-winter open door policy - can you leave you cold, both literally and figuratively.

That said, this is a fine (and fitting) addition to Hackney. The walk-in, or rather squeeze-in, only policy is perfect for an unplanned noodle or dumpling stop after a pint too many up the road. And the cash-only policy separates the wheat from the chaff, though there is a free cashpoint in the garage opposite. Just make sure you bagsy a seat before doing anything else.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Food Rundown

Mao Chow review image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Dan Dan Noodles

Alan Partridge would shout across a car park for these noodles. They’re nutty, spicy, and the soy mince works perfectly with them.

Mao Chow review image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli


The menu says these dumplings are filled with ‘meaty veg’ and Chinese chive. We’re not entirely sure what the former is. Maybe mushroom? Maybe something else. Whatever the mixture is, it tastes good, and there’s a serious chilli kick.

Mao Chow review image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Oyster Mushroom Bao

While the tempura mushrooms, pickled daikon, and sweet tian mian jiang mayo inside this bao taste good, the bun itself is big, doughy, and too much like chewing on the arm of the Michelin man.

Mao Chow review image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Strange Flavour Brussel Sprouts

Reads like an eight-year-old’s diary entry from Christmas Day. Tastes like Szechuan pepper and charred bits of sprout. Good, if a little overbearing.

Gong Bao Asparagus

Fried asparagus combined with crunchy peanuts, chilli and soy is an almost always tasty combination. It’s no different here.

Mao Chow review image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Smacked Cucumber

Seemingly more caressed than smacked, this cucumber could do with some tough love and more time in its vinegar and sesame dressing.

Featured in

Suggested Reading

Peg review image

Peg is a walk-in wine and skewers spot in Hackney. It’s a place you want to be.

Cookdaily review image

Cookdaily is a vegan spot in London Fields serving up sweet, spicy, salty, and sour-filled bowls for under a tenner.

Andu Café review image

Andu Café is a cash-only, vegan spot in Dalston serving great Ethiopian food.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store