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Mambow No. 2 – chef Abby Lee on her new restaurant

Abby Lee sounds tired. The night before we speak on the phone she saw the first service for her new iteration of Mambow. Opening a new restaurant is always stressful, and like so many launch nights, Mambow’s wasn’t smooth sailing.

“The kitchen didn’t arrive until a few hours before we were meant to open,” says Lee with a wry if somewhat weary-sounding chuckle. “I only had about 90 minutes to get the whole thing fitted in order to give me time to finish the prep before we started service.”

Originally positioned as an affordable breakfast and lunch-focused bowl food restaurant, Lee first opened Mambow in London’s Spitalfields in early 2020, but it was almost immediately forced to close when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Now she has relaunched at Peckham’s Market Stalls with a ‘more complete restaurant offering’ and a modern Malaysian focus in reflection of Lee’s upbringing of her in Singapore.

Despite the last-minute rush to get things ready, Lee is audibly happy with how the first evening went. “We got a pretty good reception,” she adds, enthusiastically. “We got some great feedback. People really liked the food.”

Housed within a food market and with an almost completely new menu that pairs an ‘enlightened, fresh and playful’ approach to Malaysian cuisine with natural wines, this second version of Mambow is a very different proposition for diners to what came before. And for Lee, it’s an opportunity to explore the flavors and dishes of her homeland on her terms.

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