(aka 'Little Ma')

Address: 3 Tianjin Lu

Last order: approx. 10pm


Set inside a distinctive old German building just off Zhongshan Lu, dark wooden tables and a colourful wall menu backdrop lend an element of charm to this Ma Jia La Mian wanna-be, aptly named 兰州小马拉面(Lanzhou Little Ma La Mian).

Our dining experience kicked off in brilliant fashion, with a fine-looking la mian arriving at our table, and a Ma Jia-esque savoury dark beef broth that tasted rich. While only a few small pieces of meat laced the noodles, they turned out delicious little morsels of prime beef.

Yet these initial delights quickly diminished, on discovering the noodles to be both not at all fresh and even gooey. Adam then found a small hair in his previously scrumptious dry noodle dish. And, as with other Ma Jia soups, the savoury captivation of the la mian tang began to wear off as one made its way to the bottom (the sentiment being that a Ma Jia la mian soup works well as a broth for the noodles, though perhaps not as a soup in its own right – unless you’re addicted to Bovril that is, so Rudi will probably disagree).

The staff from Lanzhou meant well, but their service was inept, a tiny plate of jia rou requiring a full ten minutes to be delivered to the table. And while the restaurant was certainly clean on first appearance, its personnel and presumably kitchen too were not.

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