Review of 'Momo'

Heddon Street is often overlooked being, effectively, down an alley off of Regent Street but it famously has a number of good restaurants and the ice bar. Not large it has attracted such names as Gordon Ramsey. A few weeks ago we were in the area for a show at the “nearby” London Palladium and wanted to visit the intriguing-looking “Momo” but were disappointed to hear they only started serving food at 6 pm so we had to make do at their neighbour Piccolino (which certainly fell short on service but food OK). However, we were not put off from now, finally, being able to visit Momo.

Interior

Momo bills itself as serving “Mediterranean” food but I would suggest it's food is greatly influenced by the flavours of North Africa with couscous and tagine featuring regularly on the menu. In any case, it is the decor that will catch the diner's eye looking for all the world like something out of the Arabian nights with the added touch of being able to see directly into the kitchen. The dining area is split amongst a larger main room and a smaller room at back, all in romantic, low lighting (though, helpfully, to read the menus and see what you are eating there are battery-powered lights on each table). Tables generally seat larger groups and are not crammed in side by side, giving a bit more of a relaxed feel though the noise is a slight issue when fully booked. As a group of four we felt quite comfortable though I can see it would be good for any sized party. We were seated directly opposite the door on a cool evening and found the draft quite uncomfortable as it continuously opened and closed.

Kitchen

The evening a la carte menu is only a few pages long divided into simply “starters” and “mains”. The drinks menu is not over long and does offer 10-12 options for non-drinkers (including Fever Tree) but otherwise it is mostly wines and a few cocktails.

Olives and Meze Bread

We decided to begin with “Mixed Olives” (£3) and “Bread Basket” (£3.50, nothing special though) though the later we could have forgone due to the amount of fresh (delicious) flatbread included with our (mixed) “Mezze” starter (for 2, £24) recommended by the waiter. They were only too happy to provide us with more flatbread when we ran out. The “Mezze” was wonderful, particularly their delicious chick-pea hummus. The dips (Mechouia, Zaalouk, and Hummus) were separated on a ridged piece of crisp bread that itself was also quite tasty with the “Cheese Briouats” while the “Mo salad” (a simple salad with a light dressing and topped with crispy pita pieces) came in a bowl on the side.

Meze Starter

With the four of us we chose completely different items for our mains. A shared side of “Sprouting broccoli & almonds” (£4.50) quickly disappeared so I had no chance of trying it (though I am told it was delicious).

Broccoli

With the recent emphasis on sustainable dining my companions stuck to non-beef/meat dishes including an amazing looking “Vegetable Tian” (“Aubergine & basil, Yellow & green courgettes, Taggiasche olives & parmesan crumble”, £17)…

Vegetable Tian

…A “Red Mullet Tagine” (“Red mullet, Bouillabaisse, Jerusalem couscous”, £22) with it's wonderful looking beige couscous balls that were unlike anything we had ever seen before…

RED MULLET TAGINE

…and the “Sea Bream” (“Sea bream, Olive & chickpea ragú, Carrot & orange purée, Redcurrant”, £26) which looked stunning, like something out of a Michelin restaurant…

SEA BREAM

For myself I picked the first thing on the menu, the “Classic Momo Couscous” (“Couscous served with lamb cutlet, Grilled spiced chicken thigh, Merguez sausages”, £26) which disappointed on flavour. It was delivered to the table with a bit of ceremony by the server, as he flamboyantly provided an initial serving of couscous in the provided bowl, using a spoon to smooth out a bowl into which he ladled some of the vegetables then topped with the all-important sauce.

CLASSIC MOMO COUSCOUS

I have to say everything was cooked correctly with the meats perfectly grilled and the vegetables still slightly firm rather than mushy but the couscous and vegetables alone lacked any sort of flavour. It was only the addition of small pieces of the meat that brought an element of excitement to the dish, along with the judicious introduction of a small ball of sweetened chickpeas that appeared in a small bowl on the side. This was a huge dish and could easily have fed two people. I was very full when I called it quits.

CLASSIC MOMO COUSCOUS (Meat)

At this point we were not all that interested in desserts but were happy to linger for a bit longer so were talked into the “Selection of Traditional Maghrebine Pastries” (£7) that are made in-house fresh every day, hand picked by the chef for each table. These were absolutely delicious with each pastry offering a completely different taste than the next.

SELECTION OF TRADITIONAL MAGHREBINE PASTRIES

Having heard previously of the mint tea here at Momo the four of us very much enjoyed it. Served with great flair by a waitress, filling each glass from a bit of a height from a scalding hot metal pot the tea was wonderfully tasty but not overpowering. For those of us having experienced mint tea in Morocco there was copious amounts of sugar provided on the side if we wanted to sweeten the otherwise quite subtle mint. Drinking was a bit of an exercise in restraint as if you picked up the glass before it cooled down you were at risk of causing yourself an injury…But very nice indeed.

Tea

Given it was our birthdays, our companions graciously picked up the bill (which included a service charge) but I would suspect it was in the region of about £40-50 each (including drinks) which is a bit expensive but about right for what we received considering the care and detail given to each dish. The staff were wonderfully attentive and patient with food delivered without having to wait too long or without feeling like we were being rushed. It was only my bland main that disappointed.

Interior

Rating:

Review Date: 2019-10-29


Cuisine: Mediterranean

Address: 25 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4BH ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Piccadilly Circus TUBE Oxford Circus

Location: London (England) - Mayfair

Map:

 

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Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7434 4040

URL: https://momo.london/