Thursday, November 12, 2009

MoMo - Melbourne - Grand Hyatt

Name: MoMo
Lower Plaza Level (Grand Hyatt Hotel)
123 Collins St
Melbourne 3000 VIC

Phone: (03) 9650 0660

Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Average price: They have $100 and $140 degustation menus. Entree: $17-$26, Mains: $30-$40, Dessert: $16-$20

Complimentary: 4 pieces of bread with crudites and a pomegranate molasses oil.

We were not expecting yet another dish, as we were already worried about fitting it all in. The bread was generous, and at room temperature, perfect for tearing and dipping. The vegetables were carrots, baby fennel, cucumber, capsicum and radicchio. The pomegranate molasses gave the oil a lovely tart sweetness that my husband finished up quickly and then asked for a refill (they obliged).

We ordered the $140pp Moorish menu for two, one vegetarian:

Entrees: Kingfish ceviche, smoky baba ganoush, lambs lettuce, sugar-dried olives and hazelnuts - $28

My husband loved this. I tried the baba ganoush, and oh my goodness, it was divine. The smokiness is absolutely perfect, right on the edge of being too smoky and not imparting enough depth, it really turned an ordinary dip into something wonderful and tantalising on the taste buds.

Crunch zucchini blossoms with house made haloumy on tomato & white anchovy salad - $26

My husband enjoyed these. I had a non-anchovy version. The tomato, with all of its juiciness, does tend to monopolise the subtle crunchy blossom with salty haloumy, so I ate them separately. Lovely, light and with clean, fresh flavours.

Eden bay sardine fillets in brik pastry, chermoula. egg, epinach and chive labneh - $27 (pictured below)

Hubby loved everything except the large sardine fillet that overpowered all other flavours.

Veiled quail covered in leaves, house made chorizo-pine nut stuffing, feta whipped with mustard - $30

This won best dish of the year. Although it wasn't Ryan's best dish of the year, it certainly scored in his top 10. He particularly loved the unusual, crunchy leaves.

Silky hummus, artichokes a la grecque & green olive toast

The hummus was the silkiest I have had, but after tasting the awesome smoky baba ganoush, I found it a little boring. The artichoke mix with slivered almonds was lovely (however, I find parsley leaves a little strong and domineering so I tend to leave those out). I really enjoyed the chewy mini olive toasts.

Hazelnut falafel with gyspy salad and sesame yoghurt sauce

Unfortunately the falafel was a little burnt and therefore a little too crunchy and a tad dry, thankfully the generous portions of luscious sauces helped disguise that and I enjoyed the dish.

Medly of vegetables with an egg

This came wrapped in paper, which just reminded me of McDonald's packaging, so I wasn't too keen on the presentation. This was fine, nothing wrong with it, but nothing fabulous either.

Drinks: Turkish Delight Martini - $20

Mains: Malouf’s pigeon bistayeea with Lebanese-style white cabbage salad

Ryan could not rave about this enough - he was moaning with every mouthful. The pastry was perfectly crispy and broke away under Ryan's eager spoon to reveal a pie jam packed with flavour. The best pie Ryan has ever had. Normally, with two meat eaters, this is split between two for the main, so Ryan didn't eat much of the salad as he wanted to make sure he got down every morsel of the pie.

Grilled devilled lamb loin, beetroot, sakleesh cheese & whipped parsnip - $50

Ryan enjoyed this - lamb was cooked perfectly, the puree was silky smooth, and the salad was lovely, although we barely ate it as we needed to leave room for dessert.

Long Hungarian peppers with sticky rice-currant stuffing and shankleesh che
ese salad

These were nice, definitely on the sweet side, with tangy peppers. Although I didn't care for the bitter radicchio - I'm not one for bitter tastes.

Couscous 'Royale' - seven vegetable couscous with labneh and green harissa broth

I can't say much about this, as unfortunately the broth contained coriander leaves, and as the waiter poured it over the whole dish, I had trouble digging for unadulterated portions.

Sides: Warm potato salad, smoky paprika and almond tarator dressing - $14

Nice salad, with an interesting dressing, a little similar to tahini. Once again I avoided the bitter lettuce leaves.

MoMo chilled tomato salad, tarragon, sumac & soft goat's cheese - $19

Lovely, simple salad. Sumac adds a wonderful note.

Leek, currant and aged feta spanokpita with pear & prosciutto salad - $16

My favourite of the side dishes - really gorgeous, flaky pastry with the creamiest and tastiest feta I have had, punctuated with soft leeks and sweet currants with fresh pear batons to lighten it up. I would have loved this as one of my mains. Ryan's also had the prosciutto.

Baby ice berg and asparagus salad, soft cooked egg and preserved lime-Caesar dressing - $17

Nice, perfectly poached egg with baby asparagus.

Dessert: Canteloupe, strawberries, pistachio halva, pineapple and orange blossom sorbet - $20

The sorbet was lovely and refreshingly acidic. I particularly liked the chewy pistachio halva.

Cinnamon and banana ice cream, black currant jelly and leatherwood honey wafer - $37 for the next three

This wasn't like an ice cream for me. In terms of taste and texture it reminded me of rice pudding (rizogalo) just minus the rice, nice though. I don't really care much for jelly, but Ryan said the flavour was good. The wafer was just barely perfumed with honey and the dish also came with spearmint pashka.

Medjool date and chocolate tart, cardamom, kataifi and crème fraiche

I liked the crunchy (like rice bubbles crunchy) kataifi tube filled with tangy creme fraiche, but Ryan didn't. The tart had a nice chocolate taste, although I couldn't really get the date, just a lingering sweetness from it.

Orange and lemon verbena delicious bistayeea with pistachio sugar

My favourite of the desserts, and Ryan's too. Ryan fell in love with the pistachio sugar before he even tasted it, the smell alone made him drool. What I loved was the luscious, tongue coating orange and lemon verbena custard/curd beneath, wonderful stuff.

Cost: $300 for two Moorish menus and one cocktail.

Service: Great - our water was never more than half empty, the waiters were proficient and courteous, the food came out rather quickly and everything went smoothly.

Atmosphere: Calm luxury. The decor is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous - hubby and I were picking out which features we'd love to put in our own home. From the dazzling Swarovski crystals hanging like stalactites from the ceiling to the lattice work windows and etched glass and velour walls - even the large pink peony's were a gorgeous touch. The lighting strikes that perfect balance with dark moodiness and enough light to see your food clearly without falling asleep. The temperature was absolutely perfect (it was 30C outside at 8pm) and you are given a generous amount of room so the noise was always fairly low but not to the point that the place felt dead. My husband at one stage, so relaxed in the surroundings, asked if we could live here. Really, really gorgeous.

Parking: Hotel carpark - the hotel has a large underground carpark at a flat rate of $10 - otherwise you can chance a limited street park.


Hours: Tue-Sat 6pm-10.30pm

Would I return: Yes - my husband was already planning on coming back half way through dinner.


  1. Hey, that looks fantastic! I didn't know that Momo has so many veg-friendly options. Now it's definitely on my wish list. :-)

  2. I had heard so much about the old MoMo, but so far nothing about the new one until now. Everything looks and sounds so fantastic and there are so many vegetarian dishes! I can see why your husband loved it so much.

    And did I spy something written on the dish correctly. Is there a Happy birthday in order!!?!!

  3. Ah, you got me. Yes, it was a birthday dinner, my birthday dinner to be exact - and it was awesome!
    If you go definitely get the pidgeon bistayeea (hubby LOVED this) and also the Orange and lemon verbena delicious bistayeea with pistachio sugar for dessert, lovely stuff.

  4. We had the vegetarian Arabesque menu on the weekend - lots of fun! The artichoke salad with hummus and olive toasts, and the bistayeea were definite highlights. :-)

  5. Good review, cant wait to go here. You'll have to learn to love coriander! ;-)


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