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Come back for Momo

Grub Spy: Alan Kelly dishes the goods on Ireland’s tastiest dining destinations

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Some of the amazing food on offer.

Some of the amazing food on offer.

The exterior Momo.

The exterior Momo.

The interior of Momo.

The interior of Momo.

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Some of the amazing food on offer.

It might be the style of lettering or maybe even the colour, but from the outside, Momo on Patrick Street in Waterford, at first looks a bit hippy-ish and (dare I say) less than interesting.

MOMO
47 Patrick Street, Waterford
4.5 Stars
Food €28; Drinks €6

And while first impressions are always important, I usually try to be amused rather than put off by the frontage of a restaurant. It’s a routine that has rarely let me down, and today is no different.

Once inside, we find a striking dining room festooned with stylish touches, strategically located corners, twinkly lights, great posters, green plants and a cool bar. In fact the entire building is deceptive and far more than just plain ‘interesting’. I would describe it as a groovy contrast between ultra-modern and last century – or ‘fab’ for short.

There is an equally deceptive menu. At first, what looks long and complicated, is actually simple-ish and straightforward.

There’s a tempting wide-ranging selection of salads, pasta, fish pies, curries, wraps and steaks. We decide to check-out the pumpkin soup, some tempura haddock, and a hearty salad.

The soup is a rich, creamy concoction bursting with fragrant pumpkin flavours. Served with gorgeous homemade bread it is soothing, earthy and lavish, and a sophisticated interpretation of what delicious soup should always be. When it comes to the Box Salad, we find an accomplished crowd-pleaser that presses all the right salad buttons. Roast courgette, spiced chickpeas, tart red cabbage strips, spinach, shredded carrot, apples and lots of herbs.

Throw in a terrific cashew dressing and everything marries together harmoniously and deliciously. At its very simplest, tempura batter is made with flour and water. With the addition of something carbonated i.e., sparkling wine, beer, fizzy water – you should end-up with a wonderfully light batter.

The tempura batter on my super-fresh deep fried haddock fillet is so gossamer light, so unevenly nubbly and brittle, its ability to hold onto the fish is a culinary triumph. Keeping it in good company is a bowl of chips that surpass all expectations by actually being cooked to perfection i.e., crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The whole dish looks ‘deceptively’ ordinary but tastes amazing. Sadly, on just one occasion, quality goes a tad wobbly. A side of rocket (topped with a zingy cucumber pickle) is droopy and tired and well past its sell-by-date. An isolated incident that only stands out because of the overall high standards, and hardly lessens an otherwise scrumptious late lunch.

With a drive ahead of us I bypass alcohol and try some Fentimans Curiosity Cola instead. Surprisingly flavoursome it goes really well with both dishes.

So was Momo worth the trip? It is testament to a kitchen capable of churning out such surprisingly fine food that I am already planning to return on my next visit to Waterford. Manned with pleasant knowledgeable staff (which no request seemed too much trouble)

I think Momo is a genuine belter of a place. Atmospheric, divertingly moody and a smart layout – fortunate indeed is the local community that has the likes of this charming little culinary adventure on its doorstep.

Cherish it, Waterford: restaurants like this are hard to come by.

Grape Spy: Jean Smullen

LOOK out for these award winning wines, the 2021/22 winners of Ireland’s Gold Star Award for wine organised annually by the National Off Licence Association. The wines are available nationwide in over 300 independent off licences.

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2020 Tokara Premium Sauvignon RRP €19.95

A deserved Gold Star winner, South African Sauvignon Blanc is set to become a big trend on the Irish market, especially in 2022. This one comes from Stellenbosch, one of South African’s best known wine regions. A beautifully fresh Sauvignon, with aromas of green apple, when tasted it is refreshing and crisp with a lovely mineral edge. Enjoy this with smoked salmon and brown bread.

2019 Catena Malbec €19.99

The Malbec grape grown in Argentina is the other wine style in great demand at the moment. This one is another worthy winner. The Catena family are Malbec pioneers, they know what they are doing, they have been growing this grape in the mountains of Mendoza since 1902. Malbec originally from south-west France is now Argentina’s best loved red grape. This has lovely flavours of blackberry with hints of Vanilla and spice. It was made to go with a good steak and thick cut chips.

  • For wine events, see jeansmullen.com

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