Friday, September 16, 2011


It's not that often that Brad and I indulge in opulence. We're both pretty laid back people, Brad maybe more so than I, as I tend to have my moments of high maintainence. But that surely naturally comes with the whole being a woman thing right?

And as much as I do love my easy going breakfasts and smashing a pizza while bumming out in front of the tv, I do love dressing up and having a divine night out as well. Divine. Nothing less.

Agenda Melbourne had a private sale for Momo some months back now, their Saraban sharing menu, usually $100 per person, for $50 per person instead. I jumped all over it, made a booking, announced it to Brad that we had a dinner date in a few weeks and that was that. I can make shit happen. Yeah.

Momo is appropriately located up the 'Parisian' end of Collins St, where the Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel lovers hang out.

Accessing Momo is a fun little adventure, whilst you head in the direction of the Grand Hyatt, before actually getting into the hotel, you access a discreet, private elevator that takes you right there. It has that 'oooh' effect, in that you don't know what's coming, that element of suspense.

Stepping out of the elevator doors, you're taken to another world almost. The place is lush. Soft, luxurious, gentle shades of blue and purple lights and opulent decor touches here and there. And although opulent, still entirely elegant. It looked like diamonds were dripping from the ceiling. It managed to exude the feeling of being somewhere exotic and moroccan...without being tacky about it.

The Saraban sharing menu allowed us to choose, two entrees, one main, one side dish and then finish up with the dessert mezza. It probably doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it was honestly, quite plenty!

I can't remember what wine we ordered...was a white, we had a bottle, it made me feel happy.

Before our Saraban sharing feast started, we were given some fresh vegetables, lightly dressed with a bit of pepper and with some olive oil on the side to start. I loved this idea. In such a food, nutrition and body conscious society, instead of bread, vegetables. They were so fresh and crunchy. Good variety too, radishes and cucumbers amongst a couple of other vegetables, which just freshened up the palate. You have to wonder why more restaurants don't do this!

Although having said that, we were still given a small serve of bread as well. Aren't they just cute? Warm little pockets of bread, filled with air. They kind of reminded me of little pillows!

At Momo, service is 'silver spoon' service. So our entrees and mains were presented to us and then spooned into two perfect serves on our respective plates. It was pleasant and bizarre to be so fussed over, since we're definitely not used to so much attention! With the general trend of friendly but casual service that most new restaurants strive to, this was a nod to something a bit more old school, that I very much respected, as they did such an amazing job.

So after showing us our entrees, cradling the bowl in one hand and using an absolutely polished and shiny silver spoon and fork to serve us, ever so neatly and delicately, I was able to take pictures of our food. One of our two entrees, the warm salad of roasted barramundi with fennel, tarragon and buffalo feta was probably my favourite of the two entrees. The barramundi was beautiful, sweet and tender, very, very nicely cooked. The fennel came in as a nice lively injection of flavour and crunch. It really brightened up the dish and was a nice light starting point.

The waiter was sure to give me the orange flower petal. Brad didn't get served a pretty flower. Teehee!

On the flip side, Brad commented that he preferred our other entree better (although we both agreed that they were both fantastic regardless), which was duck breast roasted on the bone with creamy lentil burghul pilav and baby beets. Again, in comparison to the barramundi, this was a much heavier and heartier entree. The duck was heady and delicious and the lentils rich and creamy. A very comforting dish.

For the main, we (or I may have scoured the menu the day before and already chosen) decided on the quail in dukkah crumbs, caradamom bacon, mushrooms and beans in verjuice. So delicately crumbed and so deliciously cooked. The meat was just gorgeous. The beans were a very nice accompaniment as they had soaked up all the flavour somewhere in the process and had a nice meatiness to them.

I had enquired while ordering, what exactly the salad-e 'shirazi' with edible flowers was. The response? 'The prettiest garden salad in Melbourne'. Well they're probably not too far off. It's possibly the most prettily coloured one, with a nice little light dressing. Flavour-wise, nothing particularly mind blowing, but I suppose we had mostly fairly bold flavours in all our other dishes, so this was really just to add something light and neutral to our meal. But I suppose eating does involve all our senses doesn't it? So it's always to have something pretty to look at while you're eating I guess!

And what I was most looking forward to really (after having done my research and reading up previous blogposts on urbanspoon), the dessert mezza. This had been highly rated, so it had a lot to live up to. But my goodness it did.

Even before the plate hit the table, the smell of strong, dark cocoa wafted to my nose as the plates came around the corner, which immediately had me drooling. But as much as I wanted to dive into the rich hot chocolate and kaluah cake stuffed with whipped medjool date....I was advised to save it for last since it was so much richer and would overwhelm the lighter more delicate flavours in the other desserts.

Suppose you can't argue against that.

The other two desserts were, in the glass, a lemon and orange flower ice-cream, dried rose and hazelnut crumble, and with the tree, a persian saffron tart, passionfruit curd and mascarpone cheese.

Oh where to start?!

The persian saffron tart, was just lovely and tangy, the passionfruit really came through and it just had a beautiful, smooth texture to it. It wasn't too sweet either, making it quite refreshing.

The lemon and orange flower ice-cream in comparison, was quite sweet, but in a delightful way. As per the waiters suggestion, we broke the hazelnut crumble into the ice-cream and mixed it all up together. So many flavours that all just worked! There was the citrus and bright flavours of the lemon and orange ice-cream, but a strong sweetness from the rose which was toned down by the hazelnut crumble. The hazelnut crumble added an earthiness to it which was a nice addition to all the fluffy light flavours. Such a playful dessert with lots of fun textures as well.

And of course. That chocolate cake. It was a sin. Tasty tasty sin. Rich and so cocoa-y. If you love your chocolate rich and dark, this is the cake for you. The insides just oozing out lovingly. My favourite. If you couldn't tell.

Throughout the whole night, service was just exceptional, with friendly but exceptionally professional staff, who pampered us all night. I'm still in awe at how they handle the spoon and fork to so elegantly plate everything, right in front of the customer, talk about pressure!

In regards to the food, it's not super innovative or mind blowing, ala Andrew McConnell style, but Greg Malouf does absolutely lovely, tasty food, that is exceptionally executed.

I may not come back to Momo so soon, as my bank account would be very angry with me, but I would certainly recommend it for a special occasion, as that all around special experience. There's not that many places that do service to this level and it's certainly a pleasure, albeit a bit strange as well (since I'm not used to it), to experience it.

Still dreaming of that chocolate cake....

123 Collins St (Lower Plaza Level)
Melbourne, 3000

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