17 Mar MOMO Dumpling + Tea, Prahran
MOMO Dumpling + Tea inconspicuously occupies the ground level of an apartment block. It’s easy to walk past; its industrial look is quite different from most Chinese restaurants. It’s large, seating about 100 people, and benefits from plenty of window light from its wide frontage.
MOMO Dumpling + Tea is only a few weeks old but it’s already leaving a good impression on the locals, and their $15 lunch specials are popular with office workers nearby. This is the second restaurant from owners Chloe and Johnny Sun, who also run the popular Cosy and Tasty Dumpling in Frankston.
Fully licensed, Momo Dumpling has cocktails from lunch through to dinner. The Red Lotus is a fruity cocktail of Vodka, lychee puree, cranberry, goji berry, and almond flake. One of Chloe’s recipes is the Matcha Jasmine Sour, a result of her passion for tea and a particular love for matcha. It contains vodka, matcha, and both jasmine and osmanthus tea. Slightly tart with a notable matcha fragrance, it’s a refreshing drink. Tea and dumplings go hand in hand, and there’s a range of teas to choose from too.
Johnny spends his time in charge of the kitchen. Sauces, noodles and dumplings are all made in house. We try the pan-fried, yet juicy fish dumplings filled with barramundi, spring onion, and ginger. The pork-based chilli oil dumplings have piquancy from Sichuan pepper, and peanuts for texture. The wonton tofu bowl comes with steamed silken tofu, vegetables, and a soy sesame sauce. The warm wontons, made of pork and cabbage, contrast with the cool and smooth tofu. The overall flavours are salty and sour, with a slight charr in the mix, maybe from the roasted sesame, adding an extra dimension. The dumplings and wontons here are very good. The dumpling skins are done very well, and the quality of the kitchen’s efforts are apparent.
There’s a huge amount of marinated, poached fish in the Szechuan Bowl, along with bean sprouts, choy sum and mint. It’s a healthier take on the famous Szechuan dish, using less oil and chilli. We don’t find it to be particularly spicy from either pepper or chilli.
Taiwan style beef noodle soup has slow cooked beef brisket, mushroom, choy sum, bean sprout, marinated tofu, changshou noodle, and chilli paste. The tender beef slices and smooth noodles are enjoy with the soup, which is full of herbal fragrance and flavour.
There’s a small selection of sweets to end the meal, including custard bao that have mesmerisingly smooth and shiny skins. They look like eggs, and I almost feel bad for tearing them apart. Sadly the matcha ice cream mochi are unavailable today; I guess I’ll have to come back.