Magic Momo Kafe, 588 Barkly Street, West Footscray. Phone: 9972 2616
In the rush of the new and the thrill of discoveries, it’s inevitable that we all come to overlook places that have been around for a while, ones we come to take for granted.
We hit Magic Momo Kafe in its early days but have since looked, gone, eaten and written elsewhere.
But on a freezing early-in-the-week night, Bennie and I make an impromptu visit and become very happy we do so.
We bugger up the ordering to some extent – in terms of similar dishes – but end up reflecting that here is a local establishment that offers intriguing, and very affordable, points of difference from the plethora of nearby Indian eateries.
It’s a cosy place, although tonight is such a chiller that the heater near our tables struggles.
And we love the pressed metal ceilings!
We start with entree serves of five of the steamed chicken momo ($5) and …
… chilli vegetable momo ($6.50).
We like them both but the vegetable numbers win the day with their smooth, tasty innards.
The “chilli” component is an OK jumble of vegetables somewhat in the Chinese style.
The same vegetables pop up in the traditional soup thukpa ($11.95).
Our vegetable version is a noddle-based large bowl of niceness that is easily big enough for us to share.
More of that Chinese influence on Nepalese food is displayed in the staple chowmein ($10).
We’ve had this here before – see here – but this is way better.
It’s far less oily than we might expect from a Chinese, Vietnamese on Indo-Chinese dish.
The whole thing has a beaut charred thing going on and the lamb strips are chewy and a bit like jerky.
Very good – and the highlight of our meal.
Grilled sekuwa ($9.90) is described as “meat roasted in a natural wood/log fire in a real traditional Nepalese country style”.
The marinated lamb – cumin is among the ingredients – is served on puffed rice and is quite good, if a little on the chewy side – but I suspect that’s just the way it’s supposed to be.
It’s a rather pricey dish, though, for what amounts to not much more than a handful of meat.
On a slightly earlier visit, I’d selected one of several “sets” available at Magic Momo Kafe.
The Nepali khana set ($17.50) is a tad more expensive than your average Indian-style thali offerings found in the west and across Melbourne but I enjoyed the heck out of it.
Joining a very fine chicken curry were a mildly spiced and colourful vegetable mix that came across as something like a Russian salad, a very runny dal made from (I think) aduki beans, a chilli sauce, some salady bits and some steamed greens aside the rice.
Hopefully, we will find time to visit Magic Momo Kafe again soon – the menu is longish and there’s lots to explore.