Burgers out, 100% Nepalese in



Magic Momo Kafe, 588 Barkly St, West Footscray. Phone: 9972 2616

So we never made it back to Magic Momo Kafe, after our initial momo-focused visit, to assess and enjoy its efforts at a trans-national menu – though we heard the burgers were actually quite good.

Too late for all that now, though, as the place has changed dramatically.

There’s a rather nice fit-out in a more restaurant style and the menu is now hardcore Nepalese.


We remain bemused that chowmein is part of Nepalese food culture but we have come across it before – at our fondly remembered visits to the now defunct Fusion Cafe & Mo:Mo Bar in  Footscray central – and we’re happy to give it another whirl.

Magic Momo’s egg rendition ($7.95), with its egg noodles, cabbage and other vegetables, is satisfying if rather plain.

We’re inclined to say a heavier hand with the salt shaker and higher spice levels are required, but no doubt this dish is exactly the way it’s meant to be.


Of course, a visit here simply necessitates a momo experience – so we go a fried serve of the pork numbers ($8.95).

They’re good, though rather small.

The casings are pleasantly chewy and mildly spicy innards blazingly hot and juicy.


From the four-choice fish section of the menu we choose “Nepalese-style gravy fish” ($13.95).

It’s a bigger serve than the above photo suggests.

The gravy appears to be a no-nonsense tomato-and-onion-based number that is mildly spiced and has a heavenly, lemony tang. We’re later told one of the seasoning ingredients is dried oregano!

The flavour of the fish – butterfish, we’re told – is mild but comes through nicely, something quite rare in fish dishes from this broader part of the world.

This is recognisably the same dish as I’d tried a few nights previously, but the earlier portion (see photo below) was a good deal more moist and several degrees more excellent.

We love it that Magic Momo Kafe is providing an alternative on a stretch of Barkly Street that seems destined to reach doubles figures of Indian eateries in the not too distant future.

And we’re interested in trying what appear to be Nepelese-style versions of thalis they offer – chiura sets (with beaten rice as previously experienced at Fusion Cafe & Mo:Mo Bar) and khana sets.

See menu below.

On the basis of this meal, though, we suspect homely, simple and satisfying is the go here – rather than whizz-bang.

But often that’s a fine, thing, too.





Momo a-go-go in WeFo



Magic Momo Kafe, 588 Barkly St, West Footscray. Phone: 9972 2616

“Looks like a work in progress.”

Bennie may be on the unfair side there, but Magic Momo Kafe does have an undeniable vibe of being newly minted and very recently opened.

The double doors are wide open to the world on a cold day and the three staff members in attendance are pumped with nervous energy and eager to pleaseness.

Writing about such a place at such a time in its life almost seems on the cruel side.

But what the hey – we’re only after an after-school snack.

As we’d been promised when we called in while the place was still under construction, there is a lovely looking range of luridly colured Indian sweets, along with some cakes and slices of the brought-in variety.

We know the momos are produced in-house, however, on account of the big tub of ace-looking seasoned pork mince that is being used to fill pastry casings.

OK, so a post-school serve of fried chicken momo (10 for $7.95) it is for us.


The fried is pan rather deep, with the bottoms nicely tanned and the tops chewy in just the right way.

The innards are peppery, maybe there’s some ginger in there somewhere as well, and have crunch from onion and colouring from coriander.

They go great with the medium-spicy chilli concoction served on the side.

We’re both halfway through our first momo when we immediately acknowledge the pressing need to also order a 10-piece serve of the vegetable dumplings.


If anything these are even better. Bennie certainly thinks so.

They’re the same price and appear a little bigger, even though I’m sure the same dough cutter has been used for both varieties. As well, the dough used in this batch is a bit darker.

I’ve been expecting a filling packed with crunch and slither from cabbage, mushrooms and the like.

Instead, we get a filling that seems to be potato and carrot-based and that, as my unusually-astute-on-this-day offsider instantly observes, makes these dumplings seem a bit like soft samosas.

Mind you, there is some crunch and texture from onion and cabbage, while – like their chooky colleagues – these are also peppery and scrumptious.

Explorations of the burger, kebab, BLT, French toast, lemon pepper calamari and tomato soup variety at this intriguingly multi-focussed eatery will have to wait for another day and a more suitable occasion.

In the meantime, and based on our two fine serves of momo, we can attest that there is indeed magic in the air here.



New Kingsville coffee spot, WeFo momo update …



What was once Petitou at 206 Somerville Rd is now Project 206.

The place looks a treat, the coffee is good and they have a buy-five-get-one-free loyalty card and wifi.

Food runs, at present, to breakfast regulars, such as eggs and pancakes, and light lunch fare, such as a soup special, frittata and lasagna.

The kids/toy space at the back has given way to more regular seating and a liquor licence is in the works.

Owner Natalie tells me there are plans afoot to see the abandoned servo across the road become a four-level apartment block.

Whatever our collective ambivalence about rampant apartment development, that will surely be an improvement on the current eyesore!

Project 206 is open 10am-3pm Mondays, 9.30am-4.30pm Tuesdays to Fridays and 9am-430pm at weekends. Phone: 90044563.


Meanwhile, over in Barkly St, Magic Momo Kafe proprietor Ravi tells me his baby is still at least a week away from opening its doors for the first time.

He’s taken a realistic approach to competing with the varied Indian options in the area, so is excited about a menu that covers a number of bases.

He promises a lively cafe vibe with great coffee and a spectacular range of Indian sweeties.