The Gist: Real Mo-Mo’s is five cuisines all under one roof. This modern European Bistro serves Dutch, Australian, New Zealand, Spanish, and Canadian fare.
"I’ve always wanted my own restaurant," says owner Monique Guffens. A GM for almost six years at nearby Hanks and Wine Bar, she finally opened the doors this month.
"The menu is inspired by all the places I've lived and visited," she says. Small photos on the wall of the dining room showcase many of the places she’s traveled since leaving her homeland of Holland 12 years ago. Guffens lived in Australia for three years, New Zealand for one and spent a couple of years in the Canary Islands in Spain.
Grub: While the various menus offer a little something for everyone, it’s the Dutch items that will likely catch your eye. Soon you will attemp their long, tangled names that even the servers have had to practice saying. Kip Satay & Peanut (Pinda) Sauce ($14) is big for Dutch folks. Instead of wings and fries, they eat this as a snack.
And there are so many menus – lunch, dinner, brunch, high tea ($30 for 2), and a prix fixe dinner menu (3-course $35) available Thursday to Saturday. You can come back a number of times without having to have the same thing twice.
Dishes have been created from Monique’s menus and adapted by the restaurant’s chefs. And everything is made in house except for the bread. There are gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. Even turkey bacon for those who don’t eat pork.
Tibetan Momo’s were added to the menu simply because people expect them because of the restaurant name (also Guffen’s nickname).
Portions are on the bigger side, and prices have been kept reasonable. Guffens says, "People work crazy hours, so they should be able to come and have a burger, salad, meal or high tea a couple times a month."
And because the more choices the better: Every dinner main course comes with the side, but you get to choose which one from a list of seven.
Libations: Drinks are reasonably priced - Beer ($6), wines start at $8 by the glass and cocktails are $10-$12. Most of the cocktails have incorporated the restaurant’s moniker into them such as the Mo-Mo-Sa ($7), Cos-Mo-Mo ($12) and a refreshing Mo-Mo-Jito ($12) with 2oz Bacardi, crushed ice, soda water, strawberries, lime and fresh mint.
Just in time for the warmer weather, a Tequila Sangria ($12) - 2.5oz 1800 Desperado, peach schnapps, crushed ice, strawberries, pineapple, orange, lime and red wine – hits the spot.
Keeping with the Dutch theme, you’ll also find Ketel One Vodka and Grolsch Premium Lager in the big flip-top bottle.
Fixtures & Fittings: Guffens says the historic "Old building has character. When people saw the paper up, they were excited."
The space formerly closed for over a year and "rundown," according to Guffens, everything is new except for the floor.
The room is filled with silver chandeliers, purple walls and lots of greenery. Guffens calls it "romantic," saying it comes from her Dutch heritage. "It’s owned by a girl, not a corporation," she says. "It’s everything I like put together and hopefully other people will like it."
The cozy new bar is the room’s best feature, aside from the big bay windows at the front.
Off the Menu:
High Tea ($30 for two) A bounty of sweet and savory treats is served on tiered trays alongside unlimited pots of organic loose tea.
Snack on Cucumber and Tzatziki Sandwich and Smoked Salmon & Goat Cheese Brioche. Of particular note, the Dutch items of Chicken Curry Salad sandwich with chilled curry and mango chicken and crispy pickle spears on buttery brioche buns, and Bitterballen, a deep-fried, breaded beef ragu ball that will soon be your new favourite go-to snack.
On the sweeter side, dig into housemade gluten-free Chocolate Brownies, Date Squares, and Scones served with blueberry compote and fresh cream. Double Dutch Stroopwafels are made by Schep's Bakeries in Norfolk, and the sweet Speculaas are a Dutch specialty as well. Both can be purchased to take home.
Mo-Mo’s Tibetan Dumplings ($10) You don’t often see vegetarian momo’s (Guffens is vegetarian), but these crispy pockets of flour pastry filled with soft cabbage and a heavy hit of ginger, and mango chutney on the side are a winner.
Down Under Sliders ($14) If you’ve never had kangaroo, here’s your chance. Grilled kangaroo patties are topped with caramelized onions, granny smith apple, creamy brie, and homemade beet jam, served on buttery brioche buns
Bison Burger ($18) This hearty bison patty is made from 100% ground bison with just a pinch of salt and pepper. Topped with goat cheese, pickled red onions, mustard aioli, and tomatoes, you’ll have a tough time deciding if you like the burger or warm soft pretzel bun it’s served on more (hint: it’s a tie).
Grilled Tofu & Soba Noodles ($18) A seriously healthy – and vegan - option boasts maple syrup & chili marinated organic tofu tossed with broccoli, lima beans sundried tomatoes in a hot wasabi sauce, topped with toasted peanuts.
Pannenkoeken ($8-11 for signature selections, also available – build your own with meat, fruit, vegetable and cheese options)
This Dutch-style crepe - thicker than a crepe, thinner than a pancake - was a favourite meal at home when Guffens was growing up. She describes it as "similar to making a pizza," and says that the ham, cheese and pineapple combination, as well as apple and cinnamon, are very traditional back home. And even if the crepe is of the savoury kind, such as the Cheddar & Mushroom ($11) for example, Dutch syrup is poured over top anyway.
How Cool is This?! Guffens went on Kickstarter to raise $10,000 to build a new bar. She raised $12,000 in just six weeks, thanks to both new and old friends.
Deets: The restaurant seats 49, is open seven days a week and offers High Tea service every day. They are closed for dinner on Sundays.
At the Stove: Chefs Collin Stone and Christopher Britten
FOH: Full-time Servers/Bartenders Paul Charuk and Taylor Abrams
Head Honcho: Monique Guffens
Visiting Hours: Mon – Thurs 11am - 10pm
Friday 11am - 11pm
Saturday 9am - 11pm
Sunday 9am - 5pm
Map It: 51 Colborne St. (at Church)
Phone It In: (647) 560-0842
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