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Review: Sticky skewers, bowls and buns at new Momo Soko in Illovo

Following the success of their Momo Baohaus in Greenside, brothers Tim and Lawrence Lai have brought their modern take on Asian street food to Illovo in the form of Momo Soko. And it’s an absolute hit, says Eat Out critic Kate Liquorish.

Fast facts

Serves: Fresh fish bowls, filled buns and sticky skewers
Cost: Average main is R78
Best for: Affordable indulgence and dinner with friends
Parking: In the Illovo Thrupps Centre next door
Star ratings: Food 4, service 3, ambience 3

Momo Soko bowl

One of the bowls at Momo Soko. Photo by Kate Liquorish.

Food

The menu is similar to that at the original Momo offering a range of bao buns, tapas-style small plates and bowls, but instead of sushi you’ll find a list of soko, or skewers. Everything on the menu is bursting at the seams with flavour; the steamed bao buns are seductively sweet, soft and packed full of crispy fried tempura, roasted meats and tofus, with an assortment of kimchis, pickles, sweet and spicy sauces, mayonnaise and fresh herbs. They are dangerously good and wonderfully anti-banting.

The soko, on the other hand, are cleaner, fresher and more savoury with an emphasis on citrus and spice. You’ll find different mash-ups of miso, garlic, spring onion, sesame and chilli enrobing these little grilled delights. The Fitzroy, a grilled prawn skewer with red-chilli drizzle, fried garlic, toasted sesame and spring onion, and the Aoraki, a grilled sirloin skewer with miso butter, garlic, lemon and crushed peanuts, are both fantastic.

Momo Soko skewer

One of the skewers at Momo Soko. Photo by Kate Liquorish.

Then, for those wanting something a little more substantial, there’s an assortment of comforting Momo bowls, all served on a base of rice, noodles or wokked greens. They’re a visual delight of slaws, vegetables, ramen eggs, mushrooms, herbs and sweet, sticky and spicy chicken, beef or tofu. There’s also a choice of three poké bowls consisting Norwegian salmon alongside pickles, slaws, kale, veggies, seaweed and punchy dressings.

Momo Soko is a feast for both the eyes and the senses, with every dish a delight.

Drinks

They don’t have a liquor licence yet, so you can BYOB without paying a corkage fee. I would, however, recommend trying one of the speciality teas, which work as the perfect digestive accompaniment to all that’s sweet and spicy. (The Iron Buddha comes out tops in this department.) Also on offer are Turkish Delight lemonade, lemongrass-yuzu ginger beer, coconut waters and craft ice teas.

Momo Soko tea

Tea at Momo Soko. Photo by Kate Liquorish.

Service

The waiters are youthful, friendly and casual in their approach, which works with the laid-back, contemporary feel of the place.

Ambience

Momo Soko is minimalist, contemporary and cool. It’s located between 86 Public and Beefcakes in the Illovo Muse Centre, so there’s not much to look at in terms of the surroundings, but the space itself is open and bright and lends itself to casual lunches and vibey dinners.

And…

It’s hardly been open a week and people are already struggling to get a table, so make sure you book for dinner.

Have you been to the brand-new Momo Soko? Let us know what you thought by writing a quick review. Write a review now.

Want to find more new restaurants in your city? Check out our new restaurants section. Brought to you by Retail Capital, sponsors of the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year Award.

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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