Tim Lai, Lawrence Lai and Aadil Mayat’s chain of Momo restaurants are centred around doing modern Asian food differently and experimenting with new concepts and recipes. This popular restaurant chain expands to the ever-popular Keyes Art Mile, with diners experiencing food with a view of Johannesburg’s skyline in the background. While each Momo eatery has its signature offering, all underpinned by very distinctive flavours typical to the group, Momo Kuro’s focus is on tapas, bao buns and poké bowls.
If you’re dining in a larger group, it’s always best to order a selection of small plates to share. Try the Peking duck pancakes: amber roasted duck, hoisin sauce, spring onion and cucumber all tucked inside a paper-thin steamed pancake and finished with toasted sesame seeds.
The words Momo Kuro in Japanese mean ‘black dumpling’, and dumplings is what you’ll get. The sui mai is a take on the traditional Chinese steamed dumpling – a chicken and prawn open dumpling with shiitake mushrooms, toasted sesame, coriander. These dumplings come standard with a selection of dipping sauces and a Szechuan chilli vinaigrette. The fire cracker chicken is also a lovely sharing option: crispy fried chicken with Szechuan chilli oil, ginger, garlic, crushed peanuts and spring onion.
A crowd favourite is the bao burgers. Indulge in the baohaus, a speciality that’s to die for – teriyaki beef, hoisin, kewpie mayo, diced spring onion, coriander, fried onion, pickled onion and toasted sesame seeds.
Finish your meal with a pot of authentic jasmine tea to cleanse the palate.
Momo Kuro doesn’t have a liquor licence but encourages diners to bring their own wine, champagne, beer or other spirits at no corkage fee. Non-alcoholic options include speciality teas, an espresso bar, coconut water, standard soft drinks and ginger beers.
The service at Momo Kuro is a little slow, but the staff are friendly and ready to assist. Unwind, take it easy and relax while you wait for your chosen meal and take in the view overlooking Johannesburg.
When you enter at Keyes Art Mile, you’re greeted by buzzing on-street eateries and shops. Walking up the stairs to the entrance of the main building, you can’t help but feel a sense of sophistication and class. Momo Kuro is tucked away in a secluded location accessed via a secret staircase. This Johannesburg hidden gem is tucked away in a sleek glass box with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that open up onto the balcony overlooking the leafy Johannesburg suburbs. Brass poles, a predominantly black interior, and high-gloss panels make for a very glamorous evening out.
An anniversary, birthday or celebration.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Momo Kuro is no different from its other siblings in that it also delivers a flavour explosion. The attention to detail on the plates is fantastic and each plate takes the diner on a little adventure. This particular outlet focuses on tapas, bao and poké bowls, which is really fun for sharing. Plates are hearty – even the small plates are generously portioned and well-priced, so diners will feel rewarded.
Be sure to try to the Formoso calamari with mint, basil and ginger; the Siu Mai open dumplings; the crispy salmon ceviche tacos; the Szechuan prawn wontons; the pulled beef brisket; and the Peking duck.
The bao and poké bowls are larger meals, prepared with fresh ingredients. If there’s room after the delicious tapas, then the deep sea bao – packed full of fresh tempura prawns, QP mayo, pickled ginger, Sriracha, hoisin sauce, spring onion and coriander – is a must. The Mighty Duck is also a winner. There’s something to suit all palates.
After all the umami-packed main dishes, you may want to try a baklava bao or lemon yuzu tart to cleanse your palate.
Momo Kuro doesn’t have a liquor licence; however, diners are welcome to bring their own wine, beer or spirits free of charge. There’s a fabulous list of speciality teas on offer, well in line with wellness trends. There’s also a coffee station and a range of coconut waters and standard beverages on offer.
The service in this little restaurant is a letdown on this occasion. Attention to detail is lacking, and service staff are not well informed or attentive to diners.
Momo Kuro is quite literally hidden, taking underground dining to a new level. The physical address given doesn’t assist you in finding this secret little gem, either. When arriving, walk through the Keyes Art Mile, confirm with security personnel, climb the fire escape stairs then walk through a door to be presented with a magnificent view of Johannesburg and the back end of the bustling Marble restaurant. It;s quite a treat. In Japanese, the word momo translates to dumpling and kuro to black, and this is seen in the décor at the restaurant. The shop fitting is chic, clean and modern; well-suited to the artistic locale. The view over Rosebank is just sublime. The restaurant is incredibly loud, so don’t come here looking for a quiet date night or cosy get-together.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy.