Dining / Yummy Chinese street food with affection

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A Penang Curry cocktail… with tamarind, curry leaves, vodka, Aperol and Malibu. Photo by Wendy Johnson

KISS-kiss. It’s what Momoda means, in a slangy kind of way.

Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson.

This new eatery is all about affection, especially affection for casual-but-yum Chinese street food. First, let’s set the scene. Momoda is a sister establishment to fine-dining Wild Duck, Kingston Foreshore, but the personalities of the siblings are radically different.

The food is equally delicious at both establishments, but Momoda is a hyper-energised teenager daring to be different. As a Chinese eating house and bar, Momoda embraces unconventional approaches to absolutely everything it does.

The cocktails ($18) take you on a liquid adventure. Some offer plenty of kick, like the Spicy Angel with Szechuan vodka, chilli, Chinese rice wine and lime, and the Penang Curry with tamarind, curry leaves, vodka, Aperol and Malibu. Get ready is all I have to say…

Sharing dishes is the way to go, although we passed by the odd-sounding double cheeseburger dumplings. Perhaps another cocktail was first required.

Mongolian kangaroo spring rolls… stuffed with meat, veggies, herbs and spices, all beautifully offset with the fresh ginger salad. Photo by Wendy Johnson

From the “small” section of the menu, we highly recommend the Mongolian kangaroo spring rolls ($9), which were super stuffed with meat, veggies, herbs and spices, all beautifully offset with the fresh ginger salad.

Lemongrass cured salmon..super subtle. Photo by Wendy Johnson

The lemongrass cured salmon is super subtle. The salmon was creamy on the palette and the dish lifted a notch or two with green apple and soy sago ($15). It was lovely but too subtle (for our liking).

The dragon-cut cucumber salad, with strawberry and bocconcini ($8) is a pleasing combo of flavours with an unusual texture (for some, anyway).

Last we munched on crunchy Taiwanese chicken wings with salty egg yolk and hundred spicy salt ($12), which we found as divine as the roo rolls. Indeed, both dishes are must tries.

Special fried rice… prepared with Chinese fermented olive, snake bean, shitake mushroom and sweet corn Photo by Wendy Johnson

A highlight from the “share” section is the fried rice ($17) – another unusual combo of flavours but featuring ingredients that work together exceptionally well. The rice is prepared with Chinese fermented olive, snake bean, shitake mushroom and sweet corn. It comes with a fried egg on top decorated with salty fish roe.

Momoda’s décor is quirky. Well-worn bikes hang on the wall, well-travelled, vintage-style suitcases pop up here and there, and a fabulous wall of hanging red lanterns greets diners near the entrance.

A couple of service issues need refining. Two sauces were whisked away even though we hadn’t finished with them. Although it might be the service style, we would have preferred a more sensible pace to the serving of dishes, so the hot ones weren’t stone cold by the time we got to them.

Momoda, 39-47 Northbourne Avenue, Civic. Open Monday to Wednesday, noon-10pm; Thursday to Saturday, 10am-midnight. Call 6262 9814.

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Wendy Johnson
Wendy Johnson: Food reviewer for Canberra CityNews magazine since 2004, covering stories for true foodies to digest.

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