mojo by Luke Mangan, Waterloo

One of celebrity chef Luke Mangan’s newer ventures is the trendy wine and tapas bar called mojo, located at his new headquarters in the vibrant Danks Street area. mojo’s spacious warehouse setting gives it a much more laidback vibe compared to Luke Mangan’s sleek Glass Brasserie restaurant at the Hilton. The casual atmosphere is enhanced by the bright, playful and modern decorations which pay homage to the functional nature of the warehouse, with large wooden signs indicating the destination of the crates of Luke Mangan products hanging above the bar and a working test kitchen hidden up the back of the space too.

We head over to mojo to share an early lunch of tapas between us on a Saturday arvo and are excited to see that the menu features elements of fusion with Asian influences. It’s a hard job to narrow down the tapas for our order as everything sounds pretty tasty on the menu, but we get there eventually. We start with a Devilled Snow Crab on Garlic Toast each – it’s off the snacks menu and is sized accordingly. We both enjoy the tangy bite sized morsel of shredded crab meat mixed with mayonnaise, served on top of a crunchy square of toast. I can’t taste the supposed garlic on the toast, but it’s still delicious and is gone in a flash.

Devilled snow crab on garlic toast, $7 each

Next up we have the two buns presented on a wooden serving board – the tiny Lobster and Vietnamese Salad Bao Bun and a Steamed Bun with Tempura Prawn. Both are right on trend, with the Steamed Bun looking a lot like the prawn buns from Momofuku and Ippudo and the Lobster Bao Bun looking more like a slider. The Steamed Bun was a hit, with a pillowy soft foldover bao encasing a crunchy tempura prawn which was offset by a fresh sweet pineapple salsa. The Lobster Bao Bun was less impressive though – while I was intrigued by the crunchy exterior of the fried sweet bun and liked the chunks of juicy lobster with salad, there simply wasn’t enough of it to justify the price.

Lobster and Vietnamese salad bao bun, $16.50 each

Steamed bun with tempura prawn, pineapple $9.50 each

All that seafood was followed by some red meat in the form of Pork Belly Tacos, served in an adorable (and functional) ceramic taco holder to help the soft tortilla keep its shape. The melt in your mouth pork belly was sliced thinly so that it wasn’t overwhelming and complemented wonderfully by a tasty hoisin sauce and tangy pickled cucumber.

Pork belly taco, pickled cucumber, fresh herbs, $16 for 2

At this point we had received all of our initial order but we were still feeling like we had room for one more dish and so we ordered the Slow Cooked Duck and Mustard Fruit Cigars. The cigars looked like slender, longer versions of spring rolls but contained delicious stringy duck inside which had been cooked well. The tomato relish was a welcome addition to give the crispy cigars some extra tang.

Slow cooked duck and mustard fruit cigars with tomato relish $18 for 3

Overall, we enjoyed the chilled out ambience and fusion flavours at mojo which were well executed and top notch as expected from a Luke Mangan eatery. Apart from the lobster bun, most of the dishes are priced quite reasonably considering the premium that you would expect to pay at a celebrity chef’s eatery and overall it’s a lovely spot to relax at on the weekend for a lazy lunch.

Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of mojo by Luke Mangan

mojo by Luke Mangan
8-10 Danks Street, Waterloo NSW 2017
Ph: (02) 9002 5346

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