Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Momo Station, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

There are a myriad of different varieties of dumplings available in Melbourne: pierogi and bread dumplings from central and eastern Europe, gnocchi from Italy, gyoza from Japan, ashak from Afghanistan and that's without even touching on Chinese style dumplings. I'm sure there must also be African and South American style dumplings out there somewhere, if I knew where to look.

I'd never tried momo before, but it was time to give these Himalayan staples a try. Momo Station is located in the Tivoli Arcade, a small arcade next to RMIT on Bourke Street. It offers a limited variety of cheap lunchtime meals aimed at the student end of the market but it was the momo Ms Counting her Calories, Snooze and myself were after. There are four different types of momo available prepared three different ways and we went with pan fried beef, steamed chicken and pork with chilli sauce.

Stand out was the chicken momo. These looked kind of like shao long bao, served with chilli and dhal dipping sauces and a small bowl of broth. Steamed bite sized dumplings with parcels of moist chicken inside, the meat seemed to be more strongly spiced and the skin thicker than with, say, dim sum style dumplings. The sort of food for Sherpas carrying heavy loads up the mountain or herding their yaks rather than nibbles for Cantonese ladies who lunch. The broth was delicate with the little globules of chicken fat on top adding to the flavour. Cheap, tasty and filling, popular around the table.

The other two dumplings were good but not as good. The pork momo came with the chilli, tomato and capsicum sauce ladled on top. While the sauce was good unfortunately its spiciness and the richness of the tomato drowned out the flavours of the pork. I also thought the extra moisture from the sauce rendered the dumplings a little mushy. I'd go back to try these dumplings again, but would go with the steamed variety.

I thought that somewhere in between were the pan fried beef dumplings. These came with the same sauces and broth as the chicken dumplings. To me the issue with these was the thickness of the dumpling skin and the way it soaked up some of the oil, resulting in a fairly heavy dumpling that seemed a little 'gluggy'. While still tasty and filling I'd like to try these steamed next time. In contrast these were Snooze's favourites, not finding them overly thick skinned or oily but with a nice slightly chewy texture.

Ms Counting Her Calories and myself both decided to sample the mango lassi. Weirdly, what Ms Counting disliked about it was exactly the reason I liked it. Often when you order this it has had so much sugar included that even a small sip can send you into major sugar overload. Rather than being overly sweet this lassi was slightly sour. I found it refreshing but Ms Counting wasn't a big fan.

Within its food court limitations Momo Station does pretty well. It's always interesting to try a new style of dumpling, and while these weren't perfect they did show promise with the chicken momos in particular being quite good. The staff were friendly, service was pretty quick and prices more than reasonable. For a food court even the seating was good: well lit, clean and I liked the eyes with mountains in the background motif. A good spot for a quick office lunch or bite to eat before a big night out.

Food - 7
Ambience - 6.5
Service - 7
Price - 7.5

Shop 25, Tivoli Arcade 235-251 Bourke Street
Melbourne CBD VIC 3000
Tel: 0431 052 014

Momo Station on Urbanspoon


Bureaucrat said...

the steamed and fried dumplings look really good! i like the idea of the broth with the dumplings.

Restaurant In Melbourne said...

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