SEARCH:  
Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Friday 10th June 2005

Momo


It's always a sign that a restaurant or nightclub has really lodged itself in people's hearts when a phantom "S" is added to its name. For instance, I've never heard J Sheekey referred to as anything other than "Sheekey's", just as Tramp will always be "Tramps". Similarly, Momo, which is both a restaurant and a nightclub, is known throughout the great cities of the Western world, where it's cosmopolitan customers hail from, as "Momo's". Ostensibly, this is a reference to the nickname of Mourad Mazouz, its North African owner, but then, he also owns--or part-owns--Sketch and no one calls that "Momo's". Indeed, few of the customers at either restaurant/nightclub can possibly know his name. As elsewhere, the phantom "S" at this West End perennial is a tribute to how much it is loved.

It's not hard to work out why. Its combination of French and North African influences combine to create a memorable cultural hybrid--a little slice of Marrakech, via Paris, in the centre of London. When my wife and I arrived at about 10.15pm on a Wednesday night we'd just missed the belly dancers, but, fortunately, almost every woman in the place had a bare midriff. With its ultrasoft lighting and hypnotic, drug-fuelled music, Momo's is a reminder that not every country in the Middle East is in the grip of religious fanatics. On the contrary, it looks like a harem designed for a rich rug merchant. On my way to the loo I mistakenly opened a door that led to the kitchen, but I wouldn't have been surprised to see a roomful of pashas lounging on throw cushions and smoking opium.

Momo enjoyed a fairly lengthy period in which it was considered the most fashionable restaurant/nightclub in London and Hollywood celebrities, who haven't a clue where the latest hot places are, often show up when they're in town. Last month, for instance, Sharon Stone threw an impromptu birthday party for her mother at Momo's. But judging from the evening I spent there, most of its customers are young American businessmen who've been told by the concierges of their hotels that it's is still a good place to pick up models.

Given that the food is never going to be the main attraction in places like this, it was surprisingly good. Caroline and I only had time for one course each--we'd promised the babysitter we'd be back by Midnight--so she had warm mozzarella salad, while I had chicken tagine. Mine was accompanied by a huge bowl of couscous and, after shoveling a spoonful into her mouth, Caroline declared that it was a good deal better than the 'Pot Noodle' version I make at home (just add hot water). The chicken, which had been marinated for six hours, was excellent, while my wife's deep fried mozzarella balls were refreshingly grease free.

The really impressive thing about Momo's is that, for all its trendy cache, it's not guilty of resting on its laurels. Compare the food here, for instance, to that available at Langan's Brasserie round the corner. The staff have that spring in their step that is the hallmark of a well-run restaurant and the service was friendly and efficient. Ultimately, this it a tribute to Mourad Mazouz, a hands-on proprietor if ever I saw one. He often bangs on about how both Momo and Sketch are a labour of love--monuments to his pursuit of perfection, rather than commercial ventures--and, irritating though this is, the proof is in the pudding.

Whatever your opinion of these expensive, over-designed emporia, there's no denying that they add to London's allure. When fashionable young Parisians hop on the Eurostar to spend the weekend in London it's so they can come to places like this. I don't much care for these popinjays, and I'm not much of a fan of Momo's or Sketch, to tell the truth, but I am proud of the fact that London is the capital of Europe and it's thanks to the vision and hard work of men like Mourad Mazouz that this remains the case.

[ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share





Twitter RT @JoJohnsonUK: It's time to debunk the myth surrounding two-year degrees link  (6 hours ago)

BEST OF THE WEB

The Warlock Hunt by Claire Berlinski - the-american-interest.com
Is classical liberalism conservative? by Yarom Hazony - jerusalemletters.com
The Implosion of Western Liberalism by Patrick Lee Miller - quillette.com
The Eton of the East End - Daily Mail
The reactionary temptation by Andrew Sullivan - nymag.com
The book that scandalised New York intellectuals by Louis Menand - newyorker.com
To understand Britain today, look to the 17th Century by Adrian Wooldridge - economist.com
The crisis in France by Christopher Caldwell - city-journal.org
A Visit to Michaela School by Patrick Alexander - prospectmagazine.co.uk
Why parenting may not matter by Brian Boutwell - quillette.com
Trump Establishment's Cultural Significance Explained by Michael Wolff - newsweek.com
Branching histories of the 2016 referendum by Dominic Cummings - dominiccummings.wordpress.com
Putin's Real Long Game by Molly K McKew - politico.com
The Flight 93 Election by Publius Decius Mus - claremont.org
How the education gap is tearing politics apart by David Runciman - theguardian.com
What's wrong with identity politics by Graeme Archer - conservativehome.com
Grammars and the grain of truth by Jonathan Porter
Anti-Brexit: Britain's new class war by John O'Sullivan - nationalreview.com
The English Revolt by Robert Tombs - newstatesman.com
Democracies end when they are too democratic by Andrew Sullivan - nymag.com
Human beings really are making progress by Steven Pinker - edge.org
What ISIS really wants by Graeme Wood - theatlantic.com
A society ripe for Submission by Douglas Murray - quadrant.org.au
Beware the soft Stalinists of the campus by David Aaronovitch - thetimes.co.uk
Why I'm a Conservative Teacher by Jonathan Porter - conservativeteachers.com
Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth – He wanted the IRA to win - youtu.be
Corbyn's first seven days - theguardian.com
Corbin's cabinet chaos by Darren McCaffrey - news.sky.com
Why I've become Tory scum by Tony Parsons - gq-magazine.co.uk
Inside Westminster's free school - telegraph.co.uk
Jeremy Corbyn's politics are a fantasy – just like Alice in Wonderland by Tony Blair - theguardian.com
Robert Conquest obit - telegraph.co.uk
Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite – it's so much worse than that - news.stv.tv
In defence of free schools by Toby Young - standpointmag.co.uk
 

BLOGROLL

Andrew Lilico
Andrew Neil
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Normblog
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Slate
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone
 

COLUMNISTS

AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
 
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on Amazon.co.uk

  • Buy the book on Amazon.com


  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on Amazon.co.uk

  • Buy the book on Amazon.com


  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from Amazon.co.uk

  • Buy the DVD from Amazon.com


  • IMdb Page on the film