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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Momo bar

Momo is definitely the most authentic Moroccan bar I have been to outside of Morocco itself. I visited Marrakesh a few years ago, and was charmed by the relaxed manner and delicious teas... so was delighted to be introduced to Momo.

There is an instant aroma and atmosphere when you walk in. Bright lanterns hang sparkling from the ceiling, little holes in the walls contain mysterious relics and souvenirs from the country, and comfy pretty cushions are scattered on the seats. A popular venue with celebs this bar is always bustling and we were lucky to grab the last empty table. We were warmly welcomed by smiling faces and a loud rhythmic Moroccan soundtrack. The amazing music was infectious and small children were getting up to dance with the waitresses. It was lovely to watch and feel part of.

The restaurant and bar/cafe were started up by Parisian-Algerian restaurateur Mazouz who arrived in London in 1995 looking for somewhere that felt homely for him. Failing to find anywhere suitable he opened up Momo Restaurant on Heddon Street, which back then was a deserted alley behind Regent Street. Heddon Street is quite transformed now, with lively restaurants and bars in operation every night, my favourite restaurant Piccolinos is next to Momo.

Momo is renowned for its special mint tea and fabulous cocktails; we tried both. The tea comes in a polished silver teapot, steaming and poured into a special patterned glass. It is sweet and soothing, a perfect break from the cold. The cocktail I chose was just as exotic as the surroundings, with whole strawberries in it I’m sure I got one of my five a day.

If you are brave enough to sit on the heated outdoor terrace, you can use the shisha too. Melon and strawberry shisha can be smoked from the real ‘nagile’. I was excited to discover that much of the tearoom is available to purchase. Antique Maghrebi lanterns, tea sets, glassware, and even the music is for sale, so you can take a little bit of Momo away with you.

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