It’s not often that you’re greeted at the door of a restaurant by its owner, but that’s exactly what happened when we walked into Real Mo-Mo’s, a new-ish Toronto restaurant located near King and Yonge. Said owner was Monique Guffens, an industry veteran who managed two restaurants before finally realizing her dream and opening one of her own. Passionate not only about her job but about each and every customer who walks through the door, it was clear from the start that we were in for an enjoyable dining experience with the attentive Monique as our host.
The bright, modern decor of Real Mo-Mo’s is a nice mix of casual/formal, meaning various parts of the restaurant are decorated differently, with some being more suitable for a memorable, yet not overly fancy, dinner with a date, and other sections giving off more of a casual vibe, with photos from Monique’s travels lining the wall, adding a bit of a warm/friendly feel to the meal. And that’s exactly what the restaurant is going for, with Monique hoping to have it be a suitable location no matter what your needs are.
Upon choosing our table and being seated, Monique was with us in a timely fashion, reviewing the drink list and advising us on some of her specials. We settled on the Mo-Mo-Sa and Tequila Sangria (pictured above). The former of which is a delicious twist on a the mimosa with peach schnapps, sparkling wine and orange juice, and the latter being an extremely tasty sangria, complete with peach schnapps, tequila, red wine, juice and fruit. Both beverages were refreshing, popping with flavor and proved to be the perfect thing to ease us into our meal.
And speaking of the meal, the food here can best be described as an eclectic mix of dishes inspired by Monique’s background and places she’s lived and travelled throughout her life. It’s far from a typical menu, but it’s got character and verve, and Mo was more than happy to run us through it.
So, let’s get into some of the food that we got a chance to check out:
Digging into @RealMoMos’ fantastic kangaroo sliders – read all about them on the blog (link in bio)! 🍔: Down Under Sliders with Grilled Kangaroo, Caramelized Onions, Granny Smith Apple, Creamy Brie and Homemade Beetroot Jam on a Buttery Brioche Bun 📍: @RealMoMos 📷: @MattJo14 of @WeGotFoodCovered 🖥: Check out our full review of @RealMoMos online (link in bio)!
A photo posted by We Got Food Covered 🌭🍔🌮🍦🍟 (@wegotfoodcovered) on
Mo-Mo’s Tibetan Dumplings (crispy vegetable dumplings with mango chutney): We kicked things off with these small but oh so appetizing dumplings. Fried to perfection and really brought to life by the mango chutney on the side, they were light enough as to not fill us up but were the perfect amount food to get our appetites going for what was about to follow. The dumplings themselves didn’t do much to stand out from what you’d get at another establishment serving a similar dish, but they were packed with more than enough flavor to leave us wanting more.
Down Under Sliders (grilled kangaroo, caramelized onions, granny smith apple, creamy brie, homemade beet root jam on buttery brioche buns – pictured above): Our next appetizer was a bit more adventurous, as Monique highly suggested the Down Under Sliders, which are made from kangaroo meat. Having never tried kangaroo before, we weren’t sure what to expect. As it turns out though, these miniature yet scrumptious little pieces of meat ended up being the highlight of the entire meal. The apple and brie worked particularly well here, as paired with the distinct taste of the kangaroo meat, they made for an interesting concoction of flavors that had our tastebuds standing up with excitement.
Bison Burger (goat cheese, pickled red onions, mustard aioli, tomatoes served on a warm soft pretzel bun): Cooked perfectly and accompanied by your choice of side dish (we chose the Spicy Shrimp Skewer), the Bison Burger was a generous chunk of meat sandwiched in between a warm, soft pretzel bun – which is great for holding saucy, heavy burgers together. The slightly sweeter and lighter taste of the bison mixed well with the mustard aioli, and while I think a different cheese other than goat could have worked a bit better, it definitely didn’t hurt the burger. The pickled red onions were also a nice touch. For one, they’re a lot more interesting than raw onion, and they also gave the whole thing a sharper and more distinct bite.
Spicy Shrimp Skewer (in a garlic and sambal marinade): Though the shrimp themselves were slightly over-cooked, the marinade they were dressed in was absolutely delicious. With a bit of a kick and all the right flavors, they made for a great side dish and along with the sliders, were another highlight of the meal.
Pan seared Arctic Char (served with garlic marinated green Ontario asparagus, red baby potatoes tossed in green mojo (coriander based Spanish salsa)): To be completely honest, this dish left us fairly underwhelmed. The vegetables (especially the potatoes) were excellent, seasoned perfectly and cooked to just the right level. The Arctic Char, however, was a bit uninspired. Slightly dry and lacking any real flavor, it really could have used something to give it a bit more taste.
Sticky Date Pudding (Australian favorite with hot caramel sauce & vanilla ice cream): Highly recommended by Monique herself, this sweet and sticky treat was a great way to wrap up our meal. We weren’t particularly hungry after all that we’d eaten, but decided to give it a try after hearing how popular it was. Suffice to say, within minutes it was finished, with our forks furiously trying to scoop up all of the hot caramel sauce once the pudding itself had made its way into our stomachs. Immensely satisfying for anyone with a sweet tooth, the Sticky Date Pudding, while a bit on the small side, is certainly an enjoyable way to cap off your dinner.
While not everything we ate at Real Mo-Mo’s could be considered a home run, for a fairly new restaurant trying something a bit different and out of the ordinary with their menu, I can certainly say that it was, overall, a very enjoyable dining experience. Presentation on the dishes could have been slightly better and as I mentioned above, the Arctic Char, which was one of the night’s specials, was fairly disappointing, but again, none of this was a deal breaker.
It’s clear that Monique is incredibly hard working and passionate about fulfilling her dream of running a successful restaurant, and the friendliness and impeccable level of service she exhibits with all of her customers isn’t something you really see a lot in the Toronto restaurant scene these days.
Having only been in business since mid-April, Real Mo-Mo‘s does, indeed, have a few minor kinks to iron out as they continue to establish themselves as one of the city’s premiere dining spots, but as things stand, I’d still highly recommend stopping by some time for an eclectic mix of appetizing and inspired foods, all served with a smile and sense of warmth and friendliness by the wonderful Monique Guffens.