First of all, I’d like to apologise for the lack of photographs from my recent Mondo dining experience. Mondo has muted low lighting, most of the illumination in the restaurant (inside and out) comes from tea lights that adorn every table. Nice atmosphere, but not so great for picture taking. Especially bad when the only thing I have to work with is my iPhone camera. Three things I’d liked this Christmas (but have a 0% chance of getting):
1. A KitchenAid Artisan Mixer in the Limited Edition Candy Apple Red – the colour is absolutely gloriously, delicious;
2. A very good camera – one of those intimidating big ones, just so I can look intimidating and knowledgeable; and
3. Funnily enough, a bicycle, but mainly because my sister just got one, and I’ve suddenly convinced myself that I’ve always wanted to ride to pilates etc etc (I think of all the myriad of uses to justify wanting one).
I digress, my point is, I don’t have a camera and I need one, but that’s also my justification of not having any pictures from Mondo, it was dark and I didn’t have my iPhone or a camera. I know most of us eat with our eyes, so let’s just trust in the fact that Mondo is good.
The service is friendly, attentive, water comes unasked and the waitresses are knowledgeable. Love that. I’ve actually been to restaurants where you ask them for recommendations and they say, “I’ve never had anything on the menu…” or “I don’t eat fish.” in a seafood restaurant, so it’s great when they know what is great. Plus, I love getting recommendations from people.
There were two cocktail specials that night, an apple and basil and a sugared bourbon and mint – there were all these other fancy alcoholic ingredients, but I’m sorry to say I don’t remember. My friend ordered the apple and I ordered the one with sugar. The cocktails came and I took a sip of mine, and managed to convice my friend to swap with me, it was just too strong for me, I’m not the greatest drinker. The apple martini drink I ended up with was sweet, had a twist of tang and was delicious.
An amuse bouche came almost straight away, a cold cauliflower soup with walnut sourdough. The soup was rich with cauliflower flavour and was a cool contrast to the quite sour sourdough bread. It definitely whet my appetite.
I was excited to go to Mondo because they have just had a menu change. To start I ordered seared tin can bay scallops with crispy skin duck and a cauliflower and cabbage terrine. Made me very happy, scallops being one of my favourite seafood and duck being my favourite bird, the scallops were small but seared perfectly so it was sweet and tender in the middle, the duck were tender cubes with crisp skins – though it didn’t have the roast duck taste you get in Chinese crispy duck. The cauliflower and cabbage terrine was strong in cauliflower taste and the texture – a smooth custard. Delicious.
I love a crispy, tender pork belly, so I went for the crispy skin pork cutlet baby leeks, celeriac, pear, fennel and cider puree. I was a bit disappointed, I could not find any crispy skin on the pork at all, the cutlet was a generous size but a bit dry, the pear puree only tasted of pear and the celeriac over powered the dish. Definitely doesn’t come close to a pork belly.
For dessert, I was tossed between the raspberry souffle and the chocolate pudding, but based on the waitress’s recommendation, I went for the souffle, which came with vanilla cream and lemon myrtle sorbet. I was not disappointed, the souffle came, bursting out of its ceramic confines, was billowy, light and delicious. The raspberry cut through the sweetness whilst the black specked vanilla cream balanced the raspberry. The lemon myrtle sorbet was interesting, had that sort of eucalyptus oil fragrance about it. It was a rather high end to the meal.
My friend and I chatted for a while after that and I never felt that we were rushed and we weren’t constantly pestered to see if we needed anything else. At around 10, shot glasses of their espresso cocktail was passed around – friendly, subtle hint to leave? I did and I was happy and satisfied.