Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I've found my Mogo

I'VE never been to tempted to holiday in the depths of the Congo.
The uncompromising humidity would be chaotic for my crease-free hair.
And there's no Selfridges or Starbucks.
However, I've just discovered the perfect solution, in the shape of a new east African restaurant in Touchwood, Solihull.
At Mogo Grill and Juice I can flirt with the jungle and tuck into African-inspired cuisine, without even breaking a sweat.
With its relaxed atmosphere, order-at-the-counter service and bottomless soft drinks, it's Nandos goes to Africa.
While colourful and jungle-inspired, it's interior felt a bit sparse and the boy and I both agreed it would benefit from some Africana artwork.
It's a tad on the Disney side, but the saving grace is the quality food.
The menu features lots of healthy griddled meat and fish (including a good selection of unusual seafood such as tilapia and basa), and then you chose from a selection of side dishes.
We started with a bowl of crunchy mogo chips. My knowledge of African fare is poor so it was interesting to find out that mogo is the Swahili word for cassava, a celebrated starchy root.
In this instance they'd been sliced finely and fried until crispy, and they came with a piquant tamarind dip. The restaurant also serves them as chunkier chips, dusted with paprika, which look incredible.
The boy opted for riverboat tilapia fillets, while I chose the chunky chicken canyon. Both were accompanied with our choice of chickpea and pimento rice, as well as salad and more mogo crisps.
The delicately cooked fish arrived with a sundried tomato dip, while my juicy chicken was complimented by more sticky tamarind sauce. We also ordered some Massai mango salsa which at 99p for a microscopic portion, seemed a bit steep.
In contrast our main course portions were good value at £7.95 and £4.95 respectively. While zesty with spice the dishes were so light and balanced we managed to polish off the lot.
Worth a mention was the cheeky calypso fruit smoothie, supped by the boy. It was packed with the taste of fresh cherries, and we both agreed it was one of the most delicious drinks we'd tried.
As we left the restaurant an eager waiter asked if we'd be returning. Indeed we would. Not only because I'd managed to leave Africa without a sunburned nose and frizzy hair, but also thanks to a voucher promising free mogo chips on my next visit! I'm a sucker for a freebie.
For more details visit the website www.mogogrill.com
Mogo Grill & Juice on Urbanspoon


Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow that seems like a place my husband's aunty would LOVE. We are always looking for places to take her when we visit. She grew up in Uganda so I bet this food is right up her alley. I have tried fried cassava (not as crisps, but more like potato pieces) before and its awesome. God, all these nice foods are becoming a problem for me! I don't want to spend even more time at the gym :(. I will definitely be bookmarking this restaurant as a place to visit. Thanks :D

Emily said...

Hello HH,
It's a great place to try. It's not grub that's gonna change the gastronomic world but it's well-cooked, tasty food that is good value for money. It was reminiscent of the food you might eat while on holiday which, for me, added to its appeal! Worth a try if you are in Touchwood sometime :)

Thinspired said...

"Nandos goes to Africa"--I love it! (And we love Nandos). This place sounds good. I'll have to check their website to see if they have locations in Bristol.

Emily said...

Hi Lara
Think you'd like it there, lots of delicious grilled fish and nice veggie options too. Puds looked good too! Worth a try!

Thinspired said...

The menu looks amazing but it seems like they only have one location?!

Emily said...

Yes, does look like it. I am sure it'll expand if it gets a good reputation. Or maybe you could bare it in mind if you are ever in this neck of the woods!

Phil Lowe said...

Great post, my fellow Year of The Monkey person.Your post made me smile as well as a tad hungry. Did you know that Rick Stein said that he would employ anybody at his restuarant who told him that they wanted to cook because they were always in a state of 'being hungry'. To him that is a sign of a good cook, apparently.

Emily said...

Is that right Phil? Well, I certainly qualify! I am ALWAYS starving. Mum says I have worms.