Celebrating the different tastes of the world along a short section of a northern city

MoMo’sFriargate, Preston

Sunday, 6th October 2013, 1:00 pm

While there are parts of Friargate still awaiting a breath of new life there is no doubt the Adelphi end is buzzing.

In recent years kitchens of all nations have opened up at the student stretch of the street and there are queues out of the doors of a lunchtime as they vie for custom.

The latest newcomer among the cuisines of the Caribbean and Far East is Momo’s boasting a wide variety of dishes rooted in the Mediterranean and Morocco.

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A cafe with an open kitchen, the lunchtime trade is divided between takeaway and those sitting in, which, judging by the desserts on tables, would appear to be a good decision.

With more than 70 meals on offer there is plenty to get the tasty buds dreaming from traditional starters (falafel and hummus) to less cosmopolitan (soup and garlic mushrooms) – to one that is neither north African or from the Med, New Zealand Mussels.

Our ambition was to put together a Moroccan feast and this was royally achieved with just the one starter, Chicken Liver Moroccana (£3.60).

It is easy to get chicken livers wrong, end up with liver-shaped erasers in gloop but these were perfect; tender, succulent meat in a well-spiced sauce, smothered in soft fried onions and a dark, rich, spicy sauce.

Good enough for a lunchtime meal on its own.

For the main spread we splurged on Kofta (£5), Lamb Chops (£5.90), Chicken Tagine (£6.50), Chicken Shawarma Wrap (£3.50) and Momo’s Special Salad (£3.40).

All – bar the salad – were freshly prepared in full view of the counter as chopped veg and meat simmered with a choice of spices sprinkled added here and there.

The lamb kofta was the stuff of which lunchtime dreams are made.

There were four largish balls of warmly spiced lamb smothered in caramelised onions and red peppers.

Cumin was the most obvious spice, but there was more than a hint of coriander seed to add to the taste sensation.

The dish came with generous portions of hummus and salad plus a warmed pitta bread to dip into the juices….delicious.

The chicken shawarma wrap sounded the most like takeaway fare but was more than that suggests.

Cooked with onions and enough spices to make it almost a light curry it was very tasty and a world away from the chicken wraps your average takeaway knocks up.

The lamb chops were thin Barnsley-chop style double loins and, despite the lack of depth, remained wonderfully juicy with a delicate kick.

But the olive-packed salad it was with took the deal to another dimension with each mouthful different to the last.

Momo’s special salad: feels like a healthy takeaway for once!

Lots of fresh veg – chunks of tomato, slices of courgette and finely chopped red onion on a bed of shredded crunchy lettuce – given a kick with a generous sprinkling of green chillies.

Topped off with a very more-ish spiced hummus and a pitta bread, makes a nice healthy-tasting lunch and tastes freshly-made.

No Moroccan feast would be complete without a tagine, and this delicious chicken version did not disappoint.

The chicken, cooked on the bone to maximise flavour, fell apart in the deep, velvety stew, rich with olives, herbs and spices.

The overwhelming flavour was that of ras el hanout, an exotic spice blend that translates as ‘head of the shop’ and is added at the end of cooking much like garam masala is added to Indian cooking.

The addition of coated potato wedges was, erm, novel but not unpleasant.

Momos is certainly a welcome, and original, addition to Preston’s already varied food scene.

The LEP newsdesk