Did you ever hear that one where an actor, a banker and a barber walk into the barber’s shop and turn it into a Nepalese dumpling house? Here goes.
Husband and wife duo Damien and Archana Dellala (he, a digital marketer for the bank, and she, a singer/actor/dancer) have teamed up with former barber Simon Terry to open Momo Bar, an alfresco restaurant serving momos and poké bowls in Manly—we’ll just let all of that deliciousness sink in.
ICYMI momos are highly addictive steamed dumplings from Nepal and the team here know a thing or two about what makes a great one. Following a couple of short-term pop-ups that resulted in a cult-like following amongst hungry locals, the next logical step was to set up a permanent home. That’s where ye ol’ barbershop we mentioned earlier comes in.
The momos come with your filling of choice—pork, lamb or chicken—and for the vegetarians, lentil or mixed veg. We opted for our vegetable momos to be served the traditional Nepalese way, in a light broth with a side of achaar, an equally as addictive dipping sauce of tomato, chilli and sesame.
The momos themselves are pleated half-moon treasures, enclosing a shredded mix of carrot, cabbage, coriander and onion. It’s comfort food for winter, without the season’s stodginess.
The lamb momos are equally incredible. We had those bad boys served “Manly style”, that is, in a chicken broth with mint yoghurt and paprika butter. It’s a richer, denser bowl of flavour that won’t bog you down. And I could eat those super-silky momo wrappers just as they are, naked of filling, with just a splash of that luscious paprika butter. Heaven.
Those on a health kick (why?) can hit up Momo Bar’s poké bowls, too. Be warned—each bowl is a generous service of sashimi and salady goodness. If you’re stuck for choice, go for the Volcano Bowl with pop-in-your-mouth fish roe and wasabi peas.
But it’s more momos that the punters really want. The kitchen pumps out 5,000 momos a day (we weren’t kidding when we said they were addictive), with staff working in two shifts to keep up the dumpling-pleating power. On an otherwise quiet Tuesday night in Manly, there’s a constant stream of diners coming and going from Momo Bar’s outdoor tables. Damien and Simon float from table to table, easily chatting with locals.
For this actor/banker/barber trio, there ain’t no punchline, just a whole lot of excellent dumplings vibes and local good times. Get to know their momos.
Did you know breakfast gnocchi is a thing?
Image credit: Caitlin Hicks