Not being one to bypass a ‘foodie’ bargain, I’m sure like most people when a 6 course tasting menu offer at Mojo The Foodbar pops up in your inbox, you just know you are going to have to take advantage! Having wanted to visit for a while, the speed at which I moved to snap the offer up would have rivaled that of Usain Bolt off the blocks!
Situated in Newport on Clarence Place, it certainly stands out in the area, primarily because there aren’t too many fine dining restaurants in the locality; but also for being in a slightly odd location, which doesn’t quite reflect the ambience it portrays. From the outside of the building, it’s clear that Mojo has a distinctive and up market style, which certainly continues when you enter the restaurant. To say that I was impressed would have been an understatement. The restaurant is well laid out, and a lot of thought has obviously been put into the contemporary furnishings that complement the feel of the dining experience. The staff are very welcoming, and the atmosphere is that of relaxed, fine dining; certainly attracting a varied audience when we visited.
A range of menus are available from afternoon tea at £22 per person, to à la carte and a 6 course Tasting Menu priced at £50 per person (£75 with wine pairing)…so when I said I had a bargain – at £45 for two people for 6 courses and a glass of prosecco – I wasn’t joking!
The meal kicked off with a pre-starter of celeriac soup, which if I am being completely honest had it gone on to set the tone for the rest of the meal, I would have stopped writing now and told you just to go. A beautiful and creamy soup, it was delicious, and if I had been dining alone (and in my house), I would have jumped right in and licked the cup! At this point, I was really excited to see what came next…
20 minutes later…we were presented with a starter of confit of duck. While the duck was a touch on the dry side, the cucumber and slightly pickled carrots brought the dish together. Nevertheless, the dishes that followed came in good succession. And albeit while the pasta on the crayfish ravioli was a little thick and the pork belly was again a touch over done, they were both pleasant dishes.
However, I will say that even for a Tasting Menu the portion sizes were a little bit too small; and from me, that’s saying something, because I get full quickly. As a main course, the pork belly dish was just too small, and we did have a giggle at the lonely slice of carrot on the plate (henceforth referred to as ‘The Chosen One’ during the evening!). The chocolate tart was rich and delicious, but disappeared with two mouthfuls, so I will always be thankful for the beautiful goats cheese, brie and quince jelly with biscuits at the end – it did save me raiding the crisp cupboard when I got home!
Prior to visiting Mojo, I had heard fantastic things about their cocktail menu and naturally I felt it was important to experience it first hand. Basically, they said there was a lot of gin on the menu and I really didn’t need convincing any further! On request of the menu, we were presented with a small book, the first few pages of which went into great detail on ice (I’ll come back to that one), a history of gin and an essential guide to drinking it. I’m not quite sure I really needed the guide, but by now I was ready to bring on the gin! Half an hour later…ok it wasn’t quite that long, but I really couldn’t make a decision, we opted for a Bitter Sweet Symphony and Chocolate Negroni.
Bitter Sweet Symphony | Plymouth Original Gin, saffron infused Aperol, lemon juice, pink grapefruit & sugar syrup, citrus tincture mist
Chocolate Negroni | Plymouth Gin stirred with coffee bean infused Punt e Mes and Campari, served over a block of ice and finished with an orange twist and grated dark chocolate
Priced at £9 and £10 respectively, they weren’t cheap. However both packed a punch of alcohol and tasted amazing. You seriously could taste each of the individual ingredients and I was very impressed…with one exception…yes I’m going back to that ice. As explanations go, the one offered on the cocktail menu at Mojo in regards to the use of ice blocks, is very ‘thorough’ (a nice way of putting ‘too much!’). Quite frankly, when you get a block of ice in your drink to rival that of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, I kind of thought it was a tad OTT! It also mentions about Newton’s 3rd law of thermodynamics and states “that the colder you make something, the longer it will stay that temperature.” Based on the seemingly very complicated 3rd law of thermodynamics in regards to absolute zero, this didn’t seem quite correct; that and the fact that it wasn’t Newton’s law but attributed to Walther Nernst…still when it comes to Marketing, I’m all for a bit of artistic license ha ha!
- Having previously resided in Newport, Mojo makes a very welcome addition to the City Centre and I would consider it to be a stand out restaurant to experience in the local area.
- A warm welcome and great customer service was received from all members of the team throughout the evening.
- While it probably goes against industry practice, I liked that Mojo didn’t try to up-sell on alcohol following purchasing a offer. Personally I spent more because I didn’t get a wine or cocktail menu shoved in front of my face on arrival.
- A superb cocktail list – and I would love to just sit in Mojo and work my way through it. I wouldn’t get up again…but I would be very happy!
Would I go again?
In conclusion, for the dishes we received at Mojo and for the price paid I will still say it was a bargain. However, if I had paid £100 for 2 people and received the same dishes, I would have been a little disappointed. I do wonder whether it is a touch overpriced in its locality. Nevertheless, I loved the restaurant, and the food I received was good. I will go again, as purely based on other diner’s dishes from the à la carte menu, it looked fantastic.
Would I recommend Mojo The FoodBar?
Yes definitely – with a few minor tweaks I think this restaurant could be very special in the area. There are only a handful of fine dining restaurants in Newport, and based purely on my visit, I would consider Mojo is almost up there with them.
The restaurant is open from Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and evening services. Mojo also makes a point on their website in regards to only welcoming young diners aged 16 years and over for lunch and dinner…fine by me – on this occasion it was nice to leave the crayons and dot to dot at home!
Address | 1 Clarence House, Clarence Place, Newport, NP19 7AA
Web | www.mojothefoodbar.com