The Danforth is a rather peculiar place. Rents are high, businesses are closing down, only nail salons pop up like mushrooms after a rainy day. So it is refreshing to see a restaurant like Momo Hut and Gardens try its luck in Greektown.
The restaurant itself is kept in a simple white style with beautiful tables made of natural wood slabs. You can see the open kitchen all the way in the back of the restaurant where a talented cook prepares your ordered dishes right before your eyes.
Momo Hut & Gardens features traditional Tibetan dishes with a focus on momos – dumplings. Personally I think dumplings are little pockets of heaven. And Momo Hut’s beef momos are so meaty and juicy, that they remind me of my all time favourites – xiaolongbao (soup dumplings).
Although it was a hot late summer day I opted to have bhoo cha – a traditional Tibetan salt butter tea. The owner explained to me in a friendly manner that it is something quite heavy that Tibetans use too keep their energy levels up during winter months, but I wanted to try it anyway. I should have listened, I could have just had that tea for lunch. It reminded me of a remedy my grandmother used to force on me when I was having a cold – hot milk with butter and garlic (sounds terrible but it is in fact delicious, you should try it if you feel under the weather, before going to bed).
As for our momos my friend and I chose three varieties – beef momo, pork momo and tsampa momo (roasted barley, butter, sugar). The savoury momos come with a side of soup and salad. The simplicity of the salad is oddly surprising, since it is just some cut up cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and onions on a plate. The broth served with the momos doesn’t have much flavour to it and can be a substitute for a tea or other hot beverage. But it reassures me that there is no surplus of salt or any other flavour enhancers in it.
If you like your dumplings spicy Momo Hut has got you covered. They make their hot sauce in house and it is ridiculously delicious. You can mix it together with a little soy sauce, dip your momo and sit back and enjoy.
The tsampa momo was not overly sweet and the filling inside was a dry paste made out of the three ingredients. I dared to put a little but of their home made hot sauce and a bit of soy sauce on (I assume that’s not how they do it but what the hell, I’m all about umami) and the dumplings got a wonderful sweet salty spicy flavour. My mouth is watering even thinking about it.
After ordering a total of 20 momos and one beverage the bill came up to $27.63. A lunch that good for $14? Incredible. I hope Momo Hut & Gardens is here to stay.