Hidden away inside Stepney's The Maid Hotel is a perfectly balanced Asian fusion oasis.
Chef’s ‘kiss kiss’ at MOMODA by Krish
The usual pub smells and the sound of poker machines hit as you walk into The Maid Hotel, as friendly bar staff welcome CityMag and direct us to MOMODA by Krish through a hidden sliding door covered in pink swirls.
MOMODA by Krish
1 Magill Road, Stepney 5069
Wed—Sat: 12pm ’til 3pm, then 5pm ’til 11pm
“Momoda in Chinese means ‘kiss kiss’,” says Krish Dutt, executive chef of the Fahey Hotel Group, including MOMODA by Krish which opened in August.
“It’s a place where you can come in, bring your date and have an amazing experience over here. As soon as you enter, we try and look after you… we try and keep everything very small and intimate.”
Carefully curated by Krish himself, the menu has influences from all over Asia, mimicking the lessons learnt from his travels as a young chef breaking into the industry.
“[The] style of food I would say is heavily Asian dominant, but there’s no particular country or region that the food’s from — it’s a little bit of everything from my travels,” Krish says.
“So I couldn’t set my mind in having just one particular food.
“I kind of created my own little flavours where it’s kind of a little bit of everything.”
Krish says the most important aspect of his food is its balance, with a perfect mix of “sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter”.
“So people think bitterness shouldn’t work, but bitter balances the food out as well,” he says.
“If it’s not balanced, no one would enjoy it. I think for any dish for anyone to enjoy, you have to hit that sweet spot where it’s not too salty, or it’s not too sweet, or it’s not too sour.”
Krish explains this balance with the example of his personal favourite menu item: the open fire roasted eggplant which takes over 24 hours to create.
“I’ve got Korean chili and then I’ve got white miso in there as well — I’ve got lots of chili in there,” Krish explains, while CityMag drools.
“I see you salivating!” he says.
“It’s a long process to make the dish… no one else puts this much love in an eggplant… [we] have this special blend of chilli jam that I make, which takes me about eight to 10 hours to do pretty much just jam.
“It’s like sweet, sour, earthy flavours from the charcoal [which] is really well balanced. I pride myself on that dish, I’ll put it this way.”
Another menu favourite, and what has been most popular since MOMODA’s opening in August is the charcoal grilled pork ribs.
Topped with sweet saké glaze, crushed peanuts, ginger, green apple and kohlrabi slaw, the pork ribs are marinated overnight to create a juicy, sweet taste. The meat falls off the bone, and “refreshes the whole palate”.
“You’re salivating again!” Krish laughs.
The alcohol offering is again curated with house-infused Soju to purposely complement specific dishes on the menu.
“The Soju flights, they go really well with the spices that’s on the menu,” Krish says.
“Let’s say, for example, you have the pork rib dish, it’s matched really well [with the] green apple and plum Soju.”
“Apple goes really well with pork in any different cuisine… they always try and match sweets to the savoury flavour of pork.”
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His claim to fame was his head chef role for the Jordanian royal family, where he was able to practice different cuisines based on their preferences.
“If the family loved a particular dish in let’s say [Washington] D.C. in the States somewhere, and it’s a Michelin star restaurant, and if they really loved it, they want to have that dish at home,” Krish explains.
“They would send me [to] work in that restaurant for a couple of days, learn this one particular dish and bring it back for them.
“They really love their spicy food, so if they felt like eating nice spicy Szechuan food, I got a chance to go to China learn a little bit of Chinese food, all expenses paid, have a good time, obviously learn as much as I can — they’d hit me up with like cooking classes and everything and then come back.”
MOMODA by Krish is located at 1 Magill Road, Stepney and is open from 12pm until 3pm for lunch, then 5pm until 11pm for dinner.
Connect with MOMODA by Krish on Instagram for more.