(photo credit: courtesy)
An extensive online search for the origin of the name Mojo produced many different options. The one chosen by the young owners of Tel Aviv’s Mojo – Street Kitchen is Asian, meaning “energy of life.” And their newly opened restaurant definitely has good energy.
Following their success in Netanya, the three owners of Mojo, all in their late 20s, decided to open a smaller place in the heart of Tel Aviv, and it looks as if they are doing just fine. Mojo offers a mixed Asian menu that covers many cuisines, from Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese to Indian, with traditional dishes many of which were modified by chef Oren Goldwasser to suit the local palate.
We decided to sit at the bar, overlooking the open kitchen, where five Chinese cooks were busy preparing orders and looking back at us. The attentive barman suggested that we taste the house cocktails. “They’re excellent,” he said, so we tried two and then one more and decided to come back and taste them all. Yes, they were very good, and we were happy we live within walking distance. My companion tasted the La Cross, a whiskey-based cocktail with saffron liqueur and pear juice (NIS 42) that was very refreshing. For me, the barman suggested a ladies’ cocktail. I am not usually a fan of what are known as “ladies’ drinks” (sweet and intoxicating) but agreed to taste this one, which was based on lychee liqueur with vodka and pomegranate juice (NIS 38). It was good and very pretty, but a little sweet for my taste.
All the dishes on the menu sounded good, but we were in the mood for
Thai/Vietnamese, so we decided to go for the ban-ban chicken salad (NIS
32), which is basically a green salad made from very fresh lettuce
hearts, cucumbers and chicken. The difference is in the dressing, which
was basic but very precise – made from soy, sesame, ginger and garlic
and sprinkled with peanuts and fresh coriander. The other starter we
took was a dish of chicken sate (skewers) in curry sauce with mint (NIS
28). Both were very tasty – simple but well prepared.
cocktails were finished and after another starter, the dim sum deli (NIS
28) – Asian dumplings filled with ground lean beef that was stir-fried
with vegetables – I decided to try another cocktail.
Again I let
the barman convince me, and the second cocktail, Mojo rising, was my
favorite. It is made from crushed fresh coriander, spicy chili liqueur
and pear schnapps. It may sound strange, but it is very good. The tastes
complement each other and are perfect with Asian cuisine.
dish of fried calamari rings (NIS 38) landed in front of us. Apparently
the hostess decided we just had to taste it, and she was right. It is a
very generous plate of crispy and fresh calamari rings, one of the best
we have tasted in Israel. We were almost sorry we had ordered a Pad
Thai; but when it arrived, we decided it was a safe but good choice.
dish that was served was the Mojo sushi, which was good but not
excellent. We are very picky about our sushi and felt that it was
Chef Goldwasser wants to bring local foodies the
Asian tastes they love, such as sushi and Pad Thai and add less familiar
dishes such as Asian hamburger with soy-Dijon sauce, Ban Mai sandwich
and other fun dishes that mix various cuisines to create a new one.
seems to have become an obligatory part of every menu in local
restaurants these days. I guess they go where the clientele takes them,
but I feel that sushi should be left to those who are masters in the art
of preparing it. Here there is a rather large selection, but we thought
that although it was good, the strength of the place is the Thai and
Vietnamese dishes (we didn’t really taste the Indian ones), and that’s
more than enough.
Mojo offers business lunches between 12 and 5
p.m. for NIS 44-70 and children’s menu with Ninja schnitzel and Samurai
hot dog for NIS 35 plus a small gift.
Definitely a place to come back to for a quick lunch or an easygoing supper.The writer was a guest of the restaurant Mojo
– Street Kitchen, 86 Hahashmonaim St., Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 635-7777