Mark Ludmon visits Mint Group’s new bar and restaurant fusing Latin and Japanese flavours
From the food and drink through to the design and music, Mint Group’s new bar and restaurant Mommi in Clapham, south London, harmoniously blends a rich diversity of cultures. Not only is it a fusion of South American and Japanese flavours but it takes influences from the vibrancy of Miami and the funky eclecticism of Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
The stunning interiors are by US-based Mister Important Design whose projects include the glamorous W hotel in San Diego, restaurant Gitane in San Francisco and the Hard Rock Hotel in Palm Springs. With Yorkshire-based Andy Thornton Contracts, they have created a vibrant, urban concept, combining natural oak, steel, marble, exposed brickwork, leather and a vibrantly coloured wall art including a mural by Melbourne street artist Rone.
The dining area, with six semi-circular leather-upholstered booths and a 12-seater marble-top table, adjoins a large open kitchen, presided over by executive chef Paul Sowden. Guests are recommended to choose food tapas-style from three sections of dishes that mix South American and Japanese cuisines. The raw bar offers chirashi sushi, sashimi and tataki alongside Peruvian-style ceviche while the robata grill serves up a moreish chicken teriyaki with grilled spring onions, lemon zest and quinoa lime picante or smoked beef fillet with yuzu soy onions, coriander cress and garlic chips. The “Hot Kitchen” list features tasty dishes such as crispy pork bites with roast sweet potato and habanero chilli ponzu.
For dessert, options include a Peruvian chocolate and dulce de leche mousse with crispy honey quinoa and churros, or the Japanese-style mochi ice cream – cased in rice shells – served with seasonal fruits and yuzu syrup. Mommi also offers brunch at weekends.
Ingredients from South America and Japan come together in the cocktails, created by head mixologist Andrew Houliston, which are available in both the restaurant and bar area. Priced at £8.50, highlights include the Bambalan, a delicious mix of pisco, Campari, pineapple, red grapefruit and lime, alongside simpler serves such as the Sake-Inha – sake, lime and sugar. With its Latin American influences, Mommi champions the Pisco Sour, offering three variants with infusions: plum and blood orange, green tea and camomile, or guava and pineapple.
The wine selection features bins from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, all priced at £6 for a small glass, £8.50 for a large, or £25 a bottle. Alongside spirits and sakes, the beers range from South American brews Quilmes and Cusquena to Hitachino Pale Ale, Kagua Blanc and Sapporo from Japan, with Kirin available on draught alongside Neck Oil IPA from London’s Beavertown Brewery.
The experience is completed by the music, led by cool Latin beats, with DJs on Fridays and Saturdays until Mommi closes at 2am. You can even continue the party at home with the WeAreMommi playlist on Spotify. It all adds up to an exciting new food and drink destination on Clapham High Street’s busy strip of bars and restaurants.
Mommi, 44-48 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UR
Tel: 020 3814 1818
Behind the scenes
Design: Mister Important Design
Contractor: Andy Thornton Contracts
Originally published in the October 2015 print edition of Bar magazine.