There are annoying things about any job. For a DJs it’s getting songs stuck in your head you can’t shake. For a stylist it could be that pair of boots you can’t stop thinking about. For a professional foodie one of the hardest things is when a dish rocks your tastebuds in such a way you begin obsessing about your next ‘hit’. I’ve found a new drug in the form of a steamed bun with tempura prawn, pineapple salsa and chipotle aioli. My dealer is Luke Mangan and like most men who create addictive vices you’ll find his ‘lab’ tucked away in an obscure building. Well played Mangan, I am addicted.
The newly opened Mojo Wine bar is on Dank Street, Waterloo in Mangan’s new ‘Headquarters’. Enter through a garage roller door and into a New York style warehouse with polished concrete floors, industrial light fittings and stripped back, exposed brick walls. Metal cages and wooden crates are stacked one on top of another with different shipping locations branded into the wood. Keeping with the theme of recycled materials a converted shipping container is now a cool room covered in graffiti.
At the rear of the wine bar is an open plan, test and development kitchen for Mangan’s numerous national and international restaurants, P&O Cruise Ship Restaurants, Salt Grill and for his work as consulting chef for Virgin Australia. Adjacent to The Test Kitchen is a large function area.
Yellow Bentwood chairs create small clusters for diners to gather in the wine bar but for me, the best seat in the house is at the bar. Let the sommelier guide you through the wine list and begin placing your order. There is much to try. The portions are small with the opportunity to build your own mini degustation. Highlights for me are the steamed bun with tempura prawn, I’ve already mentioned. For this dish alone I’m going back. The Lobster & Vietnamese salad, bao bun is another ‘must-try’ dish.
It’s not the sort of place you would take a hungry rugby player. They might balk at the price to portion ration. It’s perfect for a casual catch up over great wine and food made with fresh ingredients and presented in a unique, thoughtful way. Below is everything I tried on the night I visited Mojo Wine Bar. Avoid scrolling down at 3pm when hunger strikes.Mojo Wine Bar 8-10 Dank Street, Waterloo Wednesday & Thursday 4pm to late
Friday & Saturday 11am to late Sunday 11am-3pm No bookings, walk ins welcome