Mojo menu preview: Piggin’ out in the legendary Leeds joint
It’s hard to believe that 2016 will mark Mojo’s twentieth year in business and how things have changed over the decades.
In 1996, Oasis and The Spice Girls were troubling the charts, only drug dealers had mobile phones (and a few ageing yuppies left over from the 80’s that hadn’t yet OD’d on cocaine, tofu and Sade’s greatest hits) and Twitter was just something birds did when you were trying to sleep off a big night out.
But here they are still, bold as brass, long after Liam and Noel fell out and Geri buggered off. Having played such a major part in Leeds’ ever-evolving night scene, however, it’s also difficult to believe they’ve only ventured into the fickle food industry fairly recently.
In keeping with their American rock n’ roll vibe, they’ve gone for a US inspired menu that’s as carefully put together as their playlist. Wings, burgers and sharers sit alongside a tempting range of milkshakes and desserts, but they have dared to try some bold and tried some unusual flavours which sets them apart from the competition.
I went along to a preview night to check out some of the highlights from their newly crafted offerings, taking along my boss as a plus one (review time is coming up you see). We arrived to hear The Doors blasting out and ordered some beers and cocktails to kick things off.
After necking our beers and having a chat with the staff, we were ushered over to our table, which we shared with Champagne Lifestyle writer Ellenor, Gabby from What She Buys and Deimante from Sunny Dei, plus their respective plus ones.
This could have been a bit of a nightmare, however thankfully nobody was a douchebag and it didn’t take long for the awkward small talk to turn to laughter and much juicier topics (mostly unrepeatable on a family site like this one of course).
Before long, larger than life Mojo director Mal was over to present the first tray of food, which was a platter of sharers. The Poppers (4.90) were darn tasty, consisting of spicy jalapeno’s and complimented well with Mojo’s very own No.1 hot sauce.
The beer-battered Pickles (3.00) divided opinion more, as gherkins are not for everyone, but I can eat them by the jar and so enjoyed them, especially dipped in the Louisiana Hot Sauce. The Quesadillas (which are completely new to the menu so not as yet priced) were top-notch and disappeared pretty sharpish.
The champion starter by far however was easily the wings, which arrived in three different styles; BBQ Piri Piri, Mojo Louisiana No.1 and PBJ – yes, peanut butter jelly.
I love hot wings, so enjoyed the lot, but the PBJ were definitely a stand-out, tasting a hell of a lot better than they ever deserved to. I couldn’t eat more than two or three, but fans of peanut butter ought to check these out.
Next up, it was time for the main event – the burgers. The Classic (6.90) is just as it sounds, a plain burger, but can be customised with a slice of Jack, Swiss or Blue cheese which is a nice touch. The patty was thick, juicy and packed with flavour, what more can you ask from a burger?
Now I would never in a million years order a Veggie burger as it’s not my religion (I’m a carnivorous atheist), but hats off to Mojo, as The Veggie (5.90), which consists of a beetroot and bean burger with garlic mushroom and tequila and lime sour cream, was delicious.
I still would never order one myself, but if a veggie friend was struggling to eat theirs, I’d wolf it down like a hungry dog, no sweat.
Despite now being fit to burst, Mal brought out a Mojo Brownie (4.00) for us to sample, along with a boozy cocktail which consisted of a shed load of cream.
The homemade brownie, which comes topped with vanilla ice-cream, had ginger in it and was so tasty. The cocktail on the other hand was way too creamy for my liking – perhaps swapping some of the cream for booze would make it just right. Or perhaps I’m just an alcoholic. Regardless, a brilliant night was had by all and numbers, Twitter handles and business cards were swapped.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Leeds burger scene is overcrowded, but I still believe there’s always room for anyone that can step up and give it a much needed twist. Mojo have done that with a small yet lovingly put together menu that is genuine as opposed to generic and their service is second-to-none.
There are a heck of a lot of big-players in the city who are doing really well despite selling overpriced, bog-standard burgers and this ain’t them. Mojo’s is a must-visit for the gluttonous food lovers of Leeds. I can’t wait to come back and try the Marmite chicken wings, so look out for another review coming up as I return as a mere pleb rather than an over privileged, freeloading blogger.
Mojo, 18 Merrion Street, Leeds, LS1 6PQ – mojobar.co.uk/leeds