Mo is one of those places that you’ve probably seen somewhere before. Is it the black winding vines on the glossy menu? Is it the minimalistic, but chic interior design all bathed in black and purple. Is the comfy suede chairs? Or is it the young waiter who is placed in the middle of the tourist district next to the Bazilika who tries hard but fails to speak proper English to the guests? „Yes, wine is good, maybe you try red from Szekszárd. Nice place”.

We’ll never know what makes restaurants „in” nowadays, but I’m sure that designers should start thinking quick about how to make places unique and not uniform in the City. The place instantly reminded me of Baraka, Dió and Cyrano rolled into one. They all seem to be designed along the same or a very similar pattern, nevertheless comfortable, elegant and – although I loathe to admit it - I have to say stylish.

So there I sat waiting for my lunch partner and thinking whether I had made the right decision or whether I have fallen into the biggest tourist trap Budapest has ever seen. My worries were compounded by the fact that the waiter was actually pulling up his trousers when I arrived and then soon straightened his attire and came quickly to greet me. The whole restaurant was completely empty - a „photoshoot for an interior design magazine the previous night” our waiter quickly said excusing himself in the name of all the staff members nursing hangovers.

First I wondered whether the chefs also had a severe hangover but then came to the conclusion that all was well withe the minds and hands of the people working on our food. The cuisine is very similar to Dio, one street to the left on Sas u. Let’s just call it Reform-Hungarian. Take traditional Hungarian ingredients and recipes, give them an unconventional pairing and come up with something entirely new, maybe lighter, less fatty but still considered quasi-local. Nothing very elaborate came up on soup front apart from the plate. Our soups were a classic meat broth with veggies and an extremely rich mutton soup with cabbage and sour cream and paprika with a sour edge to it. However, the soup bowl came on a much larger flat plate, as if the dish required the guest to leave some of the chewed off bones, fish heads or large, annoying herbs on the side. But nothing like that was present our soups so we wondered what all the fuss was about. The plates were also placed with the bowl pretty far from our mouths and spoons so we had to turn the whole thing around.

Better luck with the main dishes said we .... and right we were. My rack of lamb with goat cheese fritters, plum jam and mákos guba was more than bizarre as it sounds it was actually really good. The meat wasn’t top standard – a bit chewy in some areas - and left on its own it probably wouldn’t have faired too well, but with the interesting sweet/cheesy/poppy pairing it was a pleasant surprise. My lunch partner, Master P, a highly respected representative of a beer company went for the real deal: the grey beefsteak (szürkemarka) with poppy-camambert and potato chips. He asked for a medium steak but got a pretty bloody deal of it. He didn’t complain though and gulped it all down in a flash – asking me to document that the dish was indeed pretty good.

Prices are what you would expect from a fancy restaurant located 3 mins walking distance from major hotels and 1 min walking distance from the Bazilika. Mains average about 3800 but sometimes reaching well into the 4500 arena while the starters are about 60% of mains. In total we left about 17 grand without any alcohol except for that lonely glass of wine. So be prepared with a hefty wallet. To sum it up I’ll be back, maybe with a crew of supermodels or on a major expense account spending spree. I’m still waiting for the place where substance overpowers style.

Mo Restaurant
Overall: 7/10

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