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Putting the mojo back in the menu

10 August 2015
Putting the mojo back in the menu
Mojo: To many it may be unfamiliar in daylight hours, and on a particularly sunny Thursday, the brightly lit interior with its vibrant band posters and sun-lit booths looked fairly estranged from the sultry dive bar that I have come to know and love. But Mojo is venturing into daylight hours with their menu revamp.

They have enlisted the culinary know-how from expert Anthony Flinn (owner of what was The Piazza, the absence of which has since left a rather forlorn, gaping hole in the Corn Exchange) and food and drink consultant at Darkside Consultants. Flinn’s professional input has ensured Mojo still retain their particular brand of rock n’ roll naughtiness within the food, rather than bleaching their personality out with fiddly dishes. It is, however, all freshly prepared in house, and carries a certain coherence with it, incorporating smoky, sticky, spicy elements across its appetisers, mains, desserts and drinks which we started off with a Mezcal tequila and pineapple cocktail. The smokiness proved quite marmite with some of the diners but after a few sips, I decided it pleasantly cut through the sweetness of the pineapple, and proceeded to enjoy it along with a provisional snack of spiced popcorn. The heady blend is concocted by Mojo as their kind of ‘house spice’ and is incorporated throughout several dishes, featuring the slightly implacable Bay spice. We were handed this ‘voodoo dust’ in mini baggies at the end of the night, along with some incredible hot sauce which we were keenly instructed was served best with scrambled eggs.

Mojo apetiser article

Appetisers followed via various titbits that would make perfect bar snacks, for those who had mainly drinks in mind. Dill pickles in a light batter were crisp then juicy, and the mac and cheese balls were rolled in a fab Ritz cracker gratin; the perfect blend of posh and, well, not so poshwhich were both delicious, alongside some fairly standard quesadillas, complete with sweetcorn and black beans. These came with a cheeky tequila lime dip. (We were warned that tequila-intolerence isn’t recognised at Mojo.)

Mojo Main article

The main event for me was Mojo’s famed wings. Not just smoked, or just baked, or just fried but in fact all three of these elements are incorporated to achieve the perfect combination of crispy, sticky and juicy wings. We were presented with a diverse little selection including the beautifully textured dry fried ‘Louisiana No 1’ which is served with the aforementioned hot sauce, ‘Louisiana No 2’, a sweeter, stickier version involving agave syrup and lime juice and the insanely, gooey, chewy, salty, sweet goodness that comes from slapping a good load of PBJ (peanut Butter and Jelly/Jam) on a wing. These were also interjected with mention of the ‘Mad Dog Challenge’. Dare if they might , competitors are challenged to quaff down five eye-wateringly hot wings in five minutes without drinking water, leaving the table before wiping their mouths. The challenge comes with a disclaimer to sign, so cocky wing fans be warned! We also sampled an interesting take on a pulled pork burger, which rather than sloppy and sweet, as is par for the course in the street food world, the pork is fried with a West Indian spice and is perhaps more shredded than pulled, a pretty unusual and tasty take on the trend. A nice little addition were the jalapeno poppers sitting underneath the brioche bun lid. They also serve a bean and garlic Portobello mushroom burger to satisfy the less carnivorous.

Mojo dessert article

Rounding off the feast came a sample from the dessert menu. A ‘rum and ginger’ brownie was served with a slightly safer yet pleasantly creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream. The stem ginger, which you could see in small chunks within the brownie, pervaded the flavour more obviously than the rum, but perhaps the ‘hard’ bourbon and maple syrup milkshake that accompanied it blinded my taste buds. Hard pressed to pick a favourite, the shake was thick without being sickly, with a detectable but not in your face spike of alcohol.

Goodies in tow, I came away fairly chuffed about Mojo and would certainly return for at least the wings, if not a few appetisers to accompany a few evening cocktails.

Emma is a Freelance Writer for Leeds Living. She has a degree in English literature from the University of Leeds and specialises in writing cultural editorials.