Please note, Moio has now closed. Time Out Food editors, JANUARY 2020.
An alluring stokie spot, Moio is modern European, but with a special place in its heart for Portugal. The interior is beautifully lit – not too bright, but light enough to read the menu – and simply furnished with old church chairs, bare brick walls and a bar lined with blue and white Portuguese tiles. There are bar stools with a ringside view of the open kitchen, window perches perfect for solo diners and a bunch of closely packed tables.
It’s a warm, welcoming room, as you’d expect from a neighbourhood joint, but the service and food are next level. An amuse bouche (burnt baby kiwi fruit with ginger mayo: a little burst of flavour) signalled the start of a culinary adventure. Plates are meant for sharing, but vary in size through nibbles, starters and mains. Portuguese morcela (blood sausage) with smoked plum sauce was a fabulously rich mouthful, and a perfect match for the sharper-tasting ‘Algarve flavoured’ (oil, parsley, garlic) carrots. One size up, heirloom tomatoes with Kentish raspberries and cheese ice cream was another ‘ooh’ dish, but the torched mackerel with grilled baby gem lettuce and smoked eel beurre blanc was a misfire, with slightly woolly-textured fish – a fraction more cooking time would have helped.
Later, duck breast with a spice crust matched tender pink bird with a sticky, sweet ‘beetroot variation’; equally good was the special, crispy octopus confit in aged beef fat with harissa and sweet potato purée. The final knockout dish was a pudding topped with what looked like pieces of slate (actually charcoal meringue), under which sat a glorious medley of frozen grapes, hay-flavoured mousse and apple and sorrel granita. The weekend brunch menu is a less complex affair, but still inventive. Whatever meal you’re in the mood for, Moio is a must-visit.