Mojo by Luke Mangan definitely doesn’t disappoint. Originally constructed to be an informal wine and tapas bar in Sydney’s energetic arts precinct of Dank Street, the converted warehouse with sky scraping high ceilings, polished concrete floors and private artwork leads you into a world of intense colour and flavour. Not to mention the huge graffiti walls within.
At night, the neon sign of Mojo by Luke Mangan, which could easily be some elaborate creation of Philippe Stark, comes alive as patrons enjoy a menu of light fresh tapas created for sharing, and a wide variety of perfect plonk.
If you’ve not heard of Luke, your head has been in your breakfast cereal for way too long. Luke is one of Australia’s leading chefs and restaurateurs and is highly regarded internationally as an outstanding example of the powerful culinary culture we have here in Australia.
Luke trained under the Herman Scheider in Melbourne and soon travelled to London to convince Michel Roux of the 3 Michelin starred ‘Waterside Inn’ to give him a good Aussie go. Working under the eye of exceptional leadership is what gave Luke the determination and credibility alongside his own natural talent to now open and operate restaurants out of Sydney, Surfers Paradise, Jakarta, Singapore, Tokyo and on three P&O Cruises. Not to mention he’s the consulting chef for Virgin Australia.
Back to Mojo.
So we know what happens at Mojo at night. But this weekend, Luke had created something sensational at Mojo by Luke Mangan for the local fans.
Sens-Asian as it was affectionately known, was a concept built around Aussies understanding and loving Asian food. Personally, making a Thai curry, dumplings, sushi or Pad Thai at home is a common practise in our family. So Luke has showcased how amazing Australian produce is being applied to Asian cuisine with a creative twist.
Enter Mojo at 11.30am. There is a line of 80 people out the front waiting to get into the festivities, which are hidden behind the delivery entrance of Mojo.
There’s a wired gate opening and closing every couple of minutes by the man himself, which to be honest makes you feel very very welcomed. It’s not often you see such culinary royalty roaming around, being so present and involved in all facets of the event. His demeanour is relaxed, almost family like and warm.
There’s a china girl welcoming the crowd, handing out little cups of cherry flavoured Mojo by Luke Mangan drinks. There’s the aromatic scent of flavoursome delights wafting from inside Mojo and everyone’s mouth is watering.
Enter the Sens-Asian quarters and you’re met with a DJ situated high towards the ceiling pumping out contagious tunes that make your knees bounce. So many people were bopping to the playlist in shadowed little corners, I kind of smirked as all it would have taken was for someone to be courageous enough to start dancing and there would have been a dance floor in minutes.
The food on offer included desserts from social-media sensation Katherine Sabbath, Gelato experts N2 Gelato and creative cake masters Black Star Pastry. The menu was the work of Mangan and MOJO’s head chef Wayne Lee, featuring mini hot dogs with kim chi, Peking duck rolls and Taiwanese fried chicken, along with Singapore Sling cocktails and Asahi beer.
I had the smash cake from N2 Gelato and the Peking Duck Pancakes. Delicious!
All the ingredients for the festivities were right on target for everyone to feel the success of Luke’s creative mind and power to bring younger culinary stars to the forefront. You could see the awesome entrepreneurial spirit in the lead up to the event and also on the day. The Smiles on the faces of all involved were the success perimeters and perhaps the quiet demand that Sens-Asian to be a regular event. The DJ, live artwork from street artist JUMBO, names of food like Harajuku burgers and Smash Cake were exciting and the clever social media photo booth allowed for all who tagged the event, to print out their shots and take them home as a momentum.
We cannot wait for the next event.