Being a seafood lover I’m always happy to locate a restaurant that serves more than the basic North American versions. I’d never had Portuguese food and while the seafood in Macau that we’ve eaten may be influenced by it I wanted to try the real thing.
Mimo is located just off of International Avenue(17th Ave) in the cities’ SE and is surrounded by stores serving food from many parts of the world. They are family run and have been around for quite some time, two facts that are not lost on the foodie looking for a good meal. Being one of only a very few Portuguese places in town we felt they needed to be tried.
We visited Mimo as the June instalment of our monthly UrbanSpoon foodie runs. I’m still amazed and very pleased with our selections thus far. We’ve not chosen a place that disappointed and this is something considering that we tend towards more interesting ethnic fare and smaller stores
Having read a little about this place I was unsure what to expect as far as the store itself, the food has gotten nothing but great reviews but the location has been described in less than glowing terms . I’d heard that Mimo was a bit of a hole and one had to navigate through a bar then down a hallway into a dark windowless dining room. I’d also read of renovations, and thus could only go and see for myself.
It turns out that the renos were done and the space was nicely lit with the dining room moved right to the front and there are windows. Although not a large space it wasn’t cramped. I will however give less than high marks for the hard and unpadded chairs, but then I’m getting old and we were there for over 3 hours.
Looking over the menu it’s hard to make a decision as everything was either great sounding or looked so interesting as to almost call out to the foodie in me. In the end the fact we were in a group and Portuguese is yet another food culture that believes in large share plates we decided to go with that.
The staff were very friendly and being a family run store that has been around for awhile they are very comfortable with their customers. Our servers were chatty and fun to talk with as they explained the food to us and while unwilling to divulge any of the secrets we continually tried to pry out of them we were happy with the service they provided.
Given that fact that we were the smallest group in the dining room(by far) the kitchen and the front of house kept up quite well. We may not have recieved the same attention as we might have if the place was less crazy but we were certainly not left to our own devices for any length of time and the food came out in fairly quickly.
First up was a selection of appetizers. We decided on the Home-made sausage, a delicious Portuguese chorizo that is cooked over a flame on its plate in front of you. The second was snails in wine sauce and finally grilled squid.
All of these were terrific choices with the squid being tender and the sausage tasting very nice. The snails were basic but as with the other apps and mains it was the sauce that made the dish. We had to ask for a second plate of bread to soak up all that remained on the plates.
The mains were something that involved more discussion than we would have thought. You see as foodies we tend to want to sample as much of the menu as possible and this tends to lead to difficulty walking to our cars at the end of the meal (usually with take-home bags). KC Foore’s other half was the voice of caution on this night and we all decided to listen. So, instead of the Paella for 3 and extra main that we had originally wanted to order we opted for a single and just the 3 mains.
What we ended up with was easily enough for the 6 of us. The Discover Portugal is a huge, heaping platter of seafood and veggies that contained lobster, crab, clams, mussels, shrimp, squid and vegetables smothered in yet another tasty sauce with just a bit of heat(which can be turned up on request). The paella was also the selection of seafood but over Portuguese rice. Our third selection was the bacalhau (poached cod). This is a dried salt cod that has been reconstituted while cooked. It’s served with boiled potatoes and olive oil with vinegar as a condiment. This is a most interesting dish which was unlike any fish meal I’d had prior.
The Discover Portugal and Paella are seafood lovers dreams and we all enjoyed making a mess while devouring them with our hands. I only have one sour note regarding the seafood and that is that it was over-cooked. This did not impact my enjoyment to a large degree but was noticeable. As with the appies the sauces were wonderful and both they and the rice in the paella disappeared quickly.
After savaging this ginormous pile of food most of us were really in no condition to eat any more, this however did not stop the more intrepid in the group. So while some enjoyed a glass of port or spiced coffee myself , KC Foore and Twisted Chinaman ordered some dessert to complete the Mimo experience.
I have a deep-seated weakness for rice pudding that was formed during a childhood being fed by my Ukrainian Grandmother who was a masterful cook, so after seeing this as a selection on the menu I had little choice but to order it. The pudding was creamy and nicely spiced but the rice was a little on the chewy side and I felt it could have been cooked longer. This aside It was a pleasant finish to my meal and not likely to be consistently undercooked.
Aside from a few minor issues this was a very good meal and one that I’m not going to miss the chance to repeat in the future. Anyone with a thing for seafood should give Mimo a visit, but I’d suggest caution when confronted by the selection and only order a couple of dishes to start, you can always order more.