[Portsmouth, NH] Mombo

We were last in Portsmouth six years ago and had a really good meal at Mombo. We hoped to repeat the experience - and succeeded.

There was a flatbread to start for one of us. It turns out it’s not the expected thin Middle eastern flatbread but, effectively, a pizza. And there was something of the pizza in the toppings – mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, rocket, lobster and a lemon aioli. It was a substantial offering – almost main course size and impossible to finish if a main course was to be enjoyed.

Crab dip was a good idea, if not overly successful. Yes, it was rich and creamy but there was none of the taste of crab that I might have expected. I remembered too late that Americans generally only use the white meat and not the more flavoursome brown meat as well. And, yes, it was a good idea to have sweet potato chips to load the crab on to. But only a good idea if all your chips were properly crisp – and these weren’t.

Main courses were faultless. There was a thick pork chop, perfectly cooked so it was still moist. A decent flavour as well although, for perfection, you’d want more fat on it. It came with an excellent succotosh – corn, tomato, bacon – spiked with chilli.

There wasa vegetarian “spaghetti with meatballs” – the spaghetti coming from long shreds of summer squash and the meatballs from falafel. Both elements were well seasoned and, for moistness, the falafel were topped with a drizzle of tzatziki and there were dabs of tapenade round the plate.

For dessert, we shared a “flan cheesecake” – something of a deconstructed cheesecake and a great success. The centrepiece was a crème caramel and the other elements came from shortbread biscuits, an entirely seasonal rhubarb and strawberry compote and Chantilly cream. A very clever bit of work by the kitchen to come up with the idea. Congratulations to the pastry chef.

We finished with good espresso. It’d been a lovely evening where nothing had been rushed.