Hey Mombo!

Celebrating 27 years of life is hard work. Good thing I gave the responsibility to Mombo, Portsmouth's, newest gem.

My reasons for choosing Mombo as the location for my birthday dinner were threefold:

1. pristine location: right across from Prescott Park and Strawberry Banke where The Dunaway once resided
2. ambiance: spacious, classic old New England feel, exposed beams, back and front patio
3. mysteriousness : new to town, no marketing, no online menu (gasp!)

In fact besides location, a few mouth watering pictures of the cuisine and the building's facade, and the ability to make reservations and facebook and twitter connections, Mombo's website is empty. Since I am a social media junkie, the facebook/twitter accounts sans online menu really spoke volumes. Can a restaurant do this!? Are they that good?


Mombo's message: "Creative, internationally inspired cuisine served in the heart of Portsmouth" was spot on.

We were greeted immediately and taken to a table on the recently unveiled back patio right in front of the amazingly romantic water fountain!

So naturally prom poses happened:

In the minutes it took me to use the ladies room (which could have its own blog of glamour shots by the way) the waitress visited our table and left a wonderful surprise for my return, a delicious savory bread basket with oil and butter. An array of warm rolls and bread served immediately without a question or plea earns top marks and giddy claps.

Unfortunately, I was unable to remember or relocate the cocktail I imbibed that evening but there was gin, prosecco, grapefruit juice and lemon. The rest is up to your imagination. My dining companions ordered Old Brown Dog Smuttynose Beer and glasses of Red Wine.

On the menu, appetizers are separated into hot and cold plates and we ordered one of each. The Duck Spring Rolls-$9 and the Burrata Cheese -$10

Duck Spring Rolls: Generously filled with duck confit, pickled ginger, scallions, cilantro, and shaved carrot fried in a crispy pastry served with a ginger and soy dipping sauce.

Burrata Cheese: Fresh mozzarella filled with ricotta and served with caramelized mushrooms, watercress charred onion and corn sauce.

The duck spring rolls won the award for most successful appetizer. The delicate pastry supported its fillings with surprising ease and the pickled ginger, carrots, scallions and cilantro perfectly harmonized with the duck. The soy/ginger sauce was the grand finale; bringing all the ingredients together. It wasn't that the burrata cheese was unsatisfactory; it was actually very elegant and refreshing. The different textures of the two cheeses blended rather naturally together and with their mushroom counterparts, but dare I say it, the appetizer was over priced.

Because the menu was not available online, the hours leading up to dinner were not filled with perusing the options on the world wide web or looking up unrecognizable words included in the description. For once in my life, it didn't matter. One look at the Kobe Cap Steak and I was sold. Dusted with porcini mushroom and served with an herb compound butter, batonnetot crispy fried potato and rosemary roasted carrots.

I paired my Kobe Cap with a red wine that was not Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Cabernet. It is however lost in my memory. While the name escapes me, the relationship formed between Kobe Cap and this Red Vino will always make my heart skip a few beats.

The Kobe Cap Steak fulfilled the hopes and dreams of three out of the four at the table. The Crispy Chicken fulfilled Amanda's. Half of a free range chicken with hand rolled cous cous, heirloom tomatoes, grilled vegetables, and a parsley and garlic gremolata.

The executive chef and owner Matt King came over to our table to welcome us to Mombo and talk about our experience thus far. I spoke highly then and will highlight again now, the service at Mombo. Our waitress, Rose, was very knowledgeable, attentive, charismatic, and genuinely cheerful about her involvement with Mombo. Overall the buzzing atmosphere at Mombo was warm and familiar yet unique, special and full of class. Mombo is well on its way to becoming a Portsmouth best.

Dessert was enjoyed at home because when your boyfriend buys you a Friendly's Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream cake, you do not want anything else. Nor should you.

The many faces of Reese's Ice Cream bliss:

Thank you Reese's, Mombo, Matt and friends for making July 14th so memorable!


  1. I had no idea that Reese's peanut butter cakes like that existed. This is dangerously exciting news...

    I'm glad you enjoyed your dinner our! It looks like the food was A-Mazing! I'm glad you had a great birthday dinner!!!

  2. Found your blog through another - and was excited to see you live in Portsmouth (I grew up in Stratham!). Does this post mean that the Dunaway is gone?? I had my rehearsal dinner there - it was so good! I suppose if Mombo has replaced it, looks like a reasonable trade :)

  3. Hi Emily! Thanks for stopping by! YES, unfortunately the Dunaway is no longer. They left the interior very similar, but Mombo has a completely different concept. I had never eaten at the Dunaway but what a beautiful location for a rehersal dinner! NH love! :)

    Amy, seriously dangerous news. You have a birthday coming up...might be something to request! haha

  4. Those duck spring rolls looks scrumptious. Glad to know you had an awesome birthday celebration!

  5. Bummer that the Dunaway is no longer - but yay for having a new place to try in Ports!

  6. this place really is a gem! love the cubed carrots and fun stack of fries on your entree.

    that cake needs to get back in my life!

  7. i've never heard of that reeses cake- omg!

    sounds like a great spot for your celebration! happy birthday!

  8. Happy Belated Birthday Sweetie!! Looks like you had a blast! And how could you not.. a great restaurant, some great food and a Reeses cake? Seriously, you couldn't have gone wrong wtih all of that!! :-)

  9. Isn't it weird to find a restaurant without an online menu?! Thank goodness it seemed worthy of your birthday dinner!

    (And the Reese's cake! Yum!)

    Enter to win an Oufi London leather handbag! (Retail value: $140)

  10. Corinne,

    I came across your post and felt that I MUST help you remember your birthday drink. :) I'm actually the bartender at Mombo and I am so happy to hear how much you and your friends enjoyed it! The drink that you had was the Grapefruit Negroni. You have all of the ingredients right (which impressed me, I must say) except there was also Campari in there as well.

    Thank you again Corinne! Please come back and try some more cocktails! :)


  11. I'm glad you had such a great time at Mombo!

    I hope your 27th birthday was everything you imagined it would be and thensome. I wish you an equally dreamy year. =) <3

  12. Corinne - you must have made quite an impression on the bartender that night for him to remember the drink you had! It must be your sparkling personality and BREATHTAKING beauty (yes, seriously) - MOM

  13. Aw, Mom. That is sweet but the drink I was describing in the post is actually one of their signature cocktails! So she knew what it was from my description not because she remembered me! Nice try though :)