Outside and in, this contemporary addition to the Sathorn Soi 10-12 café-slash-restaurant scene looks as much like a modern art gallery as it does a restaurant. From its huge, street-side windows to the white-washed walls and oversized furnishings, Moko makes a big impression, and one that, for the most part, we like. It’s also a nicely welcoming place, though the smiles and friendliness of the staff mask some far from polished service. (We love that our meal begins with a complimentary appetizer, though it would be nice if the waiter knew what it was.)
On the whole, the food is quite Mediterranean, most strongly Italian, and heavily focused on seafood. Their brief clipboard menu of salads, antipasti, pastas and mains is supplemented by an enticing selection of chalkboard specials. It all reads very promisingly: simple, fresh and not overly inventive, though only some of the dishes really deliver.
The amply portioned “herbs salad” (B380) combines raw fennel, asparagus, mesclun, green apple and basil pesto with some massive slabs of gorgonzola, all of which is quite delicious. But the same can’t be said for everything. Our black mussels baked with chili, parsley and parmeggiano (B220), although well flavored, are really oily; the main of grilled whole sea bass (B650) is equally unsatisfying thanks to an overly sweet white sauce—though we do like the accompanying well-crisped potatoes, juicy diced tomato and sautéed greens.
The special of penne with smoked salmon and lemon cream (B350) fares better as no nonsense comfort food thanks to nicely al dente pasta, but the smoked salmon is rather too salty and sauce not as boldly flavored as we’d like. As it turns out, the tiramisu (B200) is the most impressive dish we try. The coffee-soaked Italian biscuit and the fresh, fluffy mascarpone custard provide an excellent end to the meal.
As the night goes on, Moko also gets steadily busier, and has a nice buzz by about 8:30pm. We can see why anyone in the neighborhood might be drawn in for a casual , if not groundbreaking, dinner, especially given the satisfying house whites at just B200-220 a glass.