Mama Yo, the latest restaurant offering from the Press Up hospitality group will open on February 14th on Camden Street in Dublin 8. It brings to 36 the number of restaurants, across 21 brands, that the group has opened, and it will be the first since they launched Sophie’s at The Dean in Cork city in December 2020.
Although missing the deadline to get the doors open for Chinese new year on February 1st and herald the year of the tiger, the reservations book for Mama Yo is live on the restaurant's website and on Open Table, taking bookings from February 14th.
Head chef Daming Lu trained in a five-star hotel in China and has been in Ireland for 20 years, working in a number of restaurants including Hang Dai, also on Camden Street. The general manager, Kathy Li, has held hospitality management roles in her homeplace of Shenyang City in China, as well as Camille Thai, and other Press Up venues.
Sharing a similar design palette to Doolally, the group’s Indian restaurant on Richmond Street South, in Dublin 2, Mama Yo’s 335sq m footprint is dominated by wood, in this case reclaimed timber lining the walls and ceiling, and leather upholstry. Two tall trees with feature lighting spread their branches above some of the banquette and booth seating. Silk hanging lights and Asian-inspired artworks reinforce O’Donnell O’Neill Design’s theme for the space, which will accommodate 154 covers.
The 14-strong kitchen team will work from an open kitchen and the menu has been created with the idea that dishes will be shared. Thornhill duck from Co Cavan will be used for Beijing roast duck, which will be slow roasted over wood and served with pancakes, cucumber, spring onions and hoisin sauce. This must be ordered in advance and will be sold as a full duck, serving four (€100) or a half duck for two people (€50).
Dim sum choices include tea-smoked ribs, organic pork char siu buns, soup dumplings, hot and sour soup, and pork and prawn wontons. The main course menu is a similarly crowd-pleasing line-up, including beef short rib and black pepper, lemon chicken, sweet and sour organic pork with caramelised pineapple, char siu and salt and pepper tofu.
The restaurant’s website describes its food as: “Authentic Chinese cuisine with a contemporary twist, featuring all the fan favourites that you will know and love, but to a level we guarantee you won’t have tried before.” Provocative, patronising, or both? Diners will decide.
The cocktail menu takes its inspiration from the spicy, salty, sour, sweet and bitter characteristics of Chinese cooking, with each of five cocktails designed to reflect one of these tastes. A sixth cocktail, and the one the venue believes will be its signature drink, is Boba Milk Punch, a take on Taiwanese bubble tea with popping candy-style bubbles.
Mama Yo will open for dinner seven days a week from 5pm-10pm and for lunch Friday to Sunday, noon-3pm. See mamayo.ie.