All-Day Comfort Food & Refreshing Cocktails at Mamma Always Said (now closed)
It goes without saying—mamma does, usually, know best, especially when it comes to food. Taking over the space which previously housed Jalan (also part of Meraki Group), Mamma Always Said opened its doors back in June, serving feel-good, comfort food in its prime Soho location. We stopped by the Peel Street venue to try the sharing plates and a mix of cocktails over lunch.
Perched on Peel Street in Soho, Meraki Hospitality Group’s Mamma Always Said is a casual venue, perfect for quick bites or lunch dates. Its convenient location in Hong Kong’s favourite dining neighbourhood is frequented by locals and tourists alike. It’s a 10-minute walk from the MTR station and is easily accessible by taxi and car.
Serving all-day dining and casual cocktails, Mamma Always Said is a group hangout kind of place (or also good for couples), where diners are recommended to order a variety of dishes to share. Although the space inside is rather small, it lends an immediate cosy, homey vibe upon entering. Sharing dishes range from meaty mains to crisp salads—plus the menu is actually a notebook, meaning guests can write personal notes inside the menu. We tried a few of the feel-good feats and cocktails to test the vibe and to see whether the newly-opened restaurant compares to the hype of its surrounding restaurants on Peel Street.
There are two menus available at Mamma Always Said—the lunch menu and the dinner menu. We had a few dishes from both. At lunchtime, the selection is simple and focuses on daily specials, salads, pastas, and a few sandwich options and dessert. The dinner menu focuses on a larger range of small plates, with meaty large dishes for mains. First, we tried the Burrata Cheese (HK$95), served on a bed of fresh tomatoes and toasted bread. The cheese was creamy and flavourful, but the salad beneath could have been made better with more garnishes or ingredients.
We then had the daily salad (Smoked Salmon Fattoush Salad), served with refreshing salmon and croutons. It’s always light and easy to eat salads at lunch and it’s proving to be a popular option before heading back to the office. The dish was well-garnished with coriander, one of my favourite herbs.
The X.O Fried Chicken Wings (HK$90) were crunchy and a pleasant surprise served with homemade X.O sauce. It was a little bit spicy for me but not too empowering, and ideal for snacking on between meals.
The pasta dish—Prawn Cherry Tomato and Chilli Linguine (HK$110)—was probably my favourite of the list. The prawns were succulent and flavourful, paired well with the fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes. Meanwhile, a hint of chilli added a subtle kick.
Offering happy hours and beyond, Mamma Always Said serves all-day wines, beers and cocktails for every occasion. Plus, they’re very reasonably priced, in stark contrast to other restaurants nearby. We tried a few of thee cocktails, including the Negroni (HK$65), which takes a twist on the classic, made with tequila, mezcal, Punt e Mes, Campari and homemade walnut bitters. The Yuzu Pleasure (HK$75) is also a must, a cocktail in partnership with Mr. Black, served with Mamma’s cold drip coffee, yuzu and tonic. Little Blue Dress (HK$80) is a go-to for photo-worthy opportunities.
Mamma Always Said may have initially opened during uncertain times (COVID-19), but it’s proving to reign in eager customers daily. The concept, being all about Mamma’s cooking and special recipes, makes the venue welcoming, thanks to its intimate setting and warm hospitality. Helmed by Executive Chef Corey Riches, the menu pulls together modern flavours and locally-sourced ingredients, for Hong Kongers to swing by at any time of the day. The restaurant works with local producers, ordering its ingredients straight from Mamma’s kitchen (which are also available to purchase in-house). Guests can also buy Mamma’s wallet-friendly priced wines and secret homemade pasta sauces to bring home and cook up Meraki meals for your friends and family. And if you have a sweet tooth craving after dinner, be sure to grab one of the doughnuts or thick cookies to satisfy the palette.
Mamma Always Said, Shop E&F Upper Ground Floor, 42&44, Peel St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2386 2216, mammashk.com