Damien Dellala is a self-confessed data geek. He talks so much about “scaling operations” and “measuring productivity” you’d hardly know he was selling food. But at the heart of his efficient business is incredible food: momo (Nepalese dumplings) and Hawaiian poke made by his business partner Archana Dellala.
Momos and poke make for an odd couple, but the combination worked so well at the Dellala’s tiny Manly shop they’ve recently opened a second, bigger venue at Dee Why Grand.
“We had no idea Manly would be so successful,” Damien says. “We didn’t even have a floor plan and we rented a commercial kitchen to make our dumplings. Every time they made 100 dumplings, the cooks would have to walk them downstairs to the freezers. It was so inefficient, but somehow it worked.”
The new location is more Damien’s speed. “It’s beautiful, and it’s four times bigger than Manly. We have a brand spanking new fit-out that’s streamlined and clean.”
Where Manly is “hacked together” (but very cosy), Dee Why is professionally designed by their third business partner, an architect. Best of all, production has moved into an onsite kitchen in Dee Why where Archana and her staff make 20,000 dumplings a week.
Because Momo Bar has done such a solid trade with momos and poke at lunch and dinner, it’s given Damien and Archana the confidence to experiment with breakfast. “In Nepal people eat momos all day and we’re trying to encourage that here, offering brekkie dumplings at Dee Why. We’ve done fillings like salmon, mixed berries, potato and egg, or my favourite, mushroom.”
The dumplings are served with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
They also do bacon and egg rolls on roti and have extended the poke offering for mornings. “The Pokado is a killer. It’s smashed avo on soy-and-linseed toast with poached eggs, and then you build your poke ingredients on top: protein, sauce and crunch.”
The menu is an extension of the Dellala’s love of experimentation. “We were told not to put two diverse cuisines together but we did it anyway, and it’s worked really well,” Damien says, before excitedly adding some data-driven facts.
“If you look at searches for dumpling and poke, they’re definitely trending up.”
Momo Bar Dee Why
Shop 32, Dee Why Grand, 15-19 Pacific Parade, Dee Why
02 9971 0596
Hours: Mon to Sat 6.30am–9pm Sun 7am-9pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on March 87, 2019. Menu items may have changed since publication.