Meet the Monypennys, taking the North West's street food scene by storm
The street food sector has been hit hard by the pandemic but two business-savvy brothers have beaten the odds by launching their third permanent venue in the North West this summer. MorMor is set to open in Liverpool’s new General Post Office food hall in June, serving up small plates inspired by the flavours and cultures of The Levant - a crossroads of western Asia, the eastern Mediterranean and northeast Africa.
Hugo is the madman in this partnership. I try to reign him in with my managerial head
The independent street food venture was started by younger brother Hugo Monypenny, who stumbled across the rich and bold flavours of the Middle East at a restaurant near the bar where he worked. Hugo’s passion for the food led him to cook it for his friends at dinner parties and he started to think if he could turn it into a business.
Hugo said: “I visited a street food spot called Dinerama in Shoreditch and saw the potential for the food I’d been cooking for friends and family.
“I decided to approach Ben Davy, who was the development chef at Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds at the time, about doing a pop-up there. He told me to go away and think about what the brand would look like, choose a name and work on a menu. He loaned me some equipment to get me started.”
The Monypenny brothers’ heritage is a mix of Eastern European and Danish and they were brought up on a culturally diverse diet, with cooking and food ever present in their family kitchen. No surprise then that Hugo would end up starting MorMor from his mum’s kitchen, drawing inspiration for the name from the Danish word for Grandmother, “MorMor”.
Hugo says: “I did about 56 events between launching MorMor in 2018 and March 2019 so I knew I was doing something right. I had found a niche cuisine that people liked. At the time things were a bit hectic and I was prepping solo for around 14 hours a day out of my mum’s kitchen before I moved into a proper prep kitchen with James from Little Bao Boy.”
In the early beginnings of MorMor, Hugo’s brother Josh was living in Sweden and working as a bar manager. After moving back to the UK in late 2018, Josh helped Hugo to develop the business at more street food events. When the boys were invited to take a spot at Kommune in Sheffield in 2019, they decided to partner up full time and push the brand forward, securing a second permanent residency at Hatch in Manchester.
Down the Hatch
Josh said: “Confirmation of the residency at Hatch was really exciting because, at the same time, we took on a warehouse space that we turned into a prep kitchen and we were looking forward to 2020 being a year full of music festivals and events. We were ready and raring to go, but then Covid hit and those plans got massively put on the back burner.”
With the pandemic hitting MorMor in much the same way as it hit the entire hospitality industry, the brothers took this time to come up with new concepts for their brand. Noticing another gap in the market, they hit upon the idea of an Italian food stop called Paisano and a smash burger concept, called Good Boy Burger.
Street food at MetQuarter
Josh said: “Hugo is the madman in this partnership. I try to reign him in with my managerial head, but his passion for what he does, and his non-stop attitude, spurs him on to seek out new opportunities all of the time.
“It’s crazy that we went from barely seeing each other for ten years to living and working together over the last two years. It has been a wild ride so far with some pretty cool things to come.”
The GPO food hall at Liverpool’s Metquarter opens in May and says it aims to champion local indie food operators and showcase a wide range of cuisines. MorMor will join an eclectic line-up of traders including Chit 'n' Chaat, Thai 25, Monkeyboard Coffee, Jail Bird Nashville Fried Chicken, Konjo Kitchen and Patty B’s Burgers.
Follow the adventures of MorMor and the MonyPenny brothers on Instagram and keep an eye out for their 1967 Fiat food truck at events across the North this summer.