Founder, Sketch London, 3*
Mourad Mazouz was born in Algeria in 1962 and has been living in London for the past twenty-three years. As a young man Mourad arrived in Paris and partook in a variety of menial jobs until his friend and flatmate at the time, Smain asked him to be his PR. Mourad’s natural ability to amuse and put people at ease made him perfect for the job. Since then Smain went on to become a famous French comedian and actor and with Mazouz’s help, was the first North African to appear on French television. Within a couple of years Mazouz had made a name for himself in the Paris nightlife circuit and following a stint of travelling abroad, he returned to Paris having caught the restaurateur “bug.” After working in some of the top restaurants including Ma Maison in Los Angeles.
Upon the opening of his first bistro Au Bascou in Paris in 1988, Mazouz recruited some of his closest friends to help him and within a few years of trading it won bistro of the year. He saw the opportunity to open a North African restaurant, that would reflect his roots but also be of its time, cool, sexy and modern, he aimed to break the image of the servile waiter to let them be who they were. 404 opened in 1990 – The waiters dressed casually, danced on tables and made waves on what it meant to be a server in the 90’s. This was followed by the opening of the wildly successful Momo Restaurant Familial in London in 1997– fulfilling his ambition and exceeding all his expectations, even winning the Evening Standard Bar of the Year award in its first year of trading.
In 1999, Mourad expanded Momo’s and opened the Mo Café next door, an innovative concept combining a classic Bazaar boutique serving Kemia (Arabic Tapas) - A more casual experience than the mother restaurant. What once was a traditional homage to his African heritage will soon be transformed into a Mediterranean diner based on the blueprint of an american coffeeshop in the 40’s, Marrakech meets Los Angeles in London. Mo Diner is set to open in November 2019.
Mourad, keen to illustrate the rich culture of North Africa then developed a highly successful cookery/travel book - a culinary journey through North Africa, The Momo Cookbook (2000) has subsequently been translated into five other languages, French, Spanish, English, Dutch and German.
In 2000 Mourad joined the two partners of KM5 bar and restaurant in Ibiza, hosting and warming up the party scene before guests moved on to Pacha and other night spots.
Every year became an adventure and in 2002 Mazouz brought his most visionary project to life, teaming up with three Michelin starred Chef Pierre Gagnaire he opened Sketch. A tribute to superb gastronomy and cutting-edge art, Sketch is now donned a London institution having won a host of major awards including two Michelin stars. For Mourad, Sketch is a venue where music, art, food, design and video are all seamlessly integrated to create a unique experience for all five senses. In the same year Mazouz opened Andy Wahloo a concept created by himself and artist Hassan Hajjaj. This was Hajjaj’s first project and he has gone on to become the world-renowned artist he is known as today. 2015 saw Andy Wahloo transformed into a sleek, cosy cocktail bar.
In 2006 Mourad opened Al’Maz restaurant in Harvey Nichols Dubai – a superb amalgamation of modernist North African design and food.
In January 2009 Mazouz collaborated with artist Carsten Holler to open Double Club in London. Holler created an installation to represent the Congolese war against the western world. It showcased co-existence between culture and was supported by the Prada foundation. This project, located in the heart of Islington consisted of three spaces, a bar, restaurant and a nightclub which quickly rose to the height of the most respected nightspots. This pop-up project lasted 6 months plus 1 month due to its great success.
Derriere Mazouz’s third Parisian restaurant launched in 2009 and has received massive praise from critics. – What once was Mourad’s’ home in Paris and also doubled as 404 and Andy Wahloo’s storage facility was transformed into a restaurant with such a unique dining experience and a true feeling of being at home. Having to make your way upstairs and through a wardrobe to find yourself in the smoking room is a part of Derriere that remains iconic today.
Momo At The Souks opened in March 2011 and was aptly located in the Old Beirut Souk in the central district of the capital. Mazouz used many contemporary elements in the creation of this space which served contemporary French North African cuisine for 5 years.
This year Mazouz has reimagined Momo in a more sophisticated and refined guise as it enters its 23rd year on Heddon Street. With extended terraces and newly sumptuous interiors, the elegant, Berber Mediterranean restaurant has commenced the next chapter of its legacy, the first North African restaurant of significance to grace London.
2019 has been big for Mazouz, he partnered with Erik Lorincz to completely make over downstairs at Momo and transform it into a relaxed cocktail bar with a focus on perfect service and a nod to traditional British elegance. Kwant has already seen much praise from critics and continues to make waves in the industry.
With a hunger to explore all areas of his creativity, in May 2001, Mourad started the music label MoSt Records with Stephane Malca and Mathieu Massadian to produce and control his compilations,releasing« Arabesque »(2001) “ArabesqueZoudge2” (2002), “Africanesque” (2002),“Arabesque Tlata 3” (2003), “Sketch 01 Night” and “One Night at Momo’s” (2004), “Sketch 02 Day”(2005) and “Latinesque” (2006). MoSt was later commissioned by Habitat to produce four compilations by VIPs such as Tracey Emin , Malcolm Mc Laren (original songs never-before released) , Etienne de Crecy and Gilles Peterson. They also created original albums such as Smadj “Take it and Drive” and “Taffetas” (2004). “Arabesque Arba’a 4” was launch in July 2008; a double album with 14 classics tracks and 10 remixes (Midnight Mike, Howie B., Playgroup…). The album “37th State”, was released in September 2008 with Fela’s musicians as well as up-and-coming Nigerian artists.
Today, Mourad resides in London with his partner and three children, a place he has called home for over two decades and yet he is still filled with adventure.