Momofuku Seiobo officially opened its doors and had its first dinner service on Wednesday the 26th of October at The Star, Sydney thanks to David Chang. I was extremely lucky to get one of the last Saturday bookings for its first weekend opening. I do not think anyone understands how excited I was about momofuku opening a restaurant in Sydney and so I jumped at every chance to make sure I could experience it, stat! (Just a quick note, bookings/reservations can only be made online via the website, here.)
The infamous momofuku lucky peach is the sign on Seiobo’s doors. It is a little camouflaged and to be honest I wouldn’t have seen it had someone not come out from there. But it is a stunning entrance. (A note before the dinner begins, no flash photography is allowed at the restaurant).
A tasting menu worth $175 is only on offer, with matching wines at an extra $95 per person. No details of the degustation is revealed on the website, or even upon arrival. This definitely made the experience a little bit more exciting.
We start of with a “snacks” plate. It gets our taste buds going. I sampled the dehydrated shitake mushroom chips at the World Chef Showcase 2011 but for some reason it tasted so much better this time round. All were wonderful but my favourite on the plate was the mochi ball.
Sous Chef Chase Lovecky
We were lucky enough to be seated right in front of Sous Chef Chase Lovecky’s work station. I love how it is an open kitchen and that the diners are able to see how chefs prep and plate up dishes.
“Steamed Pork Bun” – pork belly, cucumber, hoisin
This is what momofuku is most famous for. I got so excited when I saw this, I think I jumped out of my seat a little.
I love how you get a little bottle of Sriracha Sauce on the side in case you like things a little spicy. It brings the steamed bun to a whole new element with the chilli sauce.
“Striped Trumpeter Belly” – with warrigal greens, furikake
“White Asparagus” – marron, szechuan pepper
The marron was absolutely gorgeous to eat. It melted in your mouth with the miso sauce and worked wonderfully with the caramelised spring onions and white asparagus.
“Beef” – charred and raw wagyu beef, red ball raddish, burn watermelon oil
This was something unusual on the palette but it worked. Sous Chef Chase took extreme caution and was very careful with presentation. We were lucky enough to see Chef Chase plate up this dish with extreme finesse. His work is simply incredible.
“Eel dashi” – garbanzo, chive blossom
This broth took the words out of my mouth. It was beautifully brewed. The piece of smoked eel was powerful but it balanced out the simplicity of the broth. The edible flowers lightened up the dashi and gave it a bit of texture.
Eel with apple gel and apple powder
This dish came out alongside the eel dashi. The eel was thin and crispy, like the pastry in a cannoli, and it was filled with a gorgeous sweet apple gel and topped with apple powder. It was a little sweet and I must admit I got a little confused with this dish.
“Spanner & Swimmer Crab” – butter, pepper, biscuit
This dish was one of our favourites. The crab meat was so full of flavour but yet was fresh, delicate and cooked to perfection. The crab yorkshire pudding also blew us away; it was a great compliment to the crab meat. The crab flavour in the yorkshire pudding was subtle. I was worried that it was going to take over the dish but of course, it didn’t. It was just perfect.
a cheeky David Chang, and i caught him on camera :)
“Egg” – tasted rice, brown butter
This is Seiobo’s take on a tamago – a japanese omelette. I must commend the chefs on their creativity. With something that looks like that, you assume it will be something sweet and/or is a dessert. Instead, here, you get a savoury type custard. My taste buds got fooled!
“Hand torn pasta” – goats cheese, chili, mint
We were told by David Chang himself that although this comes across as being an Italian dish, it was actually inspired by his trip to China. I wish he could have elaborated a little bit more on that front, but nonetheless, the dish was absolutely devine! The goats cheese really brought it together. The deep fried basil gave it texture. The tomatoes definitely gave the dish some freshness. The pasta itself was incredible. I’ve never had home made pasta – it literally melted in my mouth.
“Lamb Neck” – daikon, pickled turnips
We could smell the lamb neck being cooked on the hotplate in the middle of the kitchen. It really is a beauty to have an open kitchen. I have to say this was also one of my favourite dishes. The lamb neck was still medium rare, delish. The lamb with the sweet roasted daikon puree and the pickled turnip created fireworks in my mouth. The flavour combinations just blew me right off guard. It tasted amazing.
“Striped trumpeter” – broccoli, potato
Although we had striped trumpeter fish earlier on in the night, we now have a different cut – the loin. It is served along side chargrilled broccoli stems, a broccoli puree made out of the broccoli flower head and a potato crumble. You could not pick that the crumble was made out of potato. Genius whoever came up with that idea.
“Pecorino” – honey licorice, bee pollen
To our sadness, looks like the mains are over! But at least dessert is on its way. I thought the pecorino cheese was going to take over the palette but it actually didn’t. The honey licorice was a nice suprise in the centre of the bowl. I still can’t quite enjoy the licorice flavour, I guess I still have to work on that.
“Wattle Seed” – malt, crispy milk
While observing the open kitchen, I had no idea what the chefs were putting together for this dish. In this dessert, there is wattle seed two ways – the first is the meringue and the second is the dehydrated. There is also several dollops of malt ice cream. I thought this dish was amazing. I loved the range of textures, but the flavours were really nice and simple, but yet oh so tasty.
“Miso” – pickled strawberry, toasted rice, mochi
Hearing that we just got served a bowl of miso ice cream made me cringe. Who would have thought to make such a flavour? But then I also thought to myself that I expect no less from David Chang. At first taste, it was a little hard for me to understand. It was quite a strong miso flavour. However, eating the miso ice cream with the rice pudding, the fruits and mochi brought it to a different level. WOW! It somehow made a delicious concoction in my mouth and I was absolutely loving it! I kept scooping the empty bowl in hopes that there was more.
This is David Chang’s petit four. WHAT I hear you think? That’s exactly what Biggie and I were thinking when we saw this massive slab of caramelised pork being brought to the middle of the kitchen after desserts were being served. David worked on this baby all night. We were one of the first ones to get this dish and it was served by Chef David Chang himself. SHOCKED, is what we were. I could see the grin on Biggie’s face though – he was getting way too excited. Chef Chang said it was his take on a petit four, and presented us with a 10 hour roasted candied pork.
David told us that as tradition with a petit four, this dish was meant to be eaten with our hands. It had just came out of the oven so it was still steaming hot as we tried to eat it. The meat was so incredibly tender and had absorbed most the sugar giving it the sweetness. The skin was caramelised to perfection. It was caramelised to the point where it was sticky but yet was still soft enough to melt in your mouth. The sauce on the plate was from the cooking juices from the roasting pan. What a remarkable finish to end the degustation!
Dinner Service on Saturday the 29th of October, 2011 – now completed. What an amazing evening. I must say it was one of my favourite dining experiences thus far. I had a fantastic time. The decor was beautiful. The food was beyond amazing. The staff were wonderful. I could not have asked for a better experience at Momofuku Seiobo.
To top the night off, I just couldn’t help but ask David for another photo (although I did feel bad as he was on a shift working). But alas, I got it! I think I may have a slight crush.. haha! =D
Thank you David Chang and to Momofuku Seiobo for finally venturing out all the way to Australia. Words cannot describe it (well, I realised I used amazing, incredible, fantastic repeatedly – but there are just no other words!). This restaurant will definitely be one that everyone will be talking about for a long, long time..
[EDIT] I’d like to give credit to Luchetti Krelle who are the designers responsible for Momofuku Seiobo. They did an amazing job! [/EDIT]
The Star (formerly Star City Casino)
80 pyrmont street, Ground Level
Entrance at Edward and Union Street