Sunday, March 31, 2013

Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney

A few months back I went to Momofuku Seiobo for a weekend lunch, as they have a pretty well priced lunch tasting menu which has a few less courses than their more popular full dinner tasting menu.

I've been to several of the Momofuku originals in NYC, however never had a huge desire to make an effort to go in Sydney. With 3 hats however, it did seem like something worth trying at least once and I am glad I did at least see for myself whether it was worth the hype. A tonne of photos ahead of all our courses!

Our drinks menu on our uber shiny table in the mood lit restaurant decor.

Smoked Eel + Apple - the smoked eel infused flavour inside the 'cannoli' type crisp cigar was strong but matched well with the apple gelee. Good balance, and a little different.

Steamed bun + pork belly - this has to be one of their signature dishes and well known around the world. The bun was amazingly soft and delectable, and it was cute because this was served with a mini sriracha bottle. Was it the most amazing pork bun? I can't say so, but definitely tasty.

Striped trumpeter + celery + mustard -  to be honest I don't remember much about this dish except that I loved it because it was fresh and zesty. I love a good sashimi dish and this delivered.

Potato + avruga + chicken tail - this dish was fairly heavy and a weird follow up to the very light dish before. The chicken tail was crisp, flavoursome and went well with the sauciness of this dish.

We chose to have juice pairings - from memory a total of 5 juices. Each of them were a little unusual, and we loved guessing what it was at first sight before being told later what we were drinking. I'm not a big fan of crazy juices though, so some weren't to my liking but definitely good value and perfect for the heat of our dining day. I just liked this eerie looking photo

Watermelon + radish + black bean - this was a salad like dish with a very strong black bean flavour. It was absolutely beautiful to look at, however probably not to my liking as much as other dishes. I got about halfway and was done with it though the watermelon and black bean was a very clever combination.

Zucchini + onion mustard + yolk - this dish had all the 'typical' elements but was lovely. Crunch, flavour, smooth puree and a feast for the eyes.

Hapuka + cucumber + black garlic - in my fine dining experience of late I've noticed that black garlic is becoming uber popular not only for its flavour but for its punch of charcoal black colour. All elements of this dish were perfectly cooked and I hate that I can't remember what it was but that circular film was amazing! So perfectly executed.

Shortrib + eggplant + kombu - apologies for the terrible photo of this. By the time we got to this course I was sick of taking photos and engrossed in the conversation I was having with  my dining companions. The shortrib was well seasoned, but actually not the best shortrib I've ever had. I think I was reaching the point of being really full by this stage so perhaps this dish was a bit wasted on me, but all I rememer thinking was, this dish is huge!

Curd + black currant + mint - this pre dessert palate cleanser was really very cool. The pigmentation of the black currant and mint were spectacular to look at and punchy in flavour, nestled around the curd well in the middle. Perhaps a little heavy again, as by this stage I was so full, but definitely worth having.

Pear + honey cream + muntries - for anyone who has been to Eleven Madison in NYC, don't you think this plating and dish in general is very reminiscent of Eleven? Anyway we were hoping for a light fruity dessert and this delivered in all aspects. A great ending to the meal for sure, and it was good to see something other than chocolate dessert as we were so full.

And to finish it off, a 'petit four' in the form of a 'jam donut with a twist'.

Our take home menus and they gave us little kim chi take home bags (oops forgot to take a photo)!

So my overall thoughts? It was definitely worth trying, however I'm not sure if I could really see the 3 hat level dining that I was expecting. Service was good, but not amazing, though the casual feel of the restaurant makes it very accessible for everyday dining. Food was good quality, for sure, but was it mind blowingly creative and unique? No. And some dishes seemed to lack a little refinement. David Chang is a genius, there's no doubting that, but when I go to the US I love to eat his simple westernised asian dishes at places like Ma Peche which was fabulously tasty and great value. So I think perhaps thats what I think he should stick to.

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