On the Wednesday before the Sydney weekend, I realised, almost belatedly, at 11.35pm, holy shit! There’s that new Momofuku that just opened late last year in Sydney! I need a booking!
Five minutes later, I somehow scored myself a booking for one for that very Saturday night through their online system at 8pm on the very first and only try. Do you know how giddy that made me feel? There. Is. A. Momofuku. In. Sydney. And. I’m. Going. There.
Now I can tell you this in the strictest confidence that I went to bed that night unconsciously heaving a massive fangirl sigh and uttered, ‘oh David Chang…’ right before I fell asleep.
(They seem to have an obsession with wiping every single plate until it shines)
The day arrived and I got myself into a cab and ended up at the Star. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t catch me dead at a casino complex otherwise. If you have been there, you’ll recall this bright, open, neon, Willy Wonka-esque bubblegum pinkness that is the I LOVE ZUMBO store and opposite there’s the imposing bars of steel and gold that is Momofuku Seiobo, the youngest in the Momofuku empire and a nod to its peach theme by being named after a Japanese goddess who is a guardian of a wonderous peach tree that only fruits once every three thousand years. Special. It is meant to be. Shame about being housed at the Star but I suppose it does well with the other Momofuku theme, luck.
I had never been on a solo fine dining before. Armed with my aunt’s SLR that I had taught myself to use a couple of hours earlier (forgot my camera at home in Melbourne, total fail), I just knew that as a F.A.B. (Female Asian Blogger – apparently a there are so many in Sydney that there is an acronym for us), noone would bat an eye lid at a single diner and her massive camera. I was totally right. And I have to say, being an SLR wanker for the weekend was so much fun.
(Snack plate from 12 o’clock – mochi, nori cracker, smoked potato with apple gel, shiitake crisp)
I think sitting at the counter is a must when you go to Momofuku Seiobo, half of the great fun about dining here is watching every move of the kitchen staff and anticipating what is coming up next. The very first course was a snack plate full of joyful little things. There was nothing exciting about them – just morsels of good, honest umami hits to whet your appetite. They succeeded. The shiitake crisp was crispy and shiittake-y. The smoked potato and apple gel reminded me of Collon. (just Google it)
(Momofuku steamed pork bun)
The second course of Momofuku pork bun arrived with a cute little bottle of Vietnamese chilli sauce (I refuse to call it Sriracha. It is not.) Everyone has heard of the Momofuku pork bun. Fortunately, you no longer need to fly all the way to New York for one. Unfortunately though, you still need to fly to Sydney. The bun was everything it was promised to be. Incredibly soft rice flour bun that just melts in your mouth with a lovely piece of fatty pork belly flavoured with hoisin sauce. It was good but it didn’t blow me away. I somehow thought it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the menu and the setting of Seoibo. This is the type of food that belongs on the bar menu (which it is, did you know there is a bar menu – no booking required, five seats only – at Momofuku Seiobo now? What are you waiting for?)
(Sea mullet sashimi with blood orange and nori powder)
The next course was three pieces of lovely sea mullet sashimi with a drizzle of blood orange and a sprinkling of nori powder. The freshness of the fish was undeniable and the blood orange lifted the freshness of the sea mullet but in the end it was just sashimi. Albeit very good sashimi. (more…)