Momofuku Seiobo (Gourmet Chick in Sydney)

Let’s just say that I momofuking loved Momofuku Seiobo.  Australia is lucky enough to have the only Momofuku restaurant outside New York (there’s four in Manhattan – Momofuku Noodle, Ssam bar, Ko, Milk Bar and Ma Peche).  I still haven’t made it to the New York Momofukus but became an instant fan of chef David Chang’s genius when I got my hands on the Momofuku cook book last year.

Potato with watercress and bottarga at Momofuku Seiobo

A trip to Sydney was the perfect excuse to book in to Momofuku with MTV and two lovely ex London friends turned Sydney-siders Deb of Vintage Macaroon and Rebecca of Wee Birdy.  The attraction was not just the David Chang name but also the crazily talented head chef Ben Greeno who was making waves in London as one of the three “Young Turks” when we all lived there.    

Rice crackers Momofuku style

Thankfully the restaurant is right next to the door of the casino so you don’t have to linger too long at StarCity.  Inside the space is sleek, black and polished with the dining room dominated by the large open kitchen which has a bar you can sit at running all the way around.  These are the best seats in the house so try and get them if you can.

The famous Momofuku Seiobo pork bun

The lunch menu is a relative bargain compared to dinner at $100 a head (it is an extra $60 for matched drinks or $30 for matched juice) and it’s a magical mystery ride of unusual ingredients and unexpected flavour pairings.  Things kick off with a plate of rice crackers flavoured with nori, blood and chicharone (fried pork rind).  It’s perfect drinking food with that addictive combination of saltiness and crispiness.

Kingfish with celery and mustard at Momofuku Seiobo

The best known dish at Momofuku is the famous steamed bun which encases salty braised pork belly with pickled cucumber, hoisin and a squirt of Sriracha chilli sauce.  It’s what Chang is best known for and it’s certainly a “wow” dish but some of the other dishes on the menu are even better.

My favourite dish – miso with spanner crab at Momofuku Seiobo

The sashimi course featured folds of delicate Kingfish dotted on a plate with celery and mustard.  It was clean and refreshing after the pork buns.   A dish of baby potatoes dotted with watercress and bottarga (fish roe) was beautifully plated, however my favourite dish was one of the least spectacular looking.    A bowl of miso was topped with delicate, sweet flakes of spanner crab and then fried panko to add crunch and textural contrast.  Forget the pork bun, this was genius.

Mulloway at Momofuku Seiobo

There was more to come, a plate draped with ribbons of zucchini alongside black garlic and golden egg yolk was soft and silky. A dish of crisp skinned Mulloway delighted thanks to the warm, grilled lettuce it was served with.  On paper grilled lettuce sounds horrendous, in reality it was sensational and a hit of young garlic and smoked roe really brought out the flavours.

Pork neck at Momofuku Seiobo

Pork neck with oyster and cabbage reminded me of a take on the traditional Irish dish of bacon and cabbage with the soft rolls of cabbage acting as the perfect compliment to the salty pork.

The cheese course is really clever and almost made me laugh out loud with shaved c2 cheese topped with a crisp bread of cider rye and dotted with sweet little dots of jelly.  c2 is a Bruny Island cheese and the only unpasturised cheese you can serve in Australia.  I thought the meal had finished with a bang with a dessert of pear, honey cream and native muntries but that was before I experienced the Momofuku donut.  This was the most sensational deep fried sugary taste sensation oozing with chocolate pork fat – amazing.

Pear honey cream and muntries at Momofuku Seiobo

The matched drinks are really good although interestingly consisted entirely of sake and French wines rather than any Aussie varieties.  Sommelier Rich Hargreave has a sterling reputation and I was particularly impressed by the Viti Vini Vinci  2010 Saint Bris from France which was truly amazing.  The wine is made with organically grown grapes and a minimal intervention and was really lively and crisp.  Rebecca had the juice pairing which was a good alternative for non-drinkers.

The Momofuku Siebo kitchen at work

My lasting impression of Momofuku was of an exhilarating meal.  I enjoyed the face time with the chefs as they brought each dish along with the theatre of seeing them finish off the dishes in front of us.  With an Angus Young picture on the wall and a soundtrack skipping from Radiohead to Nick Cave, Momofuku is a restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Just Momofuku go – it really is that good.

Momofuku Seiobo’s donut with chocolate caramel pork fat – so, so good 

*A note about booking Momofuku Seiobo: you have to book 10 days ahead via the Momofuku website.  Besides this requirement the whole process is actually quite painless (speakig as someone who went through the lottery system for El Bulli tickets for three years with no success).  Pre register at the website before the day you want to book then to save time then on the day in question log in just before 10am and madly press refresh.  It worked a treat for me and in the end on our Saturday lunch visit I actually think the restaurant was not booked out so walk ins would probably have been possible.

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Details: Momofuku Seiobo, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, Sydney, NSW, Australia. 
Damage: Budget breaking.  Our meal was $320 for two. $100 per head for the food and $60 for head for the drinks pairing. 
Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

Gourmet Giveaway
Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway for Gourmet Chick’s fourth birthday – the winners of two Hardie Grant cook books and two pairs of tickets to a cooking class at L’Atelier are Sophie of Edible Posts, Amy Lunn and Blue Apocalypse.  


  1. Sounds amazing! However did you get a reservation.

  2. A 10/10? I have to check this place out – especially as $160 for wine and food is still a bargain in my eyes.

    So happy I won the comp too 🙂 Looking forward to making full use of the book!

  3. Ah, so glad you managed to squeeze it into your Sydney itinerary, I knew you’d love it. And SNAP – the miso and crab was my favourite dish too! Wish I’d had the chance to try the donut though.

  4. An excellent incentive return home to Sydney. Loved all the momofukus in NYC; the look of this reminds me the most of Momofuku Ko.

  5. Oh wow – you lucky Aussies. Rumour has it Momofuku is opening in London, too.

  6. Nice to see that the items do change from time and time again and I agree 🙂 I momofuku-ing love Seiobo 🙂

  7. A Girl Has to Eat – It was actually a lot simpler than quite a few other restaurant bookings.

    Sophie – Yes I think $160 was pretty good all up.

    Claire – YES! It was the best – so clever and I loved the textures.

    Tori – It makes the return a little easier.

    Katy – That’s a good rumour!

    Ms IHua – Has the menu changed much since you were there?

  8. I’m going for my bday next week and I am SO excited!! pity I couldn’t go with you but still, excited about next week. Sorry to be a nit picker but at the start you said there are 4 Momofukus in NYC and listed 5 🙂 And technically there are 2 Milk Bars 🙂 SORRY! I can’t help it 🙁 hahaha. anyway, everything looks delish!!

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