|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.