..... Enjoying life, one bite and plane ride at a time

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Momofuku Seiobo

To celebrate me ageing and getting old D took me to Momofuku while we were in Sydney. It's a place that I have wanted to visit for awhile now. Over my many trips to Sydney each year, I have never been successful in obtaining a table. So when I learned that we got a booking for my birthday I was super excited. I have read a lot of good things about David Chang and the Momofuku in New York so the Sydney branch has been on my 'to try' list for a very long time. We got a seat at the bar, so we got to watch the action in the kitchen.

Momofuku only offers a degustation option for $185; it is a 10 course meal so make sure you come with a lot of stomach space. You can also get a wine pairing with it - either a full pairing ($105) or a reduced pairing ($65) and if you are a responsible designated driver there is also the non alcoholic pairing option ($60).
The non alcoholic pairing was actually very interesting. I got the following drinks during the dinner.

Sweet Tea
Watermelon juice
Rhubarb soda
Cucumber lemon myrtle juice
Roasted green tea (house blend)
Blackcurrant and thyme
Ginger lemonade

Now to the food. For the first course it was a series of canapes. In small cups we got the crab chickpea filling, zucchini black garlic filling and carrot, mullet roe filling. I was quite fascinated with the intricacy in the construction of these. They were just small flavour explosions in your mouth and designed to open up your pallet for the remaining courses.

Next canape was the parson's nose with roe. This was basically fried chicken bum with roe. The chicken was very crispy and topped with the roe, it had a different twist to the typical fried chicken flavour composition  It tasted more like crispy fried chicken skin, than fried chicken itself. This was my favorite canape.

Final canape was the cep with hazelnut. Cep is a type of mushroom, it was served on a slice of toast. The mushroom creaminess with the hazelnut unexpectedly worked very well.

Second course was a scallop, kombu in duck broth. This was a big scallop ravioli with noodles and duck broth. The scallop ravioli was interesting but more on the bland side. The dish heavily relied on the strong flavors in the broth. It was nice but nothing breathtaking. Given it's play on the Chinese wonton noodle classic, a bit of green vegetable in there with a slice of shitaki mushroom would have made it more contemporary and added more textures.

Third course was waygu beef with radish and fermented black beans. This dish was very pretty and it's designed to be eaten mixed up so the prettiness is quickly covered in blackbeans. The waygu was cooked perfectly. I don't know what to think of this dish. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. D called it a very pretty black bean beef. It was very salty to eat on it's own, I think if I had a bowl of rice and maybe another dish to balance it out I would enjoy it a lot more. On it's own, it was a bit too much.

Fourth dish was the maron with pea and pistachio. The marron was fresh and light, which made it a nice contrast to the prior course of wagyu. The pea, pistachio was an interesting combination but it wasn't something that made me want more of. The marron on it's own was juicy and succulent - it didn't really need anything else to go with it.

Fifth dish was John Dory with broccoli and lemon. I usually love John Dory and this time it wasn't any different. The lemon sauce helps bring out the natural flavours of the fish. The broccolini was a steep and well balance contrast to the lemon curd especially with the almond flakes.

Sixth dish was the partridge with truffle and endive (looks like a mini baby wom bok but with much stronger flavors). The partridge was cooked perfectly but the hero of this dish was that truffle puree. It was intense, it was smooth it was just beautiful. I wanted to lick the plate. The endive on the side was interesting but I was too focused on the truffle.

Seventh dish was duck with rye and swede. The duck has a crispy skin and cooked with the centre just pink. Swede on the side was interesting, I've never had swede before, when I saw it, I was imagining it to taste like something potato-y. However it was nothing like that. The root was vegetable had more bite than I expected, it was more a turnip with a bite laced with the flavours of rye.

Eighth was the start of the desserts, ewe's curd with choux and rose water syrup.  The choux was like a profiterole with the ewe's curd filling. Unlike a profiterole, this was heavier and had a denser texture. The curd was nice and fluffy and the rose water syrup provided the sweetness. The rose water syrup was the key element that ties this dish together.

Ninth was the corn, chevril and anise. This was a corn custard with a anise meringue and chevril ice cream. I love cracking the meringue, the sweetness of the meringue together with the sweet corn taste balanced out the chervil (tasted like parsley). I won't say I would normally go for this type of dessert, but it was interesting to try.

As a bonus, because we were there for my birthday we got a chocolate log to share prior to the final dessert. This was a decadent chocolate mousse cake with chocolate chips on the side. It was so rich and intense. I was so full at this point but it tasted so good. Fortunately the host was really nice and gave us a box so we could take it home and enjoy the next day.

Tenth was the artichoke, pear and sunflower. This was a chocolate caramel artichoke underneath those beautifully arranged slices of pear. I found this one very interesting with their choice of ingredients and pairing. It is not something I would think goes well together but it did. Nice surprise.

Final dish was a canele that had a beeswax finish. It was their version of a classic French dessert. Sadly I was so full at this point I couldn't finish it and just had regrets the next morning. It has a caramelised crunchy exterior and a solid custard spongy interior.

As a take home gift we were given sachets of their house tea brew (which was offered as part of the non alcoholic pairing). I found this as a nice touch, that added to the experience.

Overall 17.5/20 I was impressed with the creativity in a lot of the dishes but it didn't completely live up to the hype. Given how difficult it was to secure a booking and the constant raves in the media and food blogs I was slightly disappointed that I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped to. I was really hoping to get the pork bun, as it was something that others had spoken fondly of. It was still a great experience but just fell short of my expectations.

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