I do consider myself quite a lucky girl. Not many can say that they have eaten at 2 Momofuku joint. The first was the infamous Momofuku Ko in New York City when we were travelling last year. There was a few amazing dishes that still make me smile when I think of them. Any form of photography was not allowed at Momofuku Ko and so the blog post was just text. I really wish I could take the photos for remembrance but I guess it made me want to remember the taste more because I can’t take the photos. Hope I am making sense.
The couple of dishes that I can still remember quite vividly was the home made macaroni cooked with smokey chorizo and coated with onion and pea sauce. It is topped with tender and juicy chopped octopus meat and then freshened up with fresh peashoot. O-M-G Just bursting with deep and rich flavours. YUM! And then the first dessert which is the very memorable Foie gras powder with a surprise of whole fresh lychee, Riesling gélee and pine nut brittle. W-T-F just happened? An explosion of cleverly executed flavours once it hits the tongue. AMAZING.
I was really excited when the booking went through in the first try! Maybe I do have some Momofuku lucky charm? We were early and got to sit at the tiny bar that is catered for not more than 6. And photos can be taken at Momofuku Seiobo. I wonder why this is so?
David Chang is a clever cook. Not the best but definitely clever. From the 2 kitchens that I have observed, he has managed both like army discipline and precision. There is little panic and everyone knows their station and their role in this open space kitchen. The kitchen was the stage that provided us with the entertainment. This kitchen was twice the size of the one in Ko.
I was a little ill that evening and therefore opted for the juice matching. It is an additional of $55. I thought it was a great but expensive idea. For the first 2 courses, I had watermelon juice. The first course of the evening was a delicious and moorish plate of snacks – shitake chips, nori, mochi and smoked potato. The smoked potato was quite interested. Slightly and delicately smoked with an apple gel. The shitake chips and nori that is wrapped in cracker can be my favourite snack this year. The mochi was a touch weird for me.
The second course is the infamous Momofuku pork buns. I reckon I had super expectations or because I have had many variations of pork buns made by fellow food lovers and bloggers that it killed it for me. And it might also be due to the fact that I grew up in Singapore and have had many pork belly buns in my lifetime. It was good but not spectacular. The bun was well made. Soft, slightly bouncy and light. The pork belly was melt in the mouth and it was very well presented by a tiny bottle of Sriracha sauce! So cute! But still, it is just a glorified pork bun. By the way, this is available in the bar menu. You can actually walk in for drinks and bar food.
The third course was the sea mullet. Paper thin slices of sea mullet that is clothed in a Szechuan pepper and nectarine dressing. The interesting bit of this dish is not the taste but the texture. It was topped with deep fried fish scales. Nice delicate crunch but overall, the dish was a little bland. I reckon it was a precursor to the next couple of dishes that is packed with flavour. The accompanying juice for the next 2 courses is the very refreshing cucumber.
The fourth couse is the marron. O-M-G! We have arrived at flavour city. So clever, so unique, so exciting! Great play of the aniseed flavour. The black blob is a squid ink puree and it seems that is a touch of licorice? I am not a fan of it but this was amazing. The Australian prawn is perfectly cooked and still has that texture and seafood crunch. The poached soft fennel sits dainty on the top. The light green broth tastes like cucumber and dill? So refreshing. So much to love about this dish.
The fifth dish and one of my favourite of the night is beef. It was also the perfect match with the beetroot juice. The paper thin slices of radish hides this burnt like flavoured wagyu cubes. I reckon the black sprinkles on top is the black bean paste powder? The wagyu is cooked well and it’s the sauce is kind of burnt tasting but not offensive. I can’t explain this dish well but it tasted seriously good. I just wanted more. The radish did its job of cutting through the richness. We could see nodding heads all round the counter. AMAZING dish. I was so excited to move on.
I think I counted about 18 stools. I might be wrong. Not everyone arrived at the same time. There are 3 time slots to choose from. It is quite clever how David Chang came up with this idea. It relieves a lot of pressure in the kitchen and dishes that comes of the kitchen is personally checked by the head chef. Nothing leaves unless he gives the nod. All of us are served by the chefs. Even the 5 or 6 tables in the dining area is served by them. There are no waiters except the ones that serves drinks only.
The sixth course is the smoked eel. I love Jerusalem artichoke. It was a little al dente. I thought the smoked eel was a little too smokey for my liking. The pink grapefruit sauce was welcomed but this is not my favourite. It was accompanied by a bowl of dashi soup. Very umami!
The seventh course is the spanner crab. This is one of Mister’s favourite and I loved it as well. The spanner crab is from Queensland and it was so sweet! The Yorkshire pudding was served tall but it just went poof when we ate it. So light and yummy. And the sauce. O-M-G… the sauce had a nice chilli kick and it was thick, seafood sweet and creamy like. I can lick the plate. Yes I can. It reminds me of the chilli crab sauce. The accompanied juice is apple custard. YUM!
Egg is the eighth course. I wonder if it done on purpose. Slow cooked custard egg that is sprinkled with toasted rice and green tea and drizzled with brown butter. What is not to love about this dish. It hit the right spots over and over again. Just look at the egg. Oh MAN… it was heavenly. It was like I want to and hug David Chang. This guy know what makes people tick. This is tick tick tick all the way.
Mister loved this dish. I thought the pasta was just slightly undercooked. The ninth course is the pea agnoloti. The parmesan is the foamy looking blob on the side. It seems that it had a touch of chilli heat in it? It is like air. The dish is topped with crispy bacon and the pea filling is as sweet as it can be. Almost forgot but I had carrot juice for the next 2 courses.
On the tenth course and we go back to a fish dish – Malloway. This fish was cooked to perfection. The gem cabbage was grilled and there were slices of kohlrabi to provide the freshness. I am not sure what is the crunchness bits but it’s good! The sauce is a combination of fish stock, chicken stock and dashi. And I can’t remember what that ash thing is. The white bits are the salmon roe mousse. YUM!
Not sure if you can see this but the music is played from either an iPod or iTouch or one of the chefs iPhone. It can be jazz or blues or whatever music. There is no set theme. This is the same at Ko in New York City.
The eleventh course is the last meat course or is it? We were served the lamb neck. Very tender lamb neck with char grilled pickled onions and spring onion. It has a generous dose of mustard seeds and bits of pearl barley. This was served with red currant juice!
Now for desserts. The twelfth and first dessert dish is c2. This is a really clever dish. Very simple but clever. It’s a cheese course. The cider jelly is hidden below the grated cow cheese. The honey licorice is thin and breaks on contact.
The thirteen dish is a rose, pistachio and peach ice cream. The white shards are meringue like. Very creamy and at this point, I was definitely tipping over. The next two courses is accompanied by passion fruit juice.
The fourteen and the last dessert was my favourite. It’s a beautiful and creamy miso ice cream with black sesame and macerated cherries. The crumble on top is sweet and salty at the same time. I really love this dessert and it is a nice way to finish off the meal.
I took a little video of the action in the kitchen. This guy in the video was the one that cooked for us in Ko as well. We remembered him and what he told us at the time. He told us about Sydney and how he was heading this way. It is interesting how people cross paths in a lifetime.
I saw a piece of drool factor looking pork at the far end of the kitchen. I knew we were having it. Both Mister and I were waiting for it. And then, as the very last course, we were served an eight hour slow cook pork. No cutlery allowed. Only hands. And with lots of pleasure
David Chang is not the best or most experience but to quote Anthony Bourdain – “He’s not a great chef – as he’d be the first to admit…. But he’s an important chef, a man who, in a ridiculous brief period of time, changed the landscape of dining, created a new model for high-end eateries.”
80 Pyrmont Street, Sydney NSW 2009