Believe the hype: David Chang’s first Australian restaurant exceeds expectations
“This,” said the chef presenting us with our fifth dish, “is all of my hard work”.
Having watched him painstakingly arrange each slice of radish, we almost felt guilty digging in. But we just had to get to the black bean reduction and tender cubes of wagyu beef below the garden of radishes. This bowl of perfection was just one of 13 immaculate courses at David Chang’s Momofuku Seiōbo, located at the Star Casino in Sydney.
Other highlights included Chang’s famous steamed pork belly bun, plump marron with burnt eggplant purée and pickled rhubarb, and Yorkshire pudding and rich spanner crab. Our sweet spots were left bewildered yet satisfied thanks to potato ice cream; finely grated C2 cheese with star anise honeycomb and quince and cider jelly; and finally, whole caramalised pork shoulder cooked in brown sugar for seven hours and eaten with our hands.
To accompany the tasting menu is a selection of wine, beer, spirits and sake. Take part in the drinks pairing if you appreciate your booze, or go for the juice pairing option if you’re a teetotaler.
It all sounds wonderful in theory — and trust us, it tastes wonderful too — but booking a table is a feat. Reservations are taken via an online system, which opens exactly 10 days before you wish to visit. Although they accept walk-ins, tables sell out faster than Australia’s most popular music festivals. If you’re feeling lucky, there are five seats at the bar that are walk-in only, or you could pop out to the casino for a round of Black Jack and try again later.
Should you manage to get a booking, there are a few intimate tables next to the bar, but the best seats in the house frame the open kitchen. Patrons sit on raised chairs and watch the chefs hovering over rows of pastel blue and green bowls, fastidiously plating each course. At Momofuku, it’s as much about the theatrics as it is about the food. The dishes are crafted from seasonal ingredients, some of which are displayed in glass cabinets that separate the seating from the prep kitchen.
The dimly lit space is certainly sleek with its wooden and stainless steel finishes, but all eyes are on the kitchen, including those of AC/DC guitarist Angus Young, who is printed on the wall in black and white.
It’s hard to fault any of the 13 dishes served at Momofuku Seiōbo. Each is a harmony of presentation, texture and taste. Sure, it costs approximately $1.46 a minute excluding drinks, but would we do it again? Momo-fukun-lutely.
Need to know
Location: Level G The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Sydney
Open: Mon-Sat, 12pm-3pm & 6pm-12am