Restaurant Review by Franz Scheurer
Momofuku Seiōbo is one of the many new restaurants in The Star in Sydney. David Chang’s reputation and the fame of his restaurants preceded him to Sydney and when he opened this was one place that had to rock from day one. Expectations were extremely high and considering what this restaurant had to live up to they managed to deliver. Restaurant critics were waxing lyrical and the place was basically packed from day one.
I decided to wait a little. Let the people become a team, wait till the head honcho from New York departed and left Ben Greeno in place as head chef. Ben is not only a gifted chef; he keeps his team in check. With the totally open kitchen there is need for quiet and discipline and these guys excel at it.
When you first walk in you see a small desk; they guide you to your table from there and there is a very small bar on the left. The reservation system at Momofuku Seiōbo is as quirky as all David Chang venues: you can book on line only, with only a short reservation lead time and the reservation system is closed between midnight and 10am. But they have now opened the bar to walk-ins and you can have a drink and some great bar-food right there. (pssssst! But you can order the incredible pork bun there!)
The food at Momofuku Seiōbo is real comfort food despite how tricked up it might be; it sings not just cerebrally but tears at your heartstrings. There is no doubt that you will walk out totally sated with the feeling that this was one of the most memorable meals you had in a long time.
The wine side is taken care of by consultant Charles Leong, whose wealth of knowledge is legendary and Richard Hargreave on the floor, who’s incredibly adept at explaining the various drinks and a wizard at matching. I am impressed by both his knowledge and his people skills.
Last night we had:
shiitake chip, nori, mocha, smoked potato
pork belly, cucumber, hosin
nectarine, Szechuan pepper
radish, fermented black bean
Jerusalem artichoke, pink grapefruit
old bay, Yorkshire pudding
toasted rice, brown butter
smoked roe, lettuce
onions, mustard seeds
honey liquorice, bee pollen
cherries, black sesame
followed by caramelised pork shoulder!
How good was this! Yes, the famous pork bun was every bit as good as expected; probably even better and it really was impossible to single out a dish of the night. I adored the snacks, the marron, the smoked eel, the crab, the agnolotti, the C2 and the miso and I thought the caramelised pork shoulder was a stroke of genius. I did not like the beef dish with the radishes and the fermented black beans. Although a great idea, last night’s dish lacked seasoning. Without a good pinch of salt the dish falls flat and the saltiness in the black beans is not enough to lift it and this made the glorious red rice sake that Richard served with it appear too sweet. Today a single dish crystallises out as probably the dish of the night, and it was the miso; what an incredibly clever dessert.
Service (both from the floor staff and the chefs) was flawless, friendly, informed and engaging and I love the fact that each dish is explained by a chef when it is served.
Would I go again? Yes unequivocally.
Best dish: the miso dessert
Noise: 72 DB
For bookings go to: http://www.momofuku.com/
80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009