Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Momofuku Seiobo

We were offered a booking at Momofuku Seiobo when it first opened in October 2011.  We were staying in a fabulous suite at the brand new Darling Hotel at the Star Casino and the Concierge offered us a booking, but something came up and we couldn't take the last minute availability.  Been regretting it ever since, as it is a pain to book.  You can only book online, and have to register first. 
The booking page only shows 10 days in advance - and usually is just full of X's.   This snapshot was taken at 10.13 am this morning and all bookings taken.
I decided I was going to get a booking that day, and logged in around 9 am one morning.  I was told bookings would only be available from 10.00 am, so I was all ready to push 'Enter' at 10.00 am on the dot - and wonders of wonders, had several choices available.  You are told you only have seconds to confirm, so I just grabbed the first one - which was at 6.30 pm last night (two weeks hence from the booking date).  I was then directed to a website where I had to provide my credit card, and agree to be charged if I didn't turn up.  I had another ticking clock - 110 seconds, to input my credit card details.  Bloody hell.  Pressure, pressure - but I did.  I then received a reminder email the day before the booking (you pay a cancellation fee of $175 per person if you cancel within 24 hours of the booking), then a phone call confirming the reservation the day of the booking.

We made sure we arrived on time, but found the doors locked - we were a minute early.  So checked out Adrian Zumbo opposite till we heard the doors open! 
We were thrilled to be offered a seat at the kitchen bench - front and centre.
Momofuku Seiobo is the first Momofuku restaurant outside New York.    Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssam Bar (2 Michelin Stars and one of the 50 Best Restaurants of the World), Komofuku Ko and Ma Peche, and five Momofuku Milk Bar bakery outlets - are all in New York.   Seiobo is the Japanese Goddess of the West and her sign is the peach tree.  The only Goddess I saw was was a print of Angus Young from ACDC resplendent in his school uniform.
David Chang (30's), New York's ground-breaking Korean-American Chef and one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People had arrived in Sydney to huge hype, but he sure delivers.
Momofuku Seiobo already has 3 Hats and Best New Restaurant 2012 - Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide; Restaurant of the Year 2012 - The Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards and Time Out Food Awards; New Restaurant of the Year 2012 - Gourmet Traveller.

Our Chef for the evening was Clayton Wells.
It was a pleasure to watch him and his team in action, and as his station was right in front of us, to watch him successfully juggle a full restaurant with everyone at different stages of food and wine.  So professional all of them, constantly wiping down surfaces and plates, and not a cross word to be heard.
We opted for the matched wines to the tasting menu at $95 per head, but worth it.  There were some amazing choices, most of which we would never have ordered.  They kindly emailed the wine list.  The Mukai Shuzo 'Ine Mankai' Junmai Genshu was made from red rice, looked like Rose, and tasted divine.  Have to buy some!  The wines were all a perfect compliment to the dish.  Our fabulous and very young wine waiter was very knowledgeable about all the wines.

beverage pairing
17 october 2012 

mutemuka shuzo 2011
junmai muroka nama genshu
kochi, japan

keller riesling trocken 2010
rheinhessen, germany

terres dorées jean paul brun chardonnay 2010
beaujolais, fr

mukai shuzo ‘ine mankai’ junmai genshu 2012
kyoto, japan

cotar vitovska 2007
kars, slovenia

domaine de l’r ‘no so2’ 2011
chinon, fr

eric bordelet poire ‘granit’ 2011
normandy. fr

toro albala ‘don px 2007’
montila, spain

 The tasting menu costs $175 per head. Not cheap, but..... This restaurant is why you go out for dinner. 
We ate:

A snack of Blood, Nori, Mochi, Smoked Eel.  Wow!

Steamed Bun; Pork, Cucumber, Hoisin.  Absolute Standout.

Pink Snapper; Celery, Mustard.  Delicate pieces of Snapper, picked celery and Mustard Oil (Wasabi).

Raw Purple Scallops; Rhubarb.  Really lovely - didn't know they existed.

Potato; Quandong, Bottarga.  I love potato and these crispy fried balls were fabulous.

Beef; Radish, Fermented Black Bean.  Bit too much raddish for my liking, but very good.

Quail; Courgette, Black Garlic. The Black Garlic was delicious.

Congee; Ham, Yolk.  I was nervous about this as I'm not a Congee fan, but this was nothing like Congee.  The egg yolks were fried!!!

Marron; Chickpea, Asparagus.  Barely cooked Marron, tender and juicy.

Shortrib; Eggplant, Kombu.  The burnt eggplant was interesting, but rich.  The meat melted in your mouth.   I was filling up big time by now!

C2; honey licorice, bee pollen.  This was actually grated cheese.

Blueberry Ice Cream; Passionfruit, long pepper with shards of White Chocolate Wafer.

Potato Ice Cream; Muntries.  Extraordinary - you could taste the potato.

then - to finish - believe it or not
Caramalised Pork Shoulder (which you ate with your fingers - so sweet and even though I was so so full, it was absolutely delicious.  I had watched the Sous Chef cook this from start to end.).
We were offered a final glass of our favourite tipple - we of course chose the Red Sake, and were given some Kim Chi to take home.
Momofuku Seiobo deserves every accolade.   I couldn't recommend it highly enough.  I have to give it 12/10.  Just register, sit on your computer ready to push the final 'Enter' at 10.00 am on the dot, and grab a booking.  I promise you it will be worth it.