Momofuku Seiōbo, The Star, Pyrmont

IMG_4759[1] Momofuku pork bun. My first ever encounter with Momofuku Seiōbo did not include the famous melt-in-mouth pork belly sandwiched between a fluffy, pillowy bun. Yes, I did have the dinner degustation menu. Yes, it was still on the menu one week before I visited. No, I did not get to try it. Momofuku was always on my to-eat list but with mixed reviews, a reservation too hard to secure and a price of $185 for the degustation menu, my visit just had to wait. The time finally came. Could you imagine my excitement when the surprise dinner which my friend had organised was indeed at Momofuku Seiōbo? IMG_4760[1] The kitchen dominates the room, with diners seated at the bench around the chefs at work. There are a small number of tables of four in the area between the kitchen and the bar but the seats with a view of chefs in action are always the best. Here, the chefs prepare your food and serve them to you directly with details about the dish as there is no menu until the end. We decided to also go with the non alcoholic beverage pairing with consisted of soda, tea, fruit and vegetable juices. IMG_4763[1] Before our snacks, we received our first beverage pairing which was an iced tea brewed with soda water. After a few sips of tea, a triplet of snacks arrived. We were told to first sample the freshly sweet crab and chickpea, then we tried the beetroot and black garlic which tasted distinctly of the hoisin sauce it was served with. The veal and egg yolk was nice and creamy, contrasting with the crispy tart base. IMG_4356[1] The snacks continued with the parson’s nose with ocean trout roe. The parson’s nose was fried till crunchy but was bursting with fat and juice when I bit into it. The ocean trout roe was bursting with umami and was an essential element to this snack. IMG_4357[1] I have a love-hate relationship with the truffle toastie that came next. Love – because truffle and cheese go perfectly together which made it such an indulgent and tasty toastie. Hate – because this replaced the famous Momofuku pork bun that I now have to visit the bar to try. IMG_4743[1] Then came one of my favourite dishes of the night – the black pudding served on a bed of rich and creamy mushroom puree, topped with celeriac. It was a rich and moreish dish, and made me even more excited than I was already of what was to come. IMG_4360[1] IMG_4361[1] This rich dish was paired with my friend’s favourite beverage of the night, the grape juice. My favourite beverage followed, a watermelon juice without its pulp that you usually find. IMG_4766[1] I’ve seen and heard so much about the radish, seared wagyu, burnt watermelon oil and fermented black bean. The wagyu was nicely seared but diced way too small and there was too much radish so I can’t say that I enjoyed this dish too much. We later overheard the waitperson telling the couple next to us to mix up all the components of the dish before eating it which we didn’t, so it may have affected the flavours. Photo 23-06-2014 4 06 38 pm Photo 23-06-2014 4 09 55 pm The roasted green tea was paired with seared abalone, sunflower seed miso, artichoke. Tender and caramelised abalone with the artichoke and smoked sunflower seed miso worked amazingly and was one of my favourites of the night. Photo 23-06-2014 4 10 16 pmI really dislike carrot and the next beverage being carrot juice did not change my mind either. The smooth and creamy carrot puree in the next dish did, however. The flounder on the bone was pleasingly soft and cooked perfectly – it was one of the most beautiful pieces of fish I’ve tasted. I loved this dish, but I left the roasted carrot untouched. Photo 5-07-2014 3 49 56 pm The pear and fennel juice tasted somewhat savoury. It was interesting but make sure you drink it whilst it’s still cold because it tasted even more savoury after we left it for a while. Growing up in a Chinese family meant that I’ve had many opportunities to eat offal and in particular, tripe. I loved how the veal tripe was cooked two ways – crunchy after being deep fried; and the chewy texture which I’m more used to after being braised. Tripe and daikon go hand in hand as the daikon soaks up all the sauce that the tripe is braised in and in this case, it was the flavoursome XO sauce. Photo 5-07-2014 3 51 44 pm I never thought the combination of pumpkin and mandarin would work, especially as a juice, but it did. The juice matched well with smoked duck breast and red cabbage with a barbecue sauce made of pumpkin. The skin of the smoked duck breast was the thinnest and crispiest I have ever eaten with all the fat rendered off. However, I found the meat itself was not as tender as I expected as it was quite tough to cut. Photo 5-07-2014 3 55 37 pm What came next was Momofuku’s version of a cheese course. The C2 cheese they used is a cheddar-like cheese sourced from the mountains of France. The potato tart was served cold, with thinly sliced potato arranged in a floral manner on a sweet, buttery pastry base. Although it consisted of potato, I mainly tasted the sweetness of the tart base and even the cheese had a milky sweetness to it. Photo 5-07-2014 3 59 26 pm Our final beverage was the rhubarb soda which was refreshing and tart. Photo 6-07-2014 10 35 42 am Our first dessert arrived and it was the quince and almond tart. It was my first time eating quince and I liked the tartness of it. The almond sablé was short and crumbly but I thought the dessert could have been improved if there was less of the poached quince and more of the caramel ice cream. More ice cream is always better, right? Photo 5-07-2014 4 01 57 pm Photo 5-07-2014 4 02 31 pm We were completely stuffed but we had to soldier on for this last dessert of meringue, sweet corn custard and chevril ice cream. It looked very simple but the fresh, clean flavour of the ice cream worked surprisingly well. The flavours were well-matched but I personally prefer meringue with a crispy exterior and soft interior instead of the hard meringue served on this occasion. Photo 5-07-2014 4 05 45 pm   Oh, and the petit fours! This was only the second canele I’ve ever tasted but I found it amazing with a crunchy outside and inside that was soft and had the right amount of rum and vanilla flavours. Photo 5-07-2014 4 08 54 pm Photo 5-07-2014 3 56 19 pm Thank you to my friend for such a sweet surprise! I will visit the bar for the pork buns very soon. – C Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon

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10 thoughts on “Momofuku Seiōbo, The Star, Pyrmont

  1. Truffle toastie is not that bad a replacement for pork bun hehe. But you are right, you do need to go back for the bar menu so you can try the pork bun. The thing that I remember the most about my meal at Momofuku is how big the menu is. I eat a lot and even I felt like I was going to explode lol!

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