TOP 100 QUEST: MOMOFUKU SEIOBO, Sydney
I often get asked ‘What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever been to?’ In Australia, this is it. Ok – I won’t lie – this place was hard to get into. You can only book online, and you can’t book too far in advance – which makes it a little difficult when you’re trying to make travel plans around it. It’s even harder when you’re wanting a table for 1 or 2 people. At the time I was trying to book, they were releasing tables for 4 people first, and smaller tables were only made available a couple of days prior (not sure if this is still the case). I tried and tried and tried – I even attempted emailing to plead my case (to no avail), and I almost gave up. I’m glad I didn’t.
This restaurant hails from David Chang’s Momofuku in New York City. It was 2013 when I dined at Momofuku Seiobo, well before I started writing my reviews (‘Seiobo’ is the Japanese goddess of the west). After finally scoring a booking, I was really excited, but also a little worried that after my frustrating booking experience, perhaps there’d be an air of arrogance about the place. On the contrary! The staff were gracious, friendly and accommodating – which is just what you want when you’re dining alone. I was thankfully sat up at the bench that surrounds the kitchen so I had an excellent view of the cooking and plating up and it also made it easy to chat with the chefs.
What an experience this was. I am happy to say that my dinner at Momofuku currently rates as my NUMBER ONE dining experience of all time in Australia. Yes – out of all of the restaurants I’ve been to over the years, I rank this as the best and most memorable. I won’t write too much about the food as my memory for the finer details from two years ago are a bit sketchy, but the tasting menu of the day consisted of:
- Smoked eel roll with apple sauce
- David Chang’s famous Pork bun with sriracha (I was so excited to finally have one of these in front of me!)
- Pink snapper with celery and mustard
- Potato in beef fat with parsons nose and trout roe
- Seared Wagyu beef with watermelon, radish and salted black bean
- Wagyu beef tongue with shaved fennel and watercress
- Congee with Serrano ham and earl grey tea
- Broccoli, marron and seaweed butter
- Roasted squab w eggplant and onions
- Goats curd yoghurt with cucumber and raspberry sorbet
- Roasted pineapple, white chocolate and sesame seeds
- Caramelised pork shoulder
Everything was excellent, and I had the matched wines. And, just when I thought my evening couldn’t get any better, who was sitting just a few seats down from me also enjoying a meal? None other than well-known Melbourne restaurateur Andrew McConnell! (Of course, I had to go and say hello and take advantage of the photo opportunity!) He was lovely and very humble.
It was a perfect evening in every way.