TOP 100 QUEST: MOMOFUKU SEIOBO, Sydney

Broccoli, marron and seaweed butter

 

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.

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