Most years, I like to do a few food adventures with my friend Kitty. I joke that she eats like there’s a fat little boy inside her but it’s no joke. The girl has one hell of an appetite.
But she’s still slim, petite and quite svelte. Luckily, Kitty dances every little bite off. So what is a food adventure? Basically we go out and enjoy some great food, an unusual cuisine maybe in an area of the city we don’t usually hang out in. Or we visit ethnic grocery stores to find new ingredients to cook with. We then eat and snack until we wave a white flag. Since I don’t dance 8 times a week, it’s lucky that we only do a food adventure about three times a year.
This year for Kitty’s birthday, I took her to Momofuku Seibo.
The Momofuku chain of restaurants is owned/created by David Chang, an American chef with a Korean background. The first of the Momofuku sites to be operated outside New York is in Sydney, Australia. It’s in the renovated casino complex, now renamed ‘The Star’ in Pyrmont.
My first impressions were of a dim (but not dingy), cool space with dark tones and wood. The small tables were spaced out very widely.
Above is a shot I took from the bar seating area of the open kitchen. It’s calm, precise and spacious. I liked the low buzz in the place. Those ‘too cool for school’ tiny bars & diners where you’re squeezed in to the point where your neighbour’s elbows are digging into your ribs have their place but Seibo is lovely and private. Maybe not so much at the bar; at one point I scoffed to Kitty that ‘there’s nothing wrong with morning sex’ and apparently a chef in the kitchen turned around to look at us. But keep your voice at a medium-low volume and the vibe is very comfortable.
But what about the food, THE FOOD you ask?! It’s great and very memorable. Other than deciding if you want alcohol with your meal, the courses (15 in total on our visit) are set and come out at a leisurely pace.
Yes, there is the famous pork bun. An unimaginably pillow soft steamed bun folded around a fall apart tender slice of pork belly with hoisin sauce. Cute mini Sriracha chilli bottle on the side to squirt to taste. If you’ve never had it before, imagine a peking duck wrap with the softest fluffy dough instead.
At the restaurant, just sit back and enjoy the multiple courses. Chat with your friends or partner as half the fun is your company. Also, please go with an empty stomach! Both Kitty and I struggled towards the end and we’re very able eaters.
Be warned that David Chang has a bit of a pork obsession so the menu will probably always include some porcine delights. For example, after not one but two dessert courses including ice cream, what comes out to finish the meal? A glistening, shiny and sweetly glazed piece of 8 hour slow roasted pork shoulder. A sizable semi-shredded hunk that you eat caveman style with your hands. Heaven for those that have porky dreams.
Plus, the service is fantastic and friendly. Neither in your face nor too scarce. Getting a booking on the other hand (they only do online bookings from 10 days out, only take singles, doubles or groups of 4, bookings page open from 10am onwards etc etc) is enough to make you tear your hair out and is a whole other story. But be patient and if you go as a single diner, it isn’t actually so difficult.
All in all, it was a perfect food adventure. Happy birthday, Kitty!