Monday, June 4, 2012

Momofuku Seiōbo: One of everything at the bar

It’s not all that often that I order one of everything on a menu. Indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever done it before. Before Momofuku Seiōbo, that is.

Momofuku Seiōbo has been thrilling Sydney-siders and visitors alike since opening at The Star in October last year. After an initial stint post opening, chef and restaurateur David Chang isn't often seen in the dark and cell-like restaurant (from the outside) but apparently does drop in when he’s in town.

The view from the bar at Momofuku Seiōbo, The Star, Pyrmont
One evening, when our original dinner plans went awry, we happened to pass by the heavy bars of Momofuku Seiōbo and spotted four empty seats at the bar.

There’s a no-reservations system for the bar area, and it looks on in the distance to the kitchen and degustation diners. Dinner is sorted by indicating on the paper menu how many of the six bar menu items we’d like – one of everything, please.

Seasonal pickles
As we got our drinks sorted – the gorgeous Mutemuka Shizo 2010, Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu sake from the Kochi Prefecture in Japan – it didn’t take long at all for the huge dish of pickles to arrive before us at the bar.

The variety and large serving size were impressive, with my favourite easily being the kimchi, which had a stock-like depth beneath the chilli flavour. There was something very natural and serene about the presentation of pickled onions, radishes, daikon, cucumber, beetroot, shitake mushrooms and carrot.

Pickled egg
The single pickled egg was pretty much just that – a single, peeled, pickled egg split in half, revealing a bright, gooey yolk. There was a familiar kind-of-sour, kind-of-sweet flavour to the hard-boiled egg and I couldn't help feeling very much like Moe Szyslak for a moment.

Confit chicken wings
Things got a little more interesting and started arriving all together with quite a large plate of browned chicken wings – both mid-wings and drumettes – garnished with shallots and chilli. While tender and well-seasoned, there wasn’t a ‘wow’ factor to the wings other than their ability to get the mouth watering on sight.

Spicy roasted rice cakes
The undoubtedly Korean dish of spicy roasted rice cakes, or tteokbokki, would be a treat for those who like Korean rice cakes, of which I am unfortunately not one. The spicy sauce was, however, spot-on with the chewy, cylinders of carbohydrates showered with sesame seeds.

Pork buns
And then there were the infamous pork buns. With two to a serve, they’re actually smaller than I had anticipated, although I can now understand how people can declare their desires to eat ten of these. I think I could too, if I was particularly hungry.

After hearing so much hype and seeing so many imitations (including my own, not-so-successful attempt at home), it was always going to be difficult to beat the expectations.

The bun was soft, nearing squishy, and held the sweet pork and lightly pickled cucumber, and with a few squeezes of the not-very-hot Sriracha chilli sauce, the pork bun was a few mouthfuls of contentment.

Spanner crab roll, celery salt chips
But the spanner crab roll was there to save the evening. The crunchy potato crisps were a great start although the celery salt was a little lost on me.

The toasted brioche hot dog-style bun was filled to the brim with a creamy mayonnaise-dressed mix of spanner crab flesh, chopped celery and herbs and other goodness that made this the menu item worth fighting over and perhaps ordering doubles.

Between two people, one of everything at the bar was probably enough for a light dinner. The Momofuku Seiōbo bar is probably not a place to sit and linger too long over a stemless glass of sake: one might get jealous of the degustation diners and go another one of everything at the bar.

Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon


MissPiggy said...

I'd happily sit at the bar and eat one of actually appeals to me more than the dego.

gaby @ lateraleating said...

Gorgeous pickles!

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

I've done the bar and the degustation. I couldn't afford to eat the dego again so went to the bar. You're right, it's still a rather light dinner but how amazing is everything? I love the pork buns (I had 4 to myself the other time)!!

joey@FoodiePop said...

The bar is a great idea, especially for those who just want to have the famous pork bun. The spanner crab roll does look delicious. :-)

SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said...

The pickles, the pork bun and that crab roll... the dego meal CAN'T be any better than that! What a great meal you had!

tastyfoodsnaps said...

i only really want to go for the pork buns at momofuku.. so this is perfect! the spanner crab roll looks good too (:

Billy @ A Table For Two said...

is it just me or the spanner crab roll looks like coleslaw? hahahah
I am yet to go there but in no rush for some reason.

MoMo and Coco Dessert Correspondents said...

No sweet things on offer? :(

Flick Your Food said...

I like they have the option of the bar menu, still not sold on their dego.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

that's a lot of pickles! I love the spanner crab roll :9

Anonymous said...

mmm... i'm keen to try this spanner crab roll too...

Richard Elliot said...

Sounds like you were a little mixed on the evening?

Joseph said...

I don't think I have ever ordered everything on the menu either but I could easily eat all that :)

How much was it all??

Tina said...

Hi MissPiggy - I think it's the deg pricing and the reservations that turns me off it... :/

Hi gaby - They were great; and so many too!

Hi Tina - You'd have to double up on things, especially the crab roll!

Hi joey - I'd definitely recommend the crab roll, particularly as it's a bit more filling than the other bar menu items.

Hi SarahKate - I daresay the dego would be better, but not sure I'll get there...

Hi tastyfoodsnaps - Absolutely, just go for the buns if you want!

Hi Billy - Must be the mayo ;)

Hi Momo and Coco - Nope, not on the bar menu.

Hi Flick Your Food - Yeah I'm not too sure either but all the pics I have seen look pretty good!

Hi Vivian - Good thing I like pickles! A lot!

Hi anitaeat - It's definitely my favourite of the bar menu!

Hi Richard - Yeah, but it was still a fun experience. Perhaps that's the sake talking... ;)

Hi Joseph - With two drinks it was... about $100-20-ish, from (my poor) memory

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

I'm looking forward to "one of everything" at the bar when I get a chance, as their degustation is just too much food and a bit too pricey for me!

Tina said...

Hi Rita - I think the cost is definitely one reason why I'm not so keen on the deg, but the bar is good fun.


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