Apologies, it has been a while. I promise, I haven’t forgotten about you. Sometimes, things take over and get in the way of your food porn dreams. Including mine! Nevertheless here I am, Momofuku and all.
Momofuku Seiobo is not your typical establishment. It’s in your face and a robust up yours to the fine dining scene. Blasting Hip Hop, Grunge and Motown jams with an air of cool nonchalance mixed with the odd cuss from the chefs and staff. Who both, personally run table service to all guests. This is not for the everyone. After that wretched booking system, it seems that the million dollar question is. “Is it worth the hype?” It does hold a $175 price tag and 2 hours later, I was bound to find out.
The shiitake chips, nori and mochi had an interesting textural play on your japanese favourites. While the textures and reconstructions were quite playful I found there were nothing out of the ordinary in terms of the actual taste. Alternatively, the smoked potato with apple was definitely a knockout. The potato had these intense smokey tones and the encasing just crumbled under the slightest pressure when bitten. And when you think you have missed the apple and you’re ready to say ‘it’s over red rover’, the apple comes in right on the finish giving your palette a pleasant fruit tingle.
The moment we had all been waiting for. The groping of the lengendary David Chang’s pork buns. David’s pork belly is lusciously fat and full of flavour, wrapped inside a baby bum soft bun with a drizzle of that sweet sweeeet… hoisin sauce. Think deconstructed duck pancake. Delicious? Why yes. But I couldn’t help but feel surprised that this was the signature dish. Bloggers and friends seem to unanimously unite and say that David’s pork buns are better in the NYC noodle house. Who am I to judge though? I have never been.
I am sad to admit that I found this dish very bland. The szechuan pepper and nectarine oil simply did not do this beautiful slice of pink sea mullet justice. I found the sea mullet was over powered with the szechuan pepper while the nectarine flavours were difficult to trace. There were also deep fried fish scales scattered along this dish. I did not like this one bit.
This dish was very tasty. I love it when you feel yourself bite through a perfectly plump sweet piece of marron. The mix of flavours were delicious with the squid ink puree was simply the perfect way to top it off.
I loved the idea behind this dish. Eating spoonfuls of wagyu cubes topped with perfectly rounded wafer thin radish slivers. Again, I am sad to report that I felt there wasn’t a strong harmony across the flavours. I secretly wished that the Wagyu cubes were large enough for me to rip my teeth through them. At this size I could have swallowed them whole and due to the tiny morsels, it wasn’t really showing much pink. Which I personally think makes the best eye candy! The fermented black beans didn’t really do it for me either, so I steered clear.
The smoked eel, jerusalem artichoke and pink grapefruit was a pleasant dish with the sunflower seed puree combining it all. However, the broth was absolutely sensational. Its rich and deeply inherent flavours took over and I simply wanted to let go. So stunning and so remarkable it left me with my eyes wide shut.
Paying homage to our Mother England. Here we have crab pieces lavished with a marmite, pepper and butter sauce. This is served with a yorkshire pudding that just slurps up the butter sauce. Yummo!
The steamed egg with toasted rice and brown butter is a very clever dish. An adaptation of an egg, it has an unusual interplay of textures that is simultaneously firm, delicate, wobbly and gelatinous. Served with a spoon, the spoon simply glides through the reconstructed egg like a hot knife through butter, only to reveal the gooey yolk centre that oozes out. Oh and if you’re wondering? It tastes like egg!
This dish is easily the most understated and unquestionably the best dish of the night. David’s Pork bun, who? The agnolotti is encased with a pea puree and adorned with ham and a parmesan foam. To eat this dish, spoon the agnolotti into place and dip it into the creamy foam while collecting the ham morsels. Place the spoonful in your mouth, let the foam sit there and taste it. Then push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and feel the puree centre burst inside of you. So heavenly, I would go through the agony of that booking system again, just to experience this dish once more.
Another fine dish, the mulloway and the sauce was a tasty little number. The to die for smoked roe gave it that surge of flavour that brought this meal from good to great. It had such an incredible flavour!
After all that seafood, I was pretty happy to be see red! I loved how evenly pink, juicy and perfectly tender this lamb neck was. The sweet onions, caramelised jus paired with the tang of the mustard seeds was lovely. At this point, I was so full but it was so good, I had to put this bad boy away.
To eat this dessert, you must dip your spoon vertically, from top to bottom making sure you capture all three layers, until you reach the goo tucked away at the bottom. This was a savoury, salty and sweet combination. It was extremely cheesy and I loved it.
Yum, yum, yum. I absolutely adored this dish too. The peaches felt like they had been soaked in bowl of tender goodness which was juxtaposed with a creamy pistacchio ice cream and white meringue shards. Another great dessert.
Oh stop it. I normally hate dessert. Why turn me now? The black sesame dust is sprinkled over the miso ice cream while the cherry sauce is concealed underneath. Again, make sure you push through all the layers and consume all the flavours all at once.
I had been eyeing this baby…
Hubba hubba. Ring a ding dong.
I couldn’t take my eyes of it. I watched the Chefs’ slice it, man handle it, baste it and drizzle this beautiful specimen before service. Yes, very perve-y of me but I couldn’t stop glaaazing over it. To the point of being rude! I was neglecting the customary eye contact during dinner conversation. Oopsy. But you know, a lot of love went into that shoulder and I was going to love it right back.
I cheekily asked if I could take a photo of it, so I could get closer to it. They kindly brought the “hunk of love” over and gave me 2 minutes with it. *Snap, snap, snap*. Ohh yes… Now, I can have you my darling, forever…
Finally, there I was. Pork shoulder and I. Alone together with nothing between us, except
Brazil and Emma to get in the way and a hot towel to wipe off the aftermath. Shy and a complete frigid at first, I couldn’t bring myself to press the meat slices in between my fingers. With a few words of encouragement, I plucked up the courage, I went for the grab and the rest is history. Tender, sticky pieces of pork leaving its sticky traces all over the place. Aaah… a piece of meat worth dying for. Why thank you miss piggy.
Was it worth the hype?
I am going to
be really annoying and sit on the fence and say, “yes and no”. This was the general consensus amongst the group. Yes it a good meal and overall we did enjoy it. Given the price tag, the lengthy booking process, it was hard to support the hype due to some of the hits and misses throughout the night. Despite all that is said and done, Momofuku certainly pushes the boundaries and takes you to the limits. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what food is all about?
Welcome to Momofuku and to white picket fences. Over and out.