Monday, December 19, 2011

Momofuku Seiobo, Prymont and on another note farewell and thank you...

It's taken a while for this post to come together, and I didn't want to rush this one out even though I knew that some of you have been waiting to hear my thoughts on Momofuku Seiobo.  The reason for this careful slowness is that Cheesecake Boy and I have come to a decision that this will be the last post on this blog. Yes, you read right  'last post', this decision was sealed with a kiss, so it's final.  Being the 'last post' I wanted to ensure that our final post was going to do this blog justice, but at the same time I wanted to immerse myself in the crazy typing, editing and sorting of photos in its entirety one last time which is the reason for the extended delay.  However, we will come back to the farewell part of this post and shift our focus back to Cheesecake Boy and my dining experience at Momofuku Seiobo for now...

I've been restlessly waiting for the opening of Momofuku Seiobo for months, so you could imagine my excitement when it was up and running.  However, much to my surprise, my initial obstacle was Cheesecake Boy.  I'd always expected my partner in crime to support me immediately in these circumstances.  Initially, I thought he was hesitant because of the at the cost of $175.00 per person for the degustation that is unlike him, but it was actually because Cheesecake Boy wanted to surprise me for my birthday.  Well, I wasn't going to make my birthday that easy for him, so with the lingering threat dangling in the air that I was going to go without him, Cheesecake Boy relented and with K and Mr K we all headed to Momofuku Seiobo to celebrate the start of the silly season.

I must be one of the few, but I actually like the online reservation system.  I prefer to make all my bookings online where possible, as I like to have something in writing to show for the times when the bookings fall through.  I made sure that I set up my reservation account a couple of weeks before I planned to make my booking.  Yes I am pedantic, if that is what you are thinking, but you can only book ten ten days in advance.  Anyway, on the big day that I was required to book, I logged in a few minutes before the 10am availabilities were to pop up for the new day, and the system is actually quite smart as it tells you what time their database is, and lets you refresh until the 10am booking screen comes up.  Rather than having to login again, once 10am hits the system takes you straight to the availabilities screen.  Well, I got my desired date and time straight away, and then the rest of the process was not unlike ordering concert tickets off Ticketek.  Meaning you have an allocated amount of time to complete your booking, enter your credit card details and any further comments like allergies before you hit submit.  An email confirmation is sent through with very thorough rules and expectations and then all you have to do is wait for your big day to come around.  The reservation does take a bit more effort, but I guess you have to earn your spot.

We were a group of four, but we managed to get seating right up at the kitchen bench.  All I can say is that I couldn't believe our luck.  The offering of shiitake chips, mochi, nori and smoked potato for snacks seem to be the introductory staple at Momofuku Seiobo.  We started with the flat shitake chips that had a depth of a shitake mushroom to them, but a dull crunch.  The balls of mochi on picks were one of my favourite snacks with its stickily soft and chewy centre, as well as a delightfully crunchy, but slightly sweet and spicy coating.  I really could of happily munched on a whole bowl of those mochi balls.  The nori chip was a nice take on a prawn chip, but the inner chip surface was lined with nori.  We finally made it to my other favourite snack being the smoked potato that consisted of a delicately crisp tube filled with light as air potato dust and a deliciously pure  tasting apple gel.  The combination of potato and apple was an unexpected combination, but it was sublime.   

Snacks of shitake chips, mochi, nori and smoked potato

I have been dreaming about getting my hands on one of these steamed pork buns as soon as I heard that Momofuku was coming to Sydney, so you may be able to understand that I had incredibly high expectations.  The succulent slice of pork belly was wonderfully tender and to die for, but the fluffy steamed bun slightly missed the mark for me as it bordered on almost being slightly too moist from probably being steamed a touch longer than desired.  All in all it was a delicious combination of pork, cucumber and hoisin sauce, and the accompanying chilli sauce gave the buns a nice kick. There was a pork bun in my youth that I used to frequently eat in North Sydney that was executed in a similar manner, but it came with wonderfully crispy suckling pig that was nestled in a soft white bun half and  topped with a lovely lashing of hoisin sauce.  I think this suckling pig bun creation ruined me for Momofuku Seiobo version this time round.  However, don't get me wrong I would happily indulge with quite a few of these Momofuku Seiobo steamed pork buns as they are really good, but it's just not the steamed pork bun of my dreams.

Steamed pork bun - pork belly, cucumber and hoisin sauce

Our next course was the striped trumpeter with blood orange, which would be best described as being a simply elegant dish with lovely pieces of striped trumpeter and delicate bits of tangy blood orange that was finished off with a healthy drizzle of olive oil.  The sensually silky and sweet tang coming through really got the taste buds watering, and ready to savour our next creation.

Striped trumpeter with blood orange

The next dish to grace our presence was the white asparagus with marron and szechuan pepper.  Out of the four of us dining that night, it seemed like I was the only one that was completely enarmored with this dish.  Now it could be that I love marron, but that wasn't the only reason.  The sauce perched on top of the marron was reminiscent in taste and consistency to that served on ginger and shallot lobster Chinese style, but the marron was incredibly sweet and so beautifully cooked in this instance. The addition of the charred asparagus and lightly citrus puree with the sweet shallot was simply sublime against the marron.  This was the dish of night for me.

White asparagus, marron and szechuan pepper

Next came the exquisitely plated beef with radish and fermented black bean.  The small pieces of tender beef and fermented black bean sauce lay beneath the crisp petal bed of radish.  This dish was an intriguing combination that really teased my senses, as I wasn't sure initially whether to love it or hate it.  This was Mr K's favourite dish of the night, and we decided that the fermented black bean sauce was not dissimilar in saucy consistency to black squid ink, and although it was salty there was a fermented after taste which did grow on me as it was nicely complemented by the diced pieces of beef and crisp sharp acidity of the raw radish. 

Beef with radish and fermented black bean

Out of all the dishes the smoked eel with Jerusalem artichoke and pink grapefruit was the most forgettable for me, as I really didn't have much of a reaction towards it, it wasn't bad my no means, but just nice. The smoked eel was not overwhelmingly smoked, and I liked the depth that the Jerusalem artichoke bought to the dish.  The issue could be that as much as I like grapefruit, grapefruit does not like me, so perhaps the omission of the sweet and tangy acidity of the grapefruit would of changed this dish around for me, but I guess I will never know. 

Smoked eel with Jerusalem artichoke and pink grapefruit (omitted in this case due to allegies)

The mud crab with butter, pepper and pudding was another dish that Cheesecake Boy and I did not see eye to eye on. I adored this dish with its robust buttery peppery zing against the delicate and sweet mud crab flesh.  The rich intensity of the sauce was spot on for me when soaked with the crispy exterior, but fluffy innards of the buttery goodness of the accompanying Yorkshire pudding.  Cheesecake Boy on the other hand thought that the sauce was too heady for his liking and that there was a tad too much seasoning for his taste, which was surprising as I usually prefer much more subtle flavours as opposed to Cheesecake Boy who usually likes his food to have a stronger hit of flavour.

Mud crab with butter, pepper and pudding

Another clash between Cheesecake Boy and I came about when we were served with our next dish of egg with toasted rice and brown butter. Cheesecake Boy really enjoyed this dish as the toasted rice butter reminded us of genmaicha.  Now genmaicha is a Japanese puffed rice tea which to me tastes like intense, but not quite burnt popcorn, and is one of the very few things I actually detest, so you may be able to understand my indifference, whereas Cheesecake Boy loves genmaicha.  The other component 'egg' was actually a very plain, but silky steam egg custard that was not unlike the egg custard of a chawanmushi.  I never thought Cheesecake Boy would appreciate the steamed egg concept, but he loved it.  At least, I know that for a lazy dinner I can resort to cooking the Chinese steamed egg dish of my childhood now.  The things you learn about your other half when dining out.

Egg with toasted rice and brown butter

It was a matter of two against two when it came to the hand torn pasta with goat cheese, pickled tomatoes and mint. Cheesecake Boy and K thought this dish was missing something and was too subtle.  However, the ever Italian Mr K and I were in a blissful state in our indulgence.  If you could imagine wonderfully delicate shreds of silky pasta with the lightest and creamiest, but a very subtle goat cheese acting as a sauce.  Now add a hint of mint essence dying to be stirred through underneath the bed of pasta with some extra crispy mint for added measure, and then best of all to finish off with pickled tomatoes that just explode in your mouth and come through as a lovely sweet balsamic vinegar at the end.  A truly heavenly experience, especially for a girl who doesn't usually enjoy cheesy creamy pasta dishes.

Hand torn pasta with goat cheese, pickled tomatoes and mint

Now the striped trumpeter with fennel and wakame accompanied by a fish head soup had us girls and the boys divided, but we'll get to why soon.  The striped trumpeter was a bit too firm for my liking, but I loved how the crisp fennel really gave this dish a much needed lift.  The oozing black squid ink was beautiful to behold on the plate, but for me did not do much for the striped trumpeter.  The small inclusion of wakame which is a type of Korean seaweed laid beneath the fennel and didn't leave an impression on me.  However, the fish head soup for K and I was another matter.  I adored the trumpeter fish head soup, but the same could not be said for the boys.  The depth of the flavours without the fishiness for me was all at once both wonderfully nourishing and comforting.

Striped trumpeter with fennel and wakame accompanied by fish head soup

The last of the savoury dishes of the night before we headed towards dessert was the lamb neck with cauliflower and mustard.  The lamb was perfectly cooked, the cauliflower tasted just like cauliflower and the mustard in this dish was quite subtle.  Overall it was nothing out of the ordinary, but it was just simply nice.

Lamb neck with cauliflower and mustard

I never thought I'd make it to dessert, but we did.  The Pecorino with honey licorice and bee pollen was a major highlight for Cheesecake Boy and Mr K.  It helped that the honey licorice was intoxicating delicate in its sweetness beneath the luscious soft bed of grated Pecorino and the crisp lattice of bee pollen. 

Pecorino with honey licorice and bee pollen

I love subtle sweet flavours and this dessert of wattle seed meringues, malt ice cream and crispy milk really hit all the right notes for me.  The mildly malt flavoured ice cream had a lovely creamy and smooth consistency, but the real surprise was the thin crispy milk skin. The milk skin had an addictively sweet and slightly caramelised burnt taste coming through and just shattered wonderfully after each bite.  The delicate wattle seed flavour of the firm and soft powdery texture of the small meringues was the icing on the cake for me.

Wattle seed, malt and crispy milk

It's not very often that I find it hard to consume a dish as I'm not a picky person at all when it comes to food, but in the case of the miso ice cream I really had to pass this on to Cheesecake Boy to finish off after my first two bites.  This combination didn't really work for any of us, as I found that the miso was overly intense.  Unfortunately, the pickled strawberries were the only thing in this bowl that agreed with me.  However, I really enjoyed the matching beer with this dessert from Kuichi Brewery, as it had a nice intensity from roasted coffee beans.  It's probably one of the few times that Cheesecake Boy has disliked a beer, but he agreed that the inclusion of coffee beans was definitely an interesting concept.

Miso, pickled strawberry, toasted rice and mustard

By now all of us were utterly stuffed, and by the time this petit four share plate of caramelised pork made it's way to Cheesecake Boy and I, we could only just pinch off a strip each, yes you need to indulge with your fingers for this last tribute to pork.  Even Cheesecake Boy who loves pork more than I do could not finish this off.  We were offered to have this wrapped up for take away, but we decided to let this piece of pork go.  It was definitely a tender piece of pork and had a beautifully sweetness due to the slightly sticky caramelised exterior.  I just wished I had not been so full, so that I could of really appreciated it.  Looking back on it now, I would of loved to soak up the lovely sweet liquidity goodness of the caramelised pork with some rice.  However,  I must say that the caramelised pork has not made me stop yearning for the pork belly from the steamed pork bun that I had devoured only earlier that night.

Petit four of caramelised pork shoulder

Momofuku Seiobo left us generally underwhelmed, but that's not to say it was not a lovely meal because it really was.  In my opinion I thought that the food was truly beautiful in its simplicity, and although I was not blown away it could have to do with the fact that I grew up with quite a few of these Asian inspired flavours.  However, I did appreciate that this meal truly highlighted the actual flavours of each ingredient and made each element have a subtle life of its own.  On the other hand, I thought the matching wines at $95 per head were really something different, and I enjoyed each of them for their individual uniqueness especially the Gaba do Xil Godello, the Wildone Shiraz and the koshu (aged sake) made for a refreshing experience.  To sum up the rest of our experience, the service was exceptional, but casual at the same time.  Trust me when I say that nothing was too much trouble and as for the music, well it was right up my alley.

Now this is the end.  I know this will come to a shock to most of you, but after a lot of contemplation Cheesecake Boy and I thought that it was time for our blogging days to come to an end.  We will always remember this chapter of our lives fondly, especially as we have decided to keep our blog up indefinitely.  We've had a lot of fun experiencing this blogging journey together, developed an appreciation for photography, met some really lovely people (you know who you are) and thank you to all our followers and readers especially for the nice comments and emails that kept a smile on my face, and even better the ones that made me laugh.  However, all good things must come to end, and it's better to end this while we're still going strong.  Who would have thought the initial 69 views we got this year in January would now lead to almost 10,000 views a month, we've definitely come a long way.  I've enjoyed every moment of writing these posts, and I guess the only thing left for Cheesecake Boy and I to say is thank you to all for reading our little blog and hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas break.

Farewell, Dumpling Girl and Cheesecake Boy.

P.S. We'll still be eating and cooking away and you can still see what we're up to through Twitter

Momofuku Seiobo
The Star
Level G
80 Pyrmont Street (entry via Edward Street)
Pyrmont NSW 2009

Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon


Candela said...

Too bad!! I'll miss your blog :'(
Xoxo, a silent reader who is new in sydney.

Mel said...

Oh, I'm going to miss your blog. I really like the places you go seem to get to all the places that are on my wishlist ages before I ever get around to it. Best of luck and see you on twitter!

sugarpuffi said...

why are you stopping?! i love reading your blog! :(

on a momofuku note, i loved the marron, crispy milk skin and pork shoulder

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Sad to see you guys go... goodbyes can be so sad... but thanks for the last hurrah ;)

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Aw :( goodbyes are always the hardest to say, will miss your posts!

I'm with you on the online booking system, I love it. Every dish looks so delicate, still haven't gotten around to making reservations but I've created a log in :)

Squeak said...

Blogging is terribly time consuming, so understand why you have decided to call it quits at the moment.
We have recently moved house after 10 years & the experience has left us has been hard to get back into the swing of blogging. We too, have discussed ending our blog, but will wait to see what the New Year brings.

Enjoy your free time....

p.s. i think we enjoyed Momofuku much more than you did, I guess because it was quite a different experience for us & these were certainly flavours we did not grow up with.

Ramen Raff said...

It was awesome reading your posts! It will be missed :( Stil, I will continue to follow your adventures on twitter!

Farewell to the amazing blog but not to awesome people behind it! Catch up with you guys soon.

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I really enjoyed your entertaining blog also, so it's sad to see you finish. Thank you for your effort in presenting such a great blog all these years! And you certainly went out with a bang!

Jen said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. All the best in your new endeavours guys!

chocolatesuze said...

aww i shall miss your posts! i have enjoyed eating vicariously thru your blog but will be stalking you on twitter :P

JasmyneTea said...

Oh :( I love stopping by and reading about your adventures, I'm sad to see you go! Still, I'm sure you made the right decision for you guys, so best of luck and Merry Christmas.

john@heneedsfood said...

It's amazing how time consuming this blogging business is. Admittedly it has crossed my mind a couple of times to step away from it but that fire within just won't go out. Not for a while anyway. All the best guys. I can only assume you'll be munching across the city as per usual, just without the camera. Thanks for a great blog!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Candela, thanks for following our blog all this time, hope you found a few places to visit in Sydney from this blog :)

Hello MissPiggy, thank you, it's nice to be missed :) We'll still be tweeting our eats, so you don't miss out.

Hey sugarpuffi, thanks for enjoying the posts. Hmmm many reasons, I guess. I think Cheesecake Boy misses his other half spending more time in the kitchen like she use to, than typing away constantly :p

Hello Tina, definitely feel sad, but I really have enjoyed it and as I am typing now I miss it. Need a new hobby now :)

Hey Vivian, thank you! You're right every dish was beautifully delicate, so book soon at least go once I say :D

Hello Squeak, definitely time consuming cannot agree with you more, contemplated to keep going, but if I couldn't keep it up the way I wanted then I rather go out while we were still strong than fade out, but I have achieve what I wanted and have no regrets. I seem to be doing a lot of cooking and watching tv in my spare time now, lol.

I feel your pain about moving house, as we moved when we first started blogging, a bit of rest and you and Buggles should hopefully be as right as rain. Hope the new year brings you some perspective in whatever you decide to do.

Hello Raff, Awww thanks so much, we'll definitely still catch up :) You almost convinced me to keep going, but CB was slightly more convincing, lol.

Hey Joey, It certainlly felt like I had been blogging for years, but I haven't even made it to a year yet. However, I've been reading your blog from the beginning, even before I started blogging so your compliment does mean a lot to me. Thanks for being entertained and enjoying our posts as much as you did.

Hello Jen, thank you. Your comments always made me giggle at times, so thanks for being an entertaining commentor :)

Hey Suze, thanks for the eating adventures. I'll definitely be checking out your blog still and spying on you through twitter too, lol.

Hi JasmyneTea, thank you for reading our adventures, I loved writing them. I hope we did make the right decision :D Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your other half too.

Hello John, I thought I'd be blogging for ages, and then I just came to the decision all at once, I think you just know all of a sudden. I really loved every bit of it, and I was about to change my mind, but I guess when I made a decision I see it through. I miss it already, but as I said before I rather it come to end now then let it fade away slowly. I hope you keep on going for a while, as I truly admire your blog, but when the time comes I'll be sad to see it go. We'll definitely still be eating around and blend in with the crowd now :) Thanks for dropping by, I really appreciate it.

L said...

oh, what a shame. But shall be reading all your past entries and following you on twitter!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Lucy @ Lucyeats said...

Nooooo! I love reading your posts! I will finally succumb to peer pressure and get a twitter account just so I can follow you!

Your blog will still be on my favourites list for when I decide to go to Australia (I'm going to plan the most epic food trip!)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey L, will see you on twitter :) Hope you have a Merry Christmas too.

Hello Lucy, lol, I guess I will be seeing you on twitter in the near future too then. Thanks Lucy, hope your eating adventure Down Under will be a success :D

jack said...

Arrrgh!! I haven't been online for a while and this is the news I'm greeted with? I'm definitely going to miss your blog posts Dumpling Girl :( But i know what you mean, it's very time consuming! I wish you all the best and hope we'll still be in touch some way or another. Happy eating to you and Cheesecake Boy!

Dumpling Girl said...

Thanks Jack nice to be missed, that is awfully kind of you. I'll still be reading your blog :) and happy new year and eating to you as well.

Anonymous said...

aw nooooo! thanks for some amazing posts and keep eating :D

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey minibites, don't worry we're still eating, maybe too well. Thanks :)

henry said...

so what type of music did they play at momofuku?

will miss your blog... was always a good read.

(a little bit late with the comment)

Joseph said...

Your blog will be missed! I know a bit how you feel blogging seems to take up so much of your time!

(bit late comment from me to)

Dumpling Girl said...

Hey Henry, better late then never as they say. AC/DC and louder types of music, it was all in good fun. Thanks, I guess you can keep up with my musings on twitter now :)

Thanks Joseph :D Lol, I think we can all relate to how blogging is fun, but a bit on the time consuming side.

Julie said...

I am so delayed.. and sad it's the last post. I enjoyed how you write very much. But all the best :)

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

What, I go away on holidays for a few weeks and come back to hear you're no longer blogging?!

Will miss reading your posts, but hope that you'll continue with your eating and cooking adventures in private.

JB said...


I'll definitely be following on twitter and watching out for the comeback reunion tour!

All the best!

Dumpling Girl said...

Thanks for your kind words Julie.

Hello Rita, I guess a lot can happen when one goes away on holidays, lol. We are definitely still cooking and eating in private :)

Hi JB, it was nice to meet you the other day. Lol, who knows there may be a comeback one day.

Wendy @ Obesebaby said...

aarh so sad, i only just found out your blog and you are on your last :(
good luck for what ever you do in the future

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Wendy, thanks for dropping by just to wish us well, and sorry that you found out this way that we are no longer blogging.

Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

Am truly sad to see you not blogging anymore but welcome to a new chapter in life :) All the best for your future endeavours. We will continue to look back on all the wonderful posts you have put up.

Annie said...

It was nice meeting you both at the picnic (I was the one complaining about the lack of summer weather btw). Had no idea that you both are no longer blogging. It was good reading your food posts. At least your blog ended on a high note. Wishing you well with your future endeavours!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Tina, thanks for enjoying our posts and for wishing us the best.

Hi Annie, yes I remember you from the picnic. Thanks for wishing us well too :)

Paul said...

I loved it in NY and really need to get out to Star city to try it here

Dumpling Girl said...

Hope it lives up to you expectations Paul :)

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