We booked our return visit to momofuku seiōbo on a whim. We couldn’t wait to get back and see what changes had been made to the menu and enjoy one of my favourite restaurants again.
First time around Lex had sat out the beverage pairing as she had been cutting back on her alcohol intake. Hearing the rest of us go on about how good the pairings were she wasn’t going to miss out second time around. So it was game on for all of us, the tasting menu and full beverage pairing. Bring it on.
tasting menu – $185.00 per person / with beverage pairing $295.00 per person
- smoked eel, apple
- steamed bun, pork belly
- potato, roe, parson’s nose
- crab, chickpea, amaranth
- beef, radish, fermented black bean
- cauliflower, mushroom, smoked yolk
- sweetbreads, apple, asparagus
- marron, seaweed, salsify
- lamb, quince, violet mustard
- curd, blackcurrant, mint
- sorrel, muntries, pistachio
- pear, jerusalem artichoke, sunflower
smoked eel, apple.
Quite surprisingly the first dish of the night was the exact same as it had been five months earlier, and just as it was then the smoke of the eel worked harmoniously with the other elements, never too subtle but on the same note never dominant either. Both the apple gel and powder added a familiar sweetness to finish the dish nicely.
steamed bun, pork belly.
Following the same running order the pork buns were up next. Having been to momofuku ssäm bar three months after our first seiōbo experience we compared which pork buns were better and it was seiōbo’s easily. Back at seiōbo two months after ssäm bar we did another comparison. Just as we’d thought then the seiōbo version still wins now. It comes down to the pork, at ssäm bar they fell a bit short on flavour but were quite a margin larger whereas at seiōbo you may get less pork but it just oozes quality. As is customary I doused mine with a liberal helping of sriracha and made short work of it.
potato, roe, parson’s nose.
By the third course we started to realise we were probably in for a repeat dining experience. The potato, roe and parson’s nose dish was also the third course of our first degustation. But to be honest it was one of our favourite dishes and we had no qualms seeing it again (in fact Mr O had been hoping it would make an appearance).
It’s just a great dish, crisp and fatty parson’s nose, salty trout row and a smooth crème fraiche all come together to really give you the feeling that this is a classic combination that has always existed. Of course the confit potato balls need special mention as they are still totally amazing.
crab, chickpea, amaranth.
We almost thought our forth course was the same as last time, but then realised a few tweaks had been made. In place of the mullet roe butter was a silky chickpea puree that gave the freshly picked crab meat more room to breathe and really take precedence. Toasting of the amaranth crumb was another improvement and we all agreed this was a nice progression of the dish.
beef, radish, fermented black bean.
Same same, but different. Following suit with the previous dish there were some minor tweaks in the radish dish to change it up without spoiling it. Being the beef fiend I am I found this version was just overall more balanced.
cauliflower, mushroom, smoked yolk.
There were no changes to the cauliflower, mushroom, smoked yolk – it was the same great dish we had first time around. We knew every element much to the chagrin of the chef who served the dish as we kind of stole his thunder. The shavings of smoked yolk are still the main reason this dish is a true winner.
sweetbreads, apple, asparagus.
Finally a completely new dish. Seven dishes in and we had sweetbreads. A single and quite plump asparagus spear sat in the middle of the plate with some fried sweetbreads and an apple ‘hashbrown’ of sorts. The sweetbreads were lightly battered and fried making the outside crisp but still allowing for a creamy centre, firm to the touch yet tender and delicate in flavour. Finishing touches of watercress and its puree made for a well balanced dish.
marron, seaweed, salsify.
Although the marron was plated differently it was essentially the same dish as in our first degustation. No complaints from any of us though as it is still a cracking way to serve marron.
lamb, quince, violet mustard.
A juicy pink lamb cutlet with thick strips of fat throughout was the next new dish. It was stupidly succulent and oozing with flavour. Witlof both fresh and braised added hints of bitterness, the violet mustard was quite an accomplishment and very unique, the quince was a good addition too. My only qualm was I had to eat quickly while the fat was still warm and melting as who likes cold fat?
curd, blackcurrant, mint.
In many ways it felt like groundhog day. Our savouries had finished for the night and it was time for the palette cleanser. Just as last time the gorgeous goats curd from Adelaide Hills was the highlight, some extra texture from the roasted bread crumbs, sweet and herbaceous tones from the blackcurrant juice and mint oil did just as intended.
sorrel, muntries, pistachio.
Palette sufficiently cleansed we were into dessert. Replacing the outstanding mandarin, coconut and egg dessert was a pretty interesting combination. Sorrel sorbet was fantastically smooth and soothing, the sweetness just hit the spot yet there was no denying this was actually a herb. Muntries have been making the rounds of late and they were a nice addition to the dessert, the sweet element also adding that unique almost spiced edge. While I did enjoy the dessert it came in a distant second to the mandarin from our last visit.
pear, jerusalem artichoke, sunflower.
There was only one dish I was hoping would have been replaced but when we saw the sunflowers in the kitchen we knew it was still there. I did like it the first time but not enough to want it again. That being said I felt that knowing what to expect I was better able to respect the thought that went into the combination and the skill of putting it all together.
Pork petit four. If the sunflower was the one dish I had hoped had been scrapped the pork is the one I hope remains forever. Second time around was even better than the first. Not only was it juicier but we also got two big serves, both with a good amount of the crunchy outer skin. Love it.
Seven of the twelve dishes were exactly the same as our first visit. We were somewhat surprised by this. Many restaurants mix things up a bit if you’ve dined with them before and their menu hasn’t changed, but it seems not with momofuku seiōbo (even with their online booking system and the same person booking both visits). We were pleased to see some of the dishes a second time around but would have liked to have seen some more changes. All of that aside we still really enjoyed the whole experience, each tweak that was made was for the better in my opinion (though there were varying opinions).
Level G, 80 Pyrmont Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009
momofuku seiōbo website