All images taken on a Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS lens
I once witnessed someone that demanded that they skip the queue at a restaurant event. Full of bluster, he marched up to the front of the queue, chest puffed up and said "I'm a friend of the owner. I don't need to queue!!" The staff were polite and winced at the audacious display. I guess they winced because they knew what was coming up next. A very lonely, sad trip back to the end of the queue with all eyes on him.
The urge to skip a queue is in all of us I suspect and if you've ever wanted a taste of Momofuku's food but haven't made a booking to do so, there is one great way to skip their queue. The small six seater bar to the left of the restaurant is where you can drink and snack to your heart's content-and yes the famous pork buns are on the menu. I first heard about it during Head Chef Ben Greeno's cooking class at the Sydney Seafood School.
It was a Monday night when Florizal and I visited and we arrived at 6pm. Except errm Momofuku doesn't open until 6:30pm and we join the rest of the people that also don't know this and take a seat and wait (incidentally, the nearby convenience story is a great time killer and has a fabulous range of American candy). At 6:30pm we go back and take a seat at the bar and watch the chefs including Ben at work in the distance. There are hooks for bags underneath the bar and we are handed paper menus with the bar selection that changes regularly. Diners indicate the quantity of each item that they'd like and hand the slip back.
Seasonal images $14
The images come out first and they're a colourful array of seasonal vegetables each with their own distinct flavour. There's cabbage kim chi, carrot, turnip, daikon radish, beetroot and onion. I think the serve is big enough for three to four people but to be honest, we ordered one of everything so we weren't going to finish it.
Pickled egg $4
The pickled egg is a briney soft yolked egg split in half with a dark white on the outside from malt vinegar, dark soy and black garlic.
Spanner crab roll, celery salt chip $22
Florizal and I were eager to see what the spanner crab roll would be like given our disappointing experience with a lobster roll at another establishment. This one however is an excellent size and the bun is a soft lightly toasted brioche bun and it's filled with a generously portioned mayonnaise spanner crab mixture. To the side are celery salt dusted potato chips.
Pork buns and beef short rib buns $15 for two
The pork buns are fantastic in their soft, gelatinous goodness and are a must order. What was a complete revelation was the beef short rib bun housed in the same pillowy soft white bun and with two juicy pieces of deep fried beef short inside each one. The crust has a gorgeous caramelisation to it and the inside is fall apart softness. I wanted to order another immediately.
Confit chicken wings $16
The confit chicken wings had a good, spicy sauce but we both found them a bit dry in texture, particularly some of the drumsticks.
Fried brussel sprouts, fish sauce vinaigrette $15
I always say that brussel sprouts are a surprise favourite which should really mean that it's no longer a surpise that they're good but these fried brussel sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette are one of the best dishes along with the beef short rib buns. There's a sweetness to them giving them an appealing caramelisation and there's garlic as well to add much flavour and crunchy rice clusters to add texture.
Roasted rice cakes, XO, lamb $17
The last dish to arrive were the roasted rice cakes which have a fantastically sticky and crispy texture to them. This dish is rich though and amongst the batons of roasted rice cakes is an XO sauce lamb ragu which is salty and rich. On top is a layer of deep fried shallots which adds more crunch to the crispy rice cakes.
There's no dessert on the bar menu but of course Zumbo's dessert train is just opposite so if you need to, you can head over there.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried to skip a queue? Do you think it's human nature to want to do that?
Momofuku Seiobo Bar
The Star/80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009
Tel: +61 (02) 9777 9000
No bookings, walk in only