Lunch @ Momofuku Ssam Bar

Momofuku Ssäm Bar

207 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003 USA
(corner of 13th street and 2nd avenue)

The Review

Of the Momofuku family, Ssam Bar is the best.  Pork and duck team up to create the ultimate meat.  Ssäm does the most amazing pork buns and rotisserie duck, and pretty good sweetbreads too.

The Meal

oysters with kombu mignonette

Pork Buns

Fried Duck Dumplings with sriracha mayo

Sweetbreads with Watermelon

Rotisserie Duck over rice – duck scallion, ssam sauce, crispy shallot with chive pancake


Lunch @ Chianti Classico – Adelaide

Chianti Classico

160 Hutt Street

The Good

An excellent lunch featuring some of the best pasta I have ever had in the form of the tagliolini with a rich sugo featuring many, many chucks of spanner crab meat. The offer of a dessert tasting menu when we could not decide on our dessert options was a fantastic service touch. 

The Bad


The Meal

Bread and olives @ Chianti Classico -

House bread with olives and olive oil

Arancini @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comArancini  alla  Boscaiola 
Lightly fried risotto croquettes flavoured with wild mushrooms, black truffle and parmesen

Fiori  di  Zucchine @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comFiori  di  Zucchine 
Lightly fried zucchini flowers filled with ricotta cheese and pine nuts, served with tomato relish

Tagliolini  con  Granchio @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comTagliolini  con  Granchio
Fine  pasta  ribbons  with  a  rich  sugo  of  Queensland  spanner  crab  meat, tomatoes  and  basil. 

Pappardelle  con  Anitra @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comPappardelle  con  Anitra  
Handmade  broad  pasta  ribbons  with  roasted  duck  meat,  red  capsicums, spinach, pinenuts  and olive  oil.  

Dessert tasting platter @ Chianti Classico - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comDessert tasting platter
semifreddo, Torta di cioccolate, zabaglione, panna cotta amongst others

Chianti Classico on Urbanspoon

Lunch @ Ellacure – Canberra


Corner of Braybrooke and Battye Street

The Good

A quick lunch at Bruce’s favourite restaurant featuring very friendly and efficient service. The food was good for what is was, and I would be happy to return to obtain a better idea of the restaurant’s capabilities.

The venue is very nice and perfect for a lazy weekend lunch.

The Bad

As odd as it sounds to say this, the service, while friendly, was perhaps too casual with the staff talking to my wife and I in a jovial manner that was initially off-putting given we had never been to the restaurant or met our servers before.

The Meal

Bread @ Ellecure - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comFresh bread with chive butter & olive oil

Pork belly @ Ellecure -

Twice cooked pork belly with apple & mint salsa

Spaghetti @ Ellecure - fatmanthinwallet.wordpress.comSpaghetti with prawns, garlic, olive oil, lemon, chilli & cherry tomatoes

Ellacure Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Seiobo – Sydney

After months of (im)patiently waiting, David Chang has finally opened Momofuku Seiobo, his first restaurant outside of New York, at The Star casino in Sydney, Australia.

Getting in

Reserving two seats at the restaurant was easy thanks to the online booking system where each day at 10am seats are released for a particular day a little over one week in advance. While I have heard negative comments about Momofuku Ko’s online reservation system, which I assume has been reused for Seiobo, I had no problem making a booking the first time I tried at 10am.

Once the online reservation form had been completed, an email came into my inbox confirming the reservation and advising of a $175pp late cancellation fee. A follow-up email and telephone call were also received the day before the booking to confirm the reservation.

The Restaurant

The restaurant itself is located just behind the main food court at the Casino and can take a bit of effort to find, in no small amount due to the lack of useful signage in the Casino.

Whereas the Casino area surrounding the restaurant entrance looks rather drab, the restaurant itself is very sleek and modern, making use of dark colours and minimal decor besides two pictures of Angus Young from AC/DC.


The restaurant is split into three areas – a bar to the left of the entrance that went unused during our visit; a counter surrounding the kitchen floor where guests can watch the chefs work their magic, and five four-seat tables spaciously set out in the main floor area. Upon entering and seeing the four-top layout of the tables I assumed my wife and I would be seated at the bar only be to placed at the table closest to the bar with the remaining two chairs being unused. Whilst initially annoyed with this development, we still had an excellent vantage point from which to watch the kitchen area even if it would have been better to be seated at the bar. Next time I will be sure to be asked to be seated at the bar!


The food


At present Momofuku Seiobo only offers a single tasting menu consisting of 15 dishes. I understand there is consideration being given to a lunch and bar menu in the future; I am sure Sydney-siders would be grateful for an option to purchase multiple pork buns once from a bar.

If I had to describe the food I would have to go with a modern blend of eastern and western themes, but that wouldn’t do it justice. While the choice and progression of courses might seem odd at a glance, what with a pasta course wedged in just before the last of several meat and fish courses and dessert being followed by a “Petit Four” of pork shoulder, everything worked well and I never once thought myself questioning the menu during the course of the evening.

In terms of the food itself, everything was wonderfully prepared and presented and it is obvious the chefs, and David Chang, spent a lot of time and care developing the menu. The menu strung together a number of standout dishes including the fabled pork bun, tender spanner crab served with a fluffy Yorkshire pudding that you could use to create a crab roll, the pasta (perfect in every way), the pecorino cheese dish and the carsmelised pork. A number of other courses were also excellent even if they did not achieve the lofty heights of deliciousness. If I had to fault the food, it would only be to say that some of the dishes, notably the kingfish and two desserts, lacked the “wow” factor of the other dishes. Nevertheless, the meal was still overall a delight.

A word about portions. At the beginning of the meal I was concerned about the smallness of the portions, especially given the portions in the first course and the pork bun that seemed to me to be the slider equivalent of the pork buns I remember having in April this year. However, my concerns were soon put to rest and I only just managed to finish the caramelised pork at the end.


“Snacks” – dehydrated shitake mushroom chips, deep fried nori, mochi ball


“Steamed Pork Bun” – pork belly, cucumber, hoisin


“Kingfish” – warrigal greens, furikake


“White Asparagus” – marron, szechuan pepper


Beef” – wagyu beef, red ball raddish, fermented black bean


(L) “Eel dashi” – hailstone radish, chive blossom

(R) Eel with apple gel and apple powder


“Spanner & Swimmer Crab” – butter, pepper, biscuit


“Egg” – toasted rice, brown butter


A substitute my wife was given for the Egg dish – artichoke, grapefruit and sunflower seeds


“Hand torn pasta” – goats cheese, chili, mint


“Blue eye” – broccoli, horseradish, potato


A broth that was served with the blue eye


“Lamb Neck” – daikon, pickled turnips


“Pecorino” – honey licorice, bee pollen


“Wattle Seed” – malt, crispy milk


“Miso” – pickled strawberry, toasted rice, mochi

Unfortunately we finished the dish before realising we should have taken a photo, but you can see a constructed version of the dish here.


“Petite Four”

Caramelised pork shoulder – no cutlery provided


Some hand towels for the hand-eaten caramelised pork


The leftover juices from the caramelised pork

Wine and beverages

The restaurant offers a selective drinks menu together with a sake, wine and beer pairing to match the food for $95 per person. My wife and I elected for the pairing and were both happy with the experience, even if the sommelier refilling of our glasses whenever they were empty was both a blessing that night and a curse the morning after.

The wine pairings were as follows:

Mutemuka Shizo 2010, Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu, Kochi, Japan
Crawford River Riesling 2010, Henty, Victoria
Bass Phillip Rose 2010, Gippsland, Victoria
Mader Pinot Gris 2009, Alsace, France
Gembrook Hill ‘Village’ Pinot Noir 2009, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Moriki Shuzo ‘Hanabusa’ 2009, Junmai Daiginjo, Mie Japan
Torbreck ‘The Steading’ GSM 2008, Barossa Valley, SA
Hitachino Nest Lacto Sweet Stout, Japan
Kameman Shuzo ‘Genmaishu’ 2010, Junmai Genmai-Zake
Kumamoto, Japan

We were also offered the choice of sparkling or still water. Electing sparkling, our glasses were continuously refilled throughout the night and I was surprised and grateful to see on the final bill it was provided at no cost. I am not sure if this is a benefit limited to those who do the sake, wine and beer pairings but it was a welcome feature that all fine dining institutions should be encouraged to adopt.


Service was friendly and casual whilst still being attentive throughout the meal. Alcohol and water were constantly replenished and plates promptly cleared when finished. My wife’s dislike of egg was acknowledged on the day without question despite it not being raised on the booking form and a substitute that delighted my wife was provided.

The only service snafus that I can recall were a bowl being taken away when I had not finished the dish and the bill taking too long at the end of the night (even though they were packing up for the evening when we finished the meal).

The verdict

Overall we had a great time and Momofuku Seiobo is a very welcome addition to the Australian dining scene. While some of the dishes could use some tweaking, there was nothing that tasted bad and several of the dishes, including the final “Petit Four”, were smash hits. Add to that great music, at least for someone of my vintage,  and a friendly service staff and we have a winner. I look forward to visiting the restaurant again in a month or so to see how things are going.

Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon