Momofuku Seiobo

The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, NSW

Pyrmont, Sydney. Momofuku Seiobo restaurant inside The Star Casino. Photos of the dining room, plus dish is Spanner and Swimmer crab. Photo: Quentin Jones, Nov 3, 2011.
Options: No bookings are required for a fine little bar menu. Photo: Quentin Jones

Joanna Savill

People who write on this page mainly about bars (such as Mary's in Newtown or Sepia's yakitori menu, see Good Food May 21 and April 23) aren't necessarily tragic booze hounds. It's just that some of the best fun food out there at the moment seems to be attached to a counter with a stool up against it and a nice person across the other side of it, surrounded by bottles.

There are some excellent and interesting bottles on the Momofuku Seiobo drinks list. There are also some healthy, interesting juices - apple and fennel, blackberry and thyme, watermelon and more - which can be matched to a full meal (about 12 dishes, $185 food only, $110 at lunch). And yes, there's some really fun food.

We know Momofuku Seiobo as the ''best new restaurant'' in The Good Food Guide 2013, propelling New York chef Dave Chang and his day-to-day man on the ground, chef de cuisine Ben Greeno, to instant three-hat status. Most people also know that you have to go online to book - welcome to the modern world, folks - and get tricky with your index finger just before 10am when a new lot of reservations appears. (You can now book up to 20 days ahead.) What a few people don't know - and, selfishly, it's a huge shame to blow their cover - is that the Momofuku crew have this fine little bar menu, available nightly and at lunch on Fridays and Saturdays, no bookings, five spots at a time, walk-ins only.

Good food: Under $30Momofuku Seiobo at the Star Casino.Pork buns with sriracha sauce, Korean rice cakes.,Brussell sproutsJune 6, 2013. Photo: Steven Siewert
Not to be missed: Pork buns. Photo: Steven Siewert

Do you need to know any more? Such as the bar menu including the legendary David Chang pork buns, which he really didn't want to put on the tasting menu here when he first opened because they were quite hard to get right with different flour and air and baking conditions. With a rather sublime balance of soft fat and soft meat, pickled cucumber, scallions and a good squirt from the Sriracha chilli sauce bottle, these spongy pouches of pillowy dough are more than just a bar snack. They make a pretty fabulous alternative to a lunchtime sambo, for a start.

And then there are Korean rice cakes (ddukbokki) - long, firm cylinders of compacted rice flour noodle. They're boiled and sometimes fried to make a Korean fast food staple that's drenched in a gloriously spicy red sauce. Here they are quickly seared on the plancha. Then drenched in a gloriously spicy red sauce, or a dense lamb-based ragu. The nutritional value may not be extremely high but the taste shoots to the top of the guilty pleasure meter. The bar menu also features a killer dish of Brussels sprouts with puffed rice, so you can quickly get your greens in, too.

So there you have it. Sound like fun? Now you know why some people who write in these pages seem to spend a lot of their time in bars.

Do … order the pork buns ($15). But we don't really have to tell you that.

Don't … over-order. Sharing two, maximum three, dishes will do it.

Dish … The brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette ($15).

Vibe … Casual, friendly, good tunes, good drinks, good food.

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The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, NSW

  • Cuisine - Asian
  • Prices - Seven dishes on the menu, from $14 to $22 each.
  • Features - Bar, Licensed
  • Chef(s) - Ben Greeno
  • Owners - David Chang
  • Opening Hours - Tue-Sat, 6.30-10pm; Fri, Sat, noon-2pm
  • Author - Joanna Savill
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2 comments so far

  • love his food.....especially that pork bun.....yum....I think I had at least 3 last time I was there. David Chang himself was there and he was nice enough to give me one extra :-)

    Date and time
    June 25, 2013, 12:24PM
  • What an enormous ripoff those prices are. I know a fantastic Japanese restaurant very close to the CBD where you can get a combination sushi-sashimi meal for $16.95 and they give you so much of it that you will never walk out hungry.

    I refuse to ever eat in these overpriced, overblown joints like Momofuku Seiobo. Most of these fancy restaurants are a complete waste of time.

    Recently I was a Crown Casino in Melbourne and was invited to a birthday lunch at Bistro Guillaume. Very ordinary food at extraordinarily high prices. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for this stuff. These sorts of eateries give ordinary food fancy French names and charge quadruple what they are worth.

    I'm not a cheapskate by any means - this week I've just blown $10,000 on two Bose V35 home theatre systems and didn't think twice about it. I spare no expense to get the best stuff. But I draw the line at eating mediocre food in joints with fancy names and pretentious menus and either walking out hungry or disappointed or both.

    I won't be eating at Momofuku Seiobo - I'll just go to my Japanese restaurant and pig out on whopping amounts of sushi and sashimi for $16.95 and laugh at fools who are silly enough to pay hundreds of dollars for a meal.

    Date and time
    June 25, 2013, 11:33PM

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