Reynold Poernomo is quick to admit he made some mistakes after finishing at MasterChef and opening Koi Dessert Bar with his brothers.
Due to his reputation for desserts on MasterChef, he says he gave the dessert side of the business too much airplay at their eat-in Chippendale restaurant. "It's a very niche market; desserts are a treat, not a necessity," Poernomo reflects.
The rebranding of the business (and a design rejig, which will see the number of seats shrink) as Koi Dessert Bar & Dining is trying to redress that imbalance.
"When we started if you were dining there'd be four or five desserts. In the early days 50 per cent of your meal might be sweet, now 70 per cent is savoury," he says.
He's enjoying flexing his savoury skills in the kitchen, playing with some of the "Japanese ingredients and Scando technique" influencing contemporary Australian food, while leaning on his Indonesian lineage.
"I'm using pumpkin in an Indonesian-style dry rendang," he says. The kitchen is making its own sambal butter, and pastry cigars are filled with smoked kelp cream and white soy-cured ikura (salmon roe).
The chef hasn't lost his sweet tooth, and the other Koi outlets across Sydney remain devoted to its pursuit.
A new item, Down the Rabbit Hole, has a cocktail of flavours, including elderflower, lychee, bergamot and shiso leaves.
"I've made a lot of mistakes along the way. I probably should have gone off and done a stage in a restaurant somewhere when I finished MasterChef, but I've learned so much here," he says.
Open Tue-Sun 10am-10pm (dining 5.30pm-9.30pm).
46 Kensington Street, Chippendale, 02 9212 1230, koidessertbar.com.au