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The Giving Tree

October 17, 2014
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This book broke my heart as a kid. I distinctly remember the feeling it evoked as I had it read to me as a child at school so when I came across it again as I was browsing through Ariel one night, I knew I’d want to give it to my folks some day. Until recently, I had been holding on to it for ages, waiting for the right occasion. It had been wrapped in the same paper and ribbon that I brought it home in and had been kept in the same shopping bag as it continued to be packed and moved with the rest of my things each of the three times I’ve moved house.

It wasn’t until the day I left for my trip that I handed it over to my mum, explaining that it wasn’t anything special but just a small token of my understanding and appreciation of everything her and dad have done for my brother and I. If you haven’t read it, do. But be ready for the feelz and have a packet of tissues at the ready )’: )’: )’:

Food

momofuku seiōbo, The Star, Sydney

September 30, 2014
09.29--momofuku---sunflowers

I wanted to dress up a bit and hit up some good food and drink before slumming it around South East Asia so I dragged Justin out with me to momofuku for one last hurrah. I’d been to the bar for snacks but never actually managed to get a reservation for the dine-in degustation so had always wanted to go back (the online booking system and old booking policy probably had something to do with that but it was a lot easier this time ’round, being able to book more than 9 days in advance).

09.29--momofuku-beverage-list

We went all out and each pulled the trigger on the beverage pairing which had us absolutely slaughtered by the end given it was a ten course meal with sake, white, red and a pedro ximinéz all thrown into the mix. This did, indeed, make for fun times and comes highly recommended by yours truly. Aside from doing a great job at putting us in a jovial mood, the matching was actually pretty good and we were very well looked after by young gun, Ambrose Chiang, who is only 22 but already making a mark in the industry. The youngins have totally been killing the scene back home in Sydney over the last few years with the likes of the chefs at joints like ester, Mr Wong and Nomad to name a few; which has been super exciting and game changing in terms of the way good food is enjoyed these days (more casual, less stuffy).

09.29--momofuku-snacks

We started the meal with some ‘snacks’ – carrot, seaweed; beetroot, black garlic and; crab, chickpea

09.29--momofuku---duck-tails

Followed by parson’s nose (or duck butts) with Crème fraîche and roe

09.29--momofuku---hazelnut-soldier

Next were the mushroom and hazelnut soldiers

09.29--momofuku---wonton

Then it was the scallop wonton in smoked duck broth with truffle. This was preeet-ty good! We dined in on the last sitting of the night so got to watch the chefs prepare for the next day’s service. Part of the prep, was putting on a huge pot of this broth, which had the place smelling amazing.

09.29--momofuku-chefsbecheffin

We lucked out and were seated at the best spot on the chef’s table which meant we got to witness all the magic as it happened in the kitchen. I’m so glad we didn’t end up with a dud spot at one of the regular tables! #chefsbecheffin’

09.29--momofuku---wagyu-raddish

Beef, radish and fermented black bean. Super photogenic, this dish!

09.29--momofuku---wagyu-raddish-mixed

But as pretty as it was, I liked it better after having fun mixing it all up. My spoon and fork – weapons of mass destruction, yo!

09.29--momofuku-reflection

The space and fit out nails the basic principles of simplicity and minimalism with a bachelor-pad feel, but what I particularly liked was the clever way it played with mirrors. If you looked up from where we were sitting, you could see a reflection of the goings on of the plating station. Definitely nowhere to hide in this kitchen – if a stray pube somehow makes it into any of your dishes, you can be sure it didn’t happen in the main prep area… because you would have seen it.

09.29--momofuku-marron

Marron, pea and pistachio.

09.29--momofuku---john-dory

John Dory, zucchini and poor man’s orange

09.29--momofuku-shortrib

Shortrib, asparagus, snails and morels. Winning dish of the night! Check out the marbling – as if that wasn’t enough, it came out on the plate after a deep fry.  So decadent but sooooo good! The snails and morels which accompanied the dish were amazing and tasty in their own right, too

09.29--momofuku-drank

I think this is the point at which I started falling behind with my drinks. Whoops! Ha!

09.29--momofuku-lamb

Lamb, kohlrabi and eggplant. When I queried what kohlrabi was, the team happily explained.

09.29--momofuku-kohlrabi

Even fetching one out from the back for demonstrative purposes! A turnip related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts. It can be eaten raw, however, it can not be bitten into like an apple. I know.

09.29--momofuku---potato-tart

Potato tart with shavings of  Pyengana (an award winning Tasmanian cheese)

09.29--momofuku---corn-anise-chervil

And the first of the desserts was an anise meringue accompanied by corn custard and chervil ice cream. Yes! Chervil, as in that green herby stuff reminiscent of parsley. Refreshing!

The final dish which I sadly don’t have a picture of (whoops, was probably too pissed to take a decent shot at this point) was the artichoke, pear and sunflower. I noticed the sunflowers at the counter (pictured in this post’s first photo #becausebitchesloveflowers) early on in the night and had my curiosity sated when the dessert of artichoke, pear and sunflower came out. Thin slices of pear arranged into a flower with sprinkles of sunflower seeds and petals on top.

09.29--momofuku-justin-jess

In lieu of a pic of the final dessert, here’s a blurry and grainy GPOY of J and I hanging out with one of the chefs in the mirror. Send them pics to my phone…

Justin’s write up on the dinner and some commentary on the overall vibe and feel, here: http://www.justinfox.com.au/momofuku-2