Monthly Archives: December 2012

Notes from the inner sanctum of Momofuku Seiobo


The inner sanctum of David Chang’s Momofuku Seiobo

Who would think of burning watermelon rind, then blitzing it into a blackened emulsion with  grapeseed oil to serve topped with a hillock of paper-thin slices of raw radish, jewels of grilled watermelon, and a sprinkling of fermented black bean? David Chang would. The result is a slightly gritty, faintly ashy paste that perfectly offsets the peppery freshness of radish and sweet bursts of diced watermelon. Idiosyncrasies like this — and including donuts filled with a wicked pork fat caramel — intersperse the menu at Momofuku Seiobo, Chang’s digs at The Star casino and entertainment complex in Sydney. Continue reading


Filed under Chefs, Restaurant Reviews

Why playing hard to get works for David Chang

It’s funny how much you suddenly want something, when it’s out of reach. So it was when I decided to make a reservation at Momofuku Seiobo — the Sydney branch of New York hot-shot David Chang’s restaurant empire.

Unfortunately for me — and the birthday boy I was hoping to surprise — the decision was not mine, but that of an online reservation system that required much jumping through hoops on the customer’s part.

With every hoop, my determination (or desperation) to land a table grew, even though I was nonplussed at the start.

Continue reading


Filed under Chefs, Food Issues, Reflections

Can’t take the kid out of the kitchen


Licking the bowl is a childhood habit that’s hard break (iStockphoto)

Licking uncooked cake batter from the beaters of a hand mixer was an evocative moment. There i was, standing in a kitchen badly in need of renovation in a recently purchased home, licking pre-baked banana bread mixture from a cooking implement like a child.

The mixture was sweet and kind of pleasant: edible but not irresistible. So what made me raise those beaters to my lips and lick? Continue reading


Filed under Reflections

Afternoon tea at London’s Athenaeum Hotel: don’t mind if i do


A hotel that doesn’t charge for items taken from the mini bar (excluding alcohol), and stocks a superb range of chocolate and chips, is a good sign. A hotel that stocks an ample supply of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the mini bar is even better.

So it was shame that i visited the Athenaeum hotel in London’s leafy Mayfair during the British winter when ice cream wasn’t really on my “to eat” list.

However, afternoon tea was on that list — unashamedly right at the top — so that’s where i started once i’d checked in and checked out my fabulous suite overlooking Green Park, which leads straight to Buckingham Palace. Continue reading


Filed under Gastronomic Travels, Restaurant Reviews

Spelling it out: the sensory language of seafood


Pacific Oyster

Wine lovers wax lyrical about citrus notes, chocolaty mouthfeel, oaky taste, and mellow aromas in their glass; coffee conioisseurs use terminology such as ashy, caramel, earthy, and nutty to describe their caffeine hit; now the Eyre Peninsula Seafood Industry has its own descriptors for the flavour and aromas that set its produce apart from other regions.

The industry has launched a flavour wheel for 12 seafood products: abalone, calamari, prawns, King George whiting, snapper, yellowtail, southern bluefin tuna, angasi oysters, Pacific oysters, rock lobster, kingfish, and mussels.

Their tastes – based on the terroir, or special characteristics of where and how the produce has been grown or handled – can now be spelled out using sensory language akin to that used in other gastronomic fields. It is hoped it will help boost the region’s gastronomic tourism brand. Continue reading


Filed under Produce