Paul Carmichael, 40, chef at Momofuko Seiobo in Sydney, Australia (photo James Brickwood/goodfood.com.au)
The Momofuku brand has many iterations, each with its own brand. The Sydney outpost of David Chang’s empire is no exception. At Seiobo, Barbados-born chef Paul Carmichael puts his personal Caribbean spin on everything from Australian fresh-water crayfish (known as marron) to sticky-delicious pork ribs with plenty of jerk spice (a smoky Caribbean combination based on hot chillis and allspice Jamaican pepper).
Choose table seating or the best place to be – the kitchen counter – in this dark, contemporary getaway just down from the not quite so sexy cheap and cheerful food court at The Star, Sydney’s harbour-side casino. Escape from the tourist throngs and hordes of theatregoers (one of Sydney’s major music theatre venues is also housed in the same complex) and plunge into Paul Carmichael’s world, a man who, when asked "what’s your favourite place?", will say: "The local cinema near my house, because I can watch movies and nobody is talking to me".
His world at Seiobo is made of plantain and okra, salt cod, breadfruit and guava, jerk spices and Scotch bonnet chillis, and dishes like fish head with fermented chickpeas and hot sauce, the must-have busted roti(a flaky Indian-inspired flatbread) and mofongo (a grind your own paste of fried plantain, garlic and pork crackling) with broth on the side. Over the past year he has experimented with salted cod because, he says, “it’s very important to the Caribbean and turning it into an XO style sauce has been fun”. You get the idea.
On top of the restaurant in Sydney (photo seiobo.momofuku.com), the Momofuku brand includes restaurants in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Toronto and Las Vegas
Settle in and watch the kitchen team in action, meet your live marron before it is dispatched from your dining pleasure, and get a bit of rock and roll with your dinner. There’s none of the stiff formality of an upscale fine-dining restaurant – the toilets are reached by passing alongside the back kitchen, for example – and there’s a pumping music soundtrack alongside a portrait of legendary Australian rocker, Angus Young of AC/DC.
80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
Tasting menu: 185 AUS dollars
Closed on Sunday, open only in the evening
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A longtime food journalist and ex editor at GFG, she's a traveller hungry for unique experiences and co-author of "Around The World in 80 Dinners", a tribute to the most memorable meals she's enjoyed around the world