11.06.2012

MOMOFUKU




David Chang, is the cult of cool in the food world! He's the chef and owner of the famous Momofuku restaurant brands, has brought his celebrity to Toronto and I, like many others, looked forward to experiencing the hype and excitement around the brand and trying the famed Momofuku since it landed in the gorgeous new Shangri-La Hotel over the summer time. 

I certainly know the buzz behind Chang who has many accolades to his name including a very famous food magazine "Lucky Peach"; he's a celebrity chef with regular appearances in the late night talk show circuit and on the Food Network and of course his famous eateries in NY, so what a perfect way to pop my Momofuku cherry then to have it in my home town.

David Chang actually opened up 4 new locations with the anchor being the Noodle bar on the first floor and then Nikai, the bar/lounge area, Daisho (large plate/group dining), and Shoto, a 22 seat tasting menu only.


Craving comfort and being on a budget, we opted to check out Noodle Bar and I was prepared for a long wait as the noodle bar does not take reservations, however we walked right in no problem and were seated in one of the large communal tables in the middle of the restaurant. I guess it was a late and rainy night but regardless of not waiting, it was still buzzing. We were actually seated at the same communal table as George Stroumboulopoulos from the CBC and thus reinforcing that we were in a hipster and happening place.

We decided to quench our thirsts on their Seven Spice sour slushy - it was a very refreshing drink with a very unusual smokiness and kick of flavour from the combination of yuzu, lime, sake and togarashi which is a Japanese chilli powder. Don't slurp it too fast or you may get a brain freeze!!

OK so let's get to the food: 
For our appetizers, we had their pork steam buns which came almost instantly after we put in the order. Fatty pork belly served with scallion and hoisin sauce in a pillowy fresh bun. They were good but there was nothing special to it.

For mains:

We definitely wanted to try their signature Momofuku Ramen, it's definitely a big portion so if you're not too hungry, a group of two can definitely share it. It was a brothy bowl of chewy noodles, with pork belly, fish cake, scallions, kimchi, nori and a poached egg. The broth was subtle and a bit too bland for me. 



We also tried their chilled spicy noodles - this was a very unusual noodle bowl that came with fresh crispy spinach, candied cashews and sichuan sausages that were like little meatballs over cold ramen noodles. It was definitely spicy with the XO sauce and spices that were in the mix and we started sweating after a few crunchy bitefuls. I'm glad we tried the dish but I would definitely order something in it's place the next time around. 

Finally we did try their pear rice pudding as a dessert and this was a very unique flavour of fermented rice - rich and sticky and an odd sour but fruity aftertaste.

All in all, this experience was just average and I think that Chang's reputation does a disservice to the restaurant as with many others, we come in with extraordinary high expectations for an amazing culinary experience and set ourselves and the restaurant up for disappointment.

If i'm seeking comfort and am in the area, i would pop in again but I wouldn't go out of my way as there are plenty of other ramen joints around the city that foot the bill for those cravings.
** stars
Momofuku Noodle Bar


(647) 253-8000
190 University Ave, First Floor (Shangri-La Hotel)
Momofuku Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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