My aunty Phil has a treasure trove of recipes, handed down from friends or relatives, carefully penned into a series of exercise books. This one was passed to her from Ceylonese friends, as Sri Lanka was known then, and is a simple but delicious variant on the famous teardrop isle’s black curry.
This is intended to be a ‘dry’ curry, without much sauce. The name comes from the black pepper, which gives the curry its characteristic darkness. All of the heat – and this is a mild curry – is from the peppercorns, as there is no chilli.
I love the fanfare stage of a new restaurant – it’s interesting to read about the venture, the chef, menus etc. But it’s hellishly hard to get into Sydney restaurants that are still flavour of the month. I usually wait until all the hoohah has died down before trying for a table.
Not that that really applies to Momofuku Seiobo at the Star. Despite having been open for months, the place seems to be booked out the minute the new spaces are released online at 10am each morning. It’s a system almost designed to keep a certain mystique and exclusivity going.
Recently however, I was lucky – having already set up a login for their booking system (yeesh, ages ago) I was on the digital spot at 9:58, waiting. To my intense annoyance, rather than being able to just refresh the screen at 10am I had to log back in again instead, thus losing me precious seconds before getting back to the ‘select lunch or dinner’ screen. By the time I reached the booking screen itself some 90 seconds later, one of the 5 lunch timeslots was already booked out. Happily however, 12:20 remained, and my reservation was in! You have to hope it’s worth it after all this booking palaver!
Arriving unfashionably early on the day, we requested seats at the bar/kitchen area. It’s one of my favourite locations and has been foolproof entertainment at Bodega & MoVida in the past. And so it was to be again. We could take sneaky stares at part of the kitchen, noting the British flag stuck to a notice board (head Chef a Brit); watching the incredibly detailed weighing of individual pieces of dough as they were being cut and rolled; admire the glass refrigerator wall dividing Kitchen from Dining areas, and stare at the goings on of the chefs: