Well I never – I managed to find a truly wonderful restaurant in New York that serves magical and exceptional food and is…(are you sitting down)…cheap! The food here is literally amazing. If, after several days of scoffing burgers and heavy American fare, your palate is in need of a recharge, this is the place to come. David Chang’s menu is a mixture of Korean and fusion, and boasts combinations of ingredients that that I have never put in my mouth before.
Chang is one of New York’s most super-hyped chefs – he has several restaurants all serving complex and original Asian food, and it’s about as far away from the bland Wagamama concept as you could imagine. One of his restaurants is called the Momofuku Milk Bar which serves only puddings – sadly we didn’t have time to make it here, but people do rave about it with a far-away look in their eyes.
If you had only one night to eat out in New York, I would say to come to his Noodle Bar without hesitation, even if it meant crawling across broken glass on your bleeding stumps. You can’t reserve, but it’s worth the wait. Or take a tip from my book – turn up at 10pm on a Sunday night and you’ll be seated within a mere 10 minutes…
The menu changes daily and uses seasonal ingredients:
Striped raw sea bass in a cucumber broth – literally the freshest tasting thing, zingy and light. The cucumber broth tastes of the colour green!
Chargrilled octopus – aromatic five spice flavours on the outside, tender on the inside. Comes with tangy pieces of grapefruit, spring onions and a yoghurt sauce. My favourite dish of the lot, absolutely outstanding:
Smoky chicken wings: sticky, smoky, salty, sweet:
The famous pork buns (this is what EVERYBODY talks about when they mention this restaurant) filled with pork belly infused with star anise. I got a bit freaked out by the inch of gungy fat clinging to the meat, so I removed it. A bit hardcore for me, but delicious once removed. My companions had no such qualms and gulped the whole lot down:
Roast potatoes with ‘ramps’ (seasonal wild spring onions) sprinkled with bonito flakes that moved and shimmered around from the heat of the food. A delicious mayo-style sauce underneath tasted smoky. Yum:
Momofuku ramen: delicious smoky broth with silky egg noodles, a barely poached egg (isn’t it a perfectly beautiful oval?), shredded pork, pork belly and scallions. Really comforting:
Chilled spicy Schezuan noodles: crisp nuggets of red-hot and mouth-tingling sausage sat atop noodles and baby leaf spinach, sprinkled generously with honey and chilli-roasted cashew nuts. Amazing – and made our lips tingle then go numb with heat:
Passion fruit soft serve, which was tangy, zingy and the perfectly refreshing end to the meal:
Oooh look: naughty chocolate crumbs hiding underneath:
Now these were seriously delicious: coconut and tangerine truffle cake balls. Soft cake on the inside, chewy coconut on the outer shell:
In terms of cost, the bill for four greedy people came to $150. We didn’t skimp on ordering, and this works out at roughly £25 per head including beers – an absolute bargain. We had eaten a dire meal out the previous night that cost us almost triple that amount per head, and with less food on table!
Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 First Avenue NYC 10003
Tel: 00 1 212 777 7773