From the appearance in Masterchef to setting up a pop-up restaurant at HWKR in Melbourne, eludes me to try KOI Dessert Bar in Chippendale Sydney…
Never been to Kensington Street before, but KOI is right at the asian hub where spice alley is and many other restaurants hang out. KOI sets up their take away desserts downstairs and the dining experience upstairs.
Service was very good and the pace of delivering all the dishes were steady. Had two set courses to choose from: 3 or 5 course menu per person. We ordered the 3 set course and had of a selection of three entrees, three mains and a selection of four desserts.
We were seated in the middle of the dining area with plenty of space to manoeuvre. Soda water is $3pp with unlimited refills. I like this idea because it makes it affordable and helps cleanse your pallet at each dish.
We first ordered a cocktail. Monkey Sour – Monkey Shoulder, yuzu, syrup and white, $19. Pwoahhh. It was strong – I can taste the yuzu but a lot of the alcohol. Not my usual go to but I saw “yuzu” and naturally gravitated towards any drink that has this! I stuck with soda water for the rest of the night 🙂
Even though we ordered the 3 course menu, we were provided with other nibbles on the side. These were yummy. Roasted potato with chive and butter. Potatoes were lightly seasoned and just crispy in bite sizes. The dipping was divine… it’s so creamy but light that I could keep having it by itself…
The second complimentary side is fried ox tail with dollops of black garlic on top. Ox tail meat was soft inside, I could see the shredded meat and has a beautiful fried colour. Black garlic was not very strong so it didn’t overpower the ox tail for these early dishes.
For our entrees:
Scallops and Chicken Raviolo, Shallot Dressing is a petite size and slightly hard to share amongst the three of us. The filling of the Raviolo didn’t have the wow-ness. But the shallot dressing was the highlight. It was clear and simple.
XO Risotto, Squid Noodle, Tomato Powder, this was a light dish even though it’s risotto. Squid was light and tender in noodle pieces and the sprinkled tomato powder only added a hint of sweetness to the risotto. I only saw that this dish was meant to have XO. Definitely NOT spicy at all..
Bone Marrow, Sambal, Eschallots, Watercress, Lime, Brioche Bun, this was the best out of the three entrees. Small in portion but the sauce on the Marrow is very tasty. The Brioche bun is also nice to dip it with the sauce. Again there was Sambal? For someone who can’t take spicy, it wasn’t spicy for me at all.
For the mains:
Wagyu Chuck Ribs, Eggplant Puree, Chinese Broccoli, Turnips, Beef Jus, is the least favourite main. The Chinese Broccoli was charred, but it was bitter, so I think they overdid it. Beef Jus was good to have with the Wagyu, but then dipping the eggplant puree tones it down. I think it was better to have just one or the other. Dipping the wagyu with both jus and puree confused me a bit. So I ended up dipping the broccoli with the jus and wagyu with the puree.
Barramundi, Cauliflower, Dashi Cream, White Fungus, Wild Asparagus. The best out of the three mains. Fish is cooked perfectly with crispy skin. Dashi cream was pleasant with the cauliflower. Cutting through to cauliflower was satisfying – soft and smooth cuts. White fungus was added to this dish with its natural flavours, don’t know how it ties this dish together, but I ended up dipping it with the sauce and dashi cream. Didn’t have the wild asparagus, it looked like spring onions rather.
Crispy Duck Breast, Braised Witlof, Onion Puree, Duck Orange Sauce. Duck breast was to be accompanied by the onion puree and orange sauce. It was nice and I found the braised witlof interesting – never had it before.
To break from savoury to dessert, KOI shared the below before our set desserts came out. I think KOI wanted us to ease our pallets from savoury to sweet. We each had a bowl of lemon and lime sorbet with yoghurt liquid nitrogen and cardamon.
Espresso, Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Tonka Bean, Hazelnut. How picturesque is this? Dark chocolate as the log and the espresso for some bitterness. KOI’s dessert is never too sweet which makes it very appealing to me.
Grilled Corn, Coconut, Brown Butter, Tapioca. The best dessert for the night. All elements went well together and puzzle looking biscuit was very crispy and I tasted a bit of ginger – like gingerbread but very thin. The Tapioca was the best that added so much texture and playfulness to the dessert. Grilled corn made it feel like I was having popcorn with the Tapioca. Coconut foam was light and could continue scooping it in every spoonful of each element.
Honey, Caraibe Chocolate, Banana Toffee, Lime Ginger. I loved the lime ginger sauce, love the honey and love the chocolate together. But didn’t understand the banana toffee. I think the toffee needed to be stronger than banana, because the banana gave a weird taste to the dish and held the dish back overall.
For after meal drinks we ordered the black sesame latte. It was nice, just right for my friend J, but I’m one who needs strong flavours on any lattes (matcha, chai, or black sesame). I wish they made the black sesame stronger. (I’m just picky, it’s definitely one of the better lattes I’ve had)
Overall, our experience was very enjoyable, we saw Reynold and his brother working that night which was worth the trip from MEL to SYD. My friend dined here a year ago, and their menu was very different, they had each set course themed to a colour so it played with you senses. I wish I was able to try that idea again…
Location: 46 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney