A few months ago, some Canberra foodies and I did a massive Sydney food weekend. One of our meals was held at Koi Dessert Bar for its set 5 course dinner at $77 per person. The ground floor has a display cabinet filled with an assortment of cakes. These disappeared quickly so I’d recommend buying them as soon as possible (don’t wait until after dinner). And yes, we saw Reynold in the kitchen!
Our table was upstairs close to the bar. We received some bread and butter to snack on shortly after being seated. The bread wasn’t anything fancy and a little dry.
Course 1 – ‘eggplant’ – steamed eggplant with trout roe, eshallots and smoked eggplant broth. This dish was a little sour and I couldn’t really taste the smokiness of the broth. It wasn’t my ideal dish, however, it was refreshing enough to whet my appetite for what was to come.
Course 2 – ‘quack’ – duck breast with micro greens, cherries and cherry reduction. The sliver of duck breast was succulent and delicious. I loved the complement of the slightly sour and deep flavour of the cherry reduction. I could have easily eaten about 10 more slices of the duck.
Course 3 – ‘Angus’ – beef with wagyu bresaola, burnt onion and mushroom puree. The menu stated this was to be cooked medium rare which was perfect for me. I liked that the thick cube of Angus beef was actually cooked medium rare and beautifully pink in the middle. There was a tiny bit of jus on top but I would have liked a bit more of it. In my humble opinion, I thought it was a very average dish. My problem was that I didn’t think the knives were sharp enough to cut through the beef, but the others didn’t have any trouble with it so it was probably just me.
Course 4 – ‘vanilla cherry’ – vanilla mousse with frozen raspberry, blackberry gel, cherry slices and long pepper. Did I mention the set menu includes not one, not two, but three dessert courses?! Well it does. I really liked the balance in this dessert. The vanilla mousse hiding underneath the cherry slices wasn’t too sweet and contrasted against the more sour berry items. Together, the elements worked harmoniously without anything being too dominating. It’s a dessert I would order again, and this is coming from someone that rarely orders mousse.
Course 4 – ‘typical chocolate’ – summer berries, chocolate, citrus and caramel. This dish consisted of several different textures overlayed on three soft blocks of chocolate mousse. Apparently we were told to start from the left and go right, but in the crazy photo-taking stage, I didn’t actually hear that part and started from the right (to the surprise of my friends). So from the right, there was a salted caramel cream and a citrus gel, a lemon sorbet with freeze dried citrus and charcoal smoked citrus, and finally a freeze dried berry and matcha chocolate soil and berry coulis. I didn’t like this dessert as much as I thought I would (being a massive chocolate fan), but my favourite of the three was the one of the left – the berry and matcha chocolate soil. I’m not big on citrus elements so the charcoal citrus item did not do it for me. The caramel cream was pleasant but I felt there were too many similarly soft elements. While the berry section had a few textural varieties.
Course 5 – ‘cheesecake’ – lime cheesecake mousse with brown butter and shiso. This was another yummy dish that had been carefully balanced. I loved the crumbly brown butter sponge which was just so naughty. The cheesecake mousse was very light and creamy but packed a punch in terms of cheesecake flavour. The freeze dried berries and berry sauce were a great accompaniment and it reminded me of a deconstructed berry cheese cake.
We chose the extra course (additional $20) to share between us of the famous ‘Moss’ which was one of the desserts on Masterchef. It consisted of pistachio mousse, caramel gel, white chocolate matcha dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime and yoghurt, and green apple. After cracking open the green sphere, we found mousse and caramel gel inside. So many different elements!
As the courses were quite small, we left feeling full but not overly stuffed. Dinner was pleasant and I was happy with the three dessert courses, plus our sneaky fourth dessert. Service was professional and we were informed of what was in each dish once all plates had been placed in front of each person. Would I go back? Yes, most likely to try the dessert degustation!
Koi Dessert Bar can be found at 46 Kensington Street in Chippendale, Sydney.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 24.5/30
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