Again in August, a confidential invitation arrived in my inbox to expertise a contemporary Korean restaurant “with Y2K vibes”. My curiosity was piqued with the point out of Y2K and cemented once I noticed the chef workforce: Jung-su Chang, Chris Kim, and Yuji Shin who every have resumes studded with Michelin stars and hats.
Chang and Shin labored collectively at Jungsik Seoul, which at present holds two
Michelin stars, and is famend for delicacies that takes foundational Korean dishes similar to gimbap and evolves them into plates which might be each acquainted and cutting-edge. It’s lengthy been thought to be top-of-the-line eating places within the metropolis, which has little doubt left an imprint on how Chang and Shin work, assume, and prepare dinner.
I communicate to chef workforce Chang and Kim about becoming a member of the brand new opening, creating
the menu from overseas, and the way they hope to plate up dishes diners have by no means
skilled earlier than.
The title Funda supplies an excellent indicator of what’s to return. Computerized glass doorways
open off Pitt Road to a neon tunnel projecting the restaurant’s title and leads
to an open kitchen surrounded by lights — there’s color and motion all over the place you look — one thing I’ve but to see in a Sydney restaurant, which generally sticks to a extra pared-back aesthetic. If I needed to condense Funda into a couple of phrases, I’d describe it as ‘effective eating meets karaoke’, and little doubt one thing completely different in a sector that may be just a little critical.
Talking of effective eating, Government Chef Jung-su Chang couldn’t be extra suited
to the job. He relocated to Sydney after working as the chief chef of Jungsik
Seoul and time cooking for French icon Pierre Gagnaire beforehand.
Shifting from a restaurant with Michelin stars to a brand new opening in a foreign country little doubt comes with professionals and cons, however Chang says fronting Funda was a one-off alternative he couldn’t flip down. “I used to be approached to hitch the restaurant final 12 months and noticed it as my final probability to open a brand new restaurant in a foreign country,” he says.
Firestone’s Jang Ho So is the proprietor of Funda, with the restaurateur additionally recruiting and relocating pastry chef Yuji Shin from Seoul, with former Sepia and Tetsuya’s expertise Chris Kim rounding out the workforce, which got here collectively a couple of months earlier than Funda launched to the general public in August. Chang started engaged on the menu from
afar final September, and his expertise with European delicacies is as evident because the
Head Chef Kim says the fashion of meals discovered at Funda could also be one thing distinctive for Sydney, however could be very a lot the norm in Korea. “Most Korean eating places are modernised, and globally it’s [the cuisine] develop into extra widespread,” he says. “It’s Korean flavours with fashionable strategies,” provides Chang.
Whereas creating a menu from a unique nation may very well be a problem for some, Chang’s expertise meant the dishes simply got here collectively when he arrived in
Sydney. “It wasn’t that tough as a result of I already know Korean flavours and including
Australian components wasn’t too troublesome,” he says.
It took round 10 months or so earlier than Funda’s dishes had been inked on the menu,
which is plentiful, to say the least. There’s lots to select from, and a second go to
is probably going warranted for followers of the fashion of cooking. A fried seaweed roll full of
prawn and scallop mousse encased by a perilla leaf is served with yuzu kosho,
and the enduring road snack of skewered tteok (rice truffles) with sausages can also be
a part of the starters — however Funda’s take is accompanied by avocado purée and
Grilled leek has been one of the vital ordered plates and sees the vegetable
teamed with stracciatella, pistachio relish, and Korean grasp soy sauce, which is
made in-house. The soy-cured prawns with burrata have been equally as in demand, and whereas soy-cured proteins are commonplace in Korea, the addition of
burrata is definitely not.
For Funda first-timers, the meat tartare with chojang sauce, pine nut foam, and
nashi pear must be on the prime of your listing, which comes with a bowl of pappadums
for scooping. The calamari with soy-pickled seaweed, celery, and seaweed crumble
must also make the lower, alongside the bibim naengmyeon which sees chilly noodles
wearing mushroom sauce and served with cucumber, spring onions, and slices of
soy-cured bluefin tuna.
Desserts abide by the not-too-sweet method, with every of the 4 choices
that includes their very own set of distinctive dimensions. Yuja tea and coconut mix
through a yuzu and perilla leaf granita with coconut sorbet and pineapple, whereas
an area contact is noticed within the pav, which sees yeast meringue teamed with
makgeolli ice cream and injeolmi rice cake.
The foundational jujube is the hero in a cake served with butterscotch caramel,
jujube mousse, and crispy kataif, with Shin switching out the sorbet based on
what’s in season.
Sydney welcomes a variety of new openings every month, however Funda is well one of the vital revolutionary and experiential town has seen this 12 months. Chang will quickly open neighbouring restaurant Allta, a 15-seat Korean omakase idea, and says the reception at Funda thus far has been encouraging.
“It’s difficult for us to attempt to current flavours as Korean dishes aren’t widespread in the meanwhile,” he says, “however we would like individuals to expertise what we do.”