Dinner with friends is always interesting, especially if we plan to write a post on the place we are eating at. So when we visited Moon Park with a friend, we were quite surprised when he asked if he could write a guest review for us. Little did we know that it wasn’t just the restaurant that was being reviewed. Here’s what he had to say:
Have you ever gone out for a meal with two food bloggers?
I thought that I was in for a real treat. That this would be my foodie epiphany. The 2 Hungry Guys and I were booked in to dine at Moon Park, Redfern. All week their blog had whet the appetite of my inner #fatmess. Fromage, foie gras, fried chicken & waffles. Alas, I had found my kindred spirits! I starved myself in disciplined preparation. I channelled my inner Tyra and consumed only a long black and an air burger that day. In my mind, this would be like dining with Kim Jong-Un’s Australian cousins: plump gents with big appetites and a sheer readiness to devour plate upon plate of kimchi like malnourished hyenas in heat. How wrong I was.
To get us going, we ordered some cucumber kimchi ($6), sea urchin and black garlic on seed biscuit ($6 each), and dokbeokki & peanuts ($6) with a round of plum wines for the 2HG and a can of OB Lager pour moi. The dishes came out fairly quickly and were presented delicately – the cucumber kimchi with wafer-thin slices of nashi; the sea urchin plump and glistening orange on the dark nutty biscuit; and the dokbeokki (rice cake sticks) rolled messily in chilli sauce and peanuts. Like Julia Child, I proclaimed “Bon appetit!” and my pincers, trembling with hunger and excitement, went straight for the uni porn before my eyes.
“Hellz no, gurl!” came the roar from one, as my hand was swatted away like unwanted vermin by the other. How could I be so foolish to think we had come out to a restaurant to eat food when it was served?! Then, pulled from the dark abyss under the table, came a camera with a lens so large I wasn’t sure if we’d be photographing food at our table or in Pyongyang. I had come to dinner with the 2HG and the Hubble Telescope. “Photos before food!” they said, “Ok, ok!” I replied, desperate to understand, desperate to remain cool and desperately hoping my stomach would not eat itself.
And so, like the Battle of Little Bighorn, it began. Different angles. Different tactics. Different lighting. Less than helpful suggestions from one to the other. Even less helpful suggestions from me. Gnarly, contorted hand gestures holding the dokbeokki to the light between chopsticks in positions that looked more arthritic than artistic. By the time I received the go-ahead to tuck in from my benevolent companions, I was able to choreograph an entire interpretive dance to Moon River in my head.
Luckily, the food was worth the ordeal. The kimchi was crunchy, salty, bitter and moreish. The sea urchin was fresh, bursting with umami, the seed biscuit adding a lovely crisp texture. But my favourite were the dokbeokki – simply prepared, simple flavours, but so so good. I could eat a mountain of them, especially when washed down with a cold beer.
Then came our zucchini pancake with prawns ($16), fried chicken, pickled radish, soy and syrup ($12, 4 pc), mubap – green and white rice, mussels, sweet corn & burnt butter ($26), and pork belly, ssamjang, diamond clams & warrigal greens ($32). This time I wouldn’t make the same uninitiated mistake of Round 1. Instead, I sat like a monk in contemplative silence, wondering whether North and South Korea would make peace before I would be able to make peace with the demon of hunger roaring inside my belly. Thankfully, the minutes seemed to pass faster with another OB Lager and I was soon able to enjoy the salty, fried deliciousness of the zucchini pancake, which we quickly demolished. Definitely a dish to order if you visit Moon Park.
The fried chicken was moist, crunchy, sweet and salty. Everything that you want KFC to be. Consensus was that the mubap and pork belly dishes, whilst both nice, were a little underwhelming in flavour and excitement; a bit like the latest season of Downton.
Eager to flee, so as to avoid being confused for a food blogger (which I now take to be a person criminally insane with priorities that defy the natural order), I could barely suppress my “delight” when the 2HG ordered the “Moon Pie” for dessert ($14) – a deconstructed dessert of plum wine marshmallow, ginger jelly, prunes et al. It’s a bit like a Korean s’more and ticks all the right boxes: sweet, gooey and satisfying. It left you wanting more in a good way, and so I am glad that the 2HG ordered it.
Like all good things, this experience needed to come to an end (and from my perspective, pronto). All were in agreement that Moon Park was a breath of fresh air on the Sydney food scene, producing interesting food and delivering great service at a good price point. The drinks were finished, the bill paid and goodbye pleasantries exchanged. The sun had set long ago and with it, went my patience and ability to be seen in public for evermore.
34b Redfern Street
Redfern, NSW 2016
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