MuMu Review Sydney Review 2022

330 George St

See map

Opening hours Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat
Features Accepts reservations, groups, licensed
Prices Expensive (online over $ 40)
Payments eftpos, Visa, Mastercard
telephone 02 9114 7393

I first came across prahok ktis in a tanned back street in Siem Reap eight years ago. The Cambodian fermented fish dip, sticking almost to the point that it was another world, was served with pea aubergines for pop and crunch and cold cucumber sticks to scoop. Equal parts intense and refreshing, it can pump you up with the power of a thousand ice creams.

It was certainly not a dish I had ever expected to find in the expansive Ivy area of ​​the Merivale Hospitality Group, long home to solid but safe dining options in the Sydney CBD, such as Felix and Bar Totti’s. But in 2022, thanks to MuMu, we’re here.

There is even durian ice cream that shows Asia’s most divisive fruit. Fans claim it tastes like sherry-spiked cream; others (including myself) say that the smell of durians reminds them of surgical swabs and old onions.

Cambodian prahok ktis dip with crudites.

Cambodian prahok ktis dip with crudites. Photo: Rhett Wyman

“Either you love it or you hate it,” says Oliver Hua, who is in charge of the day-to-day management of the MuMu kitchen under Merivale’s star chef Dan Hong.

Not that MuMu is just pickled fish and smelly fruit. Located in a soaring location that was once home to the Lululemon leisure store, the six-week-old restaurant is basically Southeast Asian with global ingredients borrowed here and there for the sake of delicacy.

The George Livissianis-designed room is bright and energetic with plenty of bar seating for couples who can escape La Niña with a yuzu vodka slushie ($ 20). Meanwhile, large groups can gather around a lazy susan and fight over zipped Phnom Penh-fried chicken marinated in galangal and lemongrass ($ 32).

It would not be surprising to see another MuMu or two open at Merivales other venues.

With more than 30 dishes designed to share, MuMu is not for choice phobicists. But if your jam is geometric art, 1980s hip-hop, and more mandarin than a vintage Crockpot convention, then come down: your Bauhaus meets the Beastie Boys prayers have been heard.

More importantly, the food is also damn good, with riffs on street food from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan that form part of the menu.

However, Hua seems to be most excited for guests to experience the deeply tasty prahok ktis ($ 22), with wok-fried pork belly with red curry paste, garlic, galangal and the main ingredient prahok – a salty, fermented mud fish paste that has remained in the heart of Khmer cooking for centuries. Pour it on ice-crisp endive from an accompanying crudites dish.

Betel leaves with sweet pork, dried shrimp and macadamia.

Betel leaves with sweet pork, dried shrimp and macadamia. Photo: Rhett Wyman

“My wife is Cambodian and I used her mother’s recipe as inspiration,” says Hua, who grew up in a Vietnamese household in Marrickville. “After cooking Cantonese for the last eight years [at Mr Wong and Queen Chow Enmore], I jumped at the chance to serve food more tailored to my cultural background. “

Kudos for promoting Khmer cuisine, I say. In a city with some of the best Thai cooking outside of Thailand, countless Malaysian eateries and Vietnamese soups worth crossing several zip codes for, Cambodian food in Sydney is – to say the least – a little underrepresented outside of Cabramatta.

Sure, MuMu’s ktis are not as sharp as versions found in his home country, but Hua and Hong are not so concerned about the limitations of authenticity.

Pipis in jungle curry is a must-order dish.

Pipis in jungle curry is a must-order dish. Photo: Rhett Wyman

An example is grilled Hawkesbury calamari ($ 28) topped with shallots stuffed with sambal matah and topped with brick red sambal belacan with Lebanese garlic sauce. It’s a dish with compelling flavor that has been made even better by a 2017 Hofgut Falkenstein “Niedermenniger Herrenberg” Riesling Spatlese ($ 125).

Sommelier Robyn Fisher’s list also includes a nice display of white and red Burgundy, but with so much spice and chili about, they are smart wine money with the citrus-forward, off-dry German line-up.

However, the most affordable booze match can be a cold can of Yulli’s Brews Karaoke Kingu rice pilsner ($ 12.50), perfect with must-order pipi jungle curry ($ 48 at market price) pulsating with green peppercorns, holy basil and ginger- like krachai.

Grilled scallops with spring onions and peanuts.

Grilled scallops with spring onions and peanuts. Photo: Rhett Wyman

Sticking to these lighter dishes is the right plan of attack for those who are eager to get through as much of the menu as possible. Grilled scallops seasoned with spring onions and peanuts ($ 8 each) is another important thing. Ditto sweet pork wrapped in betel leaves fortified with dried shrimp and macadamia ($ 7 each). I save the glazed short-rib served ssam style with mint, lettuce and sambals ($ 88) for a return mission with more friends.

So far, the 200-seat restaurant operates until midnight five days a week, with a closing at. 02.00 in the pipeline. Take slushies and noodles on late nights. Nor would it be half-surprising to see another MuMu or two open at Merivales other venues; it is a strong model led by chefs who love to cook.

Southern residents, meanwhile, can just make do with the most exciting Southeast Asian dining that has graced George Street for years. Heck, with a few more visits I might even get turned on by durian.

Vibe: Bright and bubbly with outbursts of 1970s New York street glam.

Go to court: Prahok ktis with pea aubergines and seasonal ingredients.

Cost: About $ 190 for two, excluding drinks

Beverages: Lots of spicy wines, plus a few French heavies. Former Bulletin Place bartender Jeff Santony mixes pies and lightning-fast cocktails

This review was originally published in Good weekend magazine

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