Our regular readers know all about the Poernomo family’s KOI empire. We recently visited KOI Dessert Bar and Monkey’s Corner to sample their special truffle menu and, having gobbled up those wonderfully rich offerings, we were invited back a third time to experience the brothers’ most recent passion project – KOI Experiential.
KOI Experiential is a twelve-course, two-hour degustation experience. The menu changes quarterly, taking inspiration from each season. Spaces are limited and diners are seated around the open kitchen. While the food is the main draw, you’re also treated to an inside look at how the superbly talented chefs compile their creations, taking great care over the tiniest details to make the experience extra special.
The degustation menu is $185 per person with an option to add wine pairing for $75. We opted for the wine – when in Rome! – but we couldn’t resist a couple of cheeky cocktails first. We chose the Profumo (gin, cucumber, grape, apple, lemon, elderflower) and the Pomelo (Gin, Luxardo, Grapefruit, Elderflower, Jasmine Tea) as recommended by our incredibly friendly waitress. Both were refreshingly light with a touch of fruity sweetness – the perfect aperitif.
Our first four courses are paired with a 2021 Dr Burklin-Wolf Riesling Kabinett from Pfalz, Germany – medium-dry with floral notes. First up came Tart – toro, jamon, yolk, and herbs served in a delicately crispy ring. Light yet smokey – we were off to a great start! Next up is the Donut – mochi, potato, and brown butter, topped with truffle shavings. This pretty much summarises the ethos behind KOI Experiential – playful experimentation, blending sweet and savoury flavours. Rich, gooey, soft, dense, tangy, and a touch sweet – this little ball of wonder was my favourite so far.
Next up was Taco – kangaroo, Davidson plum, and shiso in a crispy shell. The sweet and sour plum chutney was fantastically finished off by the shiso’s subtle cinnamon and mint tones. Winter cosiness in a tiny taco! This was followed by Airy – garlic cream and pine mushrooms served with a crispy cheesy toasted waffle. Forget what I said earlier – this rich, playful, and textured flavour bomb was my new favourite.
After this, a new wine (2022 Bernard Defaix Petit Chablis from France) appeared to accompany Layers – described in the menu as onion, onion, onion, onion. We had no idea what to expect but we soon realised it’s exactly what it says on the tin – onions prepared in several different ways to create a layered dish of sweet, tangy, and savoury flavours. The Foie Blanc – foie gras, balsamic, chestnut, toast, and truffle is served in a light and fluffy yet rich and crunchy brownie-like formation.
The last dish to accompany the Chablis was Enigma – caviar, shio kombu, and crispy garlic garnish served with ice cream. Although – like all the other dishes – it is spectacularly presented, caviar ice cream was just not for me. But each to their own! Moving on to the third wine pairing of the night – 2022 JC’s Own Bluebird Grenache from Barossa. Medium-bodied and fruity with a hint of spice, it paired beautifully with Nine – Wagyu beef, celeriac, and leek.
Although the entire menu playfully incorporates sweet delights, the last four dishes are firmly on the dessert side of the scale. Milk and Honey – is a light and crunchy honeycomb served with orange blossom gelato, burnt honey gel, and a vanilla honey sponge. The orange blossom is prominent but wonderfully light and the citrus tones with honey and milk worked together perfectly. This – paired with 2021 Ca’d Gal Moscato from Piedmont, Italy – was now my new, new favourite.
By this point, we were several drinks in and the already dazzling dishes just kept getting better. I stopped asking what was in them and just let the ridiculously diverse range of flavours wash over me. Natura – chocolate, blackberry, and caramel heaven – served with ice cream and accompanied by 2010 Chateau Romieu Sauternes from Bordeaux. This was closely followed by Red – a strawberry sensation with added zing courtesy of some feijoa and lemon myrtle – paired with 2020 Kracher Zwegeit Auslese from Burgenland, Australia. And finally, KOI Time – caramel, orelys, and buckwheat served on a stick. Soft and whipped on the inside and crispy with a charred popcorn flavour on the outside – it was a perfect way to finish off the evening.
KOI Experiential is a diverse and exciting culinary adventure made for those who have a real passion for food and enjoy trying new things. In true Poernomo fashion, as much thought and craftsmanship have gone into the pageantry and design as the delicious fusion of cuisines and flavours. With limited seating and a carefully curated set menu, KOI Experiential gives you a little taste of the VIP experience – perfect for a special night out!
KOI Experiential – 6 Central Park Ave, Chippendale NSW 2008
The set menu is available by reservation only – $185 per person
Dining hours are from Wed-Sun: 5:30 pm (1st Session) / 8:00 pm (2nd Session)