You know Momofuku, wherever it opens, it won't be just another ramen shop - it becomes a destination of ramen lovers.
I wasn't particularly looking for ramen nor Momofuku today - I've had enough ramen for now since I arrived in Toronto last week and I think you had enough of my ramen posts too 😜 But, while on my way to an appointment, I stumbled upon this rather interesting looking steel sculpture and then the Momofuku/ Lucky Peach signboard.
I was intrigued by the cold steel sculpture which looked to me like a flock of doves surrounding the tangled body of a headless dragon. (This piece of art is by Shanghai-based artist Zhang Huan.)
I marked this place down for coming back to after my meeting.
As promised to myself, I stepped into Momofuku right after my meeting. This is the noodle bar on the ground floor - it is spacious and well appointed yet welcoming and casual.
I wandered up to the third level - this is the Momofuku Shoto restaurant where we can have drinks and small bites like oysters.
Then, there is Momofuku Daisho where we can have fried chicken, steaks etc.
Coming back to the noodle shop at the ground floor, there are bar seats which give diners a ring side view of the open kitchen.
We could also choose window seats which look into University Avenue and watch the daily parade of Canadian diversity - people of all communities of the world passing by.
On the wall hangs a giant fiery looking painting by Ontario artist and musician Neil Young featuring his band Crazy Horse playing in New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1979.
Unlike other ramen shops that I've been to in Toronto, Momofuku doesn't play Japanese music in the background but the eclectic personal favourites of owner celebrity Chef David Chang like Country Western, Rock & Roll etc.
I had Momofuku's signature pork ramen (CDN16 before tax and tips). The bowl of hot noodles in broth looked so pretty, I was sooooo.... excited.
I was pleasantly surprised by the price for what was in the bowl - noodles, chashu, pulled pork, fish cake slices, chili paste, soft boiled egg, chopped scallion and a leaf of dried seaweed. I expected to pay a premium for this at up market Momofuku outlet.
The service staff were attentive, friendly and efficient. My glass of water with ice was topped up constantly and it was free of charge.
The steamy hot broth was tea coloured and watery i.e. light bodied. It was salty-savoury and slightly flat in flavour.
Stirring in the orangey dollop of mildly sweet-spicy chili gives the broth a pleasant light sweet, spicy layer.
The soft boiled egg when broken into the broth gave it more body and a slight eggy taste.
The noodles were disappointing. The crew did a good job to cook the noodles to a good tender spring. But, they tasted and felt mass produced and generic even though they were supposedly made in-house at the restaurant.
Then, there was Momofuku's signature pork belly... . Oh.... the melty tenderly soft meat and fat just melts my heart every time and suddenly the generic noodles and so-so broth were forgotten. I love the chashu's gentle porky flavour in the tofu-soft meat and jiggly fat.
The pulled pork was all lean and tender with slight savouriness and natural porky flavour.
👉 I like Toronto's Momofuku outlet for it's excellent signature pork belly chashu. The broth is nice too but the generic tasting noodles were a let down. I would be back for their legendary pork buns (which means more chashu 😋 ) and to enjoy the amazing decor in this glass box restaurant.
Momofuku is in a glass annex of Shangri-La Hotel and a stone's throw from the imposing Canada Life building along University Avenue. The Canada Life building was the tallest in Toronto when it was completed in 1930. At the top of the building on a tower is an old weather beacon beaming coloured lights on whether it is snowing (white), raining (red) or clear (green).
Raising the last stone on the Canada Life building in 1930.
Restaurant name: Momofuku Noodle Bar
Address: 190 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5H
GPS: 43°38'58.4"N 79°23'09.9"W | 43.649547, -79.386097
Hours: 11:30am to 3:00pm | 5:00pm to 10:30pm
Date:1 Mar 2017