Saturday, 6 April 2013

Sydney Madang & N2 Extreme Gelato, CBD/ Chinatown

Eating out is always a bit of a situation where you have a friend with life-threatening nut allergies. After a while you get a sense of which cuisines are generally safe, which cuisines are big no-nos, and which ones require you to interrogate the targeted restaurant. In the case of my friend, Japanese is the failproof choice, as there is minimal risk of cross-contamination. However, on our most recent excursion I really didn't feel like eating Japanese and thought, 'Hey wait a minute, there are no nuts in Korean bbq!' and proceeded to drag my friends around the city looking for a place where we could eat bulgogi.

We entered the alleyway leading to Sydney Madang and saw there was no line (it was 6pm on a Friday night, so all the other diners must have been busy having their pre-dinner drinks elsewhere. Once we left around 8, there was quite a long queue.). Ever the opportunists, the four of us snagged the last free table upstairs. We should probably have asked whether they use peanut oil in their cooking (my friend can't eat any nuts, but the slightest particle of peanut will send her to hospital). Alas, we neglected to do so and my friend is still alive, which is a pretty good sign.

Sydney Madang gives you your usual condiments - accompanying sauces, kim chi, fish cakes, seaweed and that really yummy cold potato. Unfortunately, rice isn't included so we had to order that separately. For four of us, two bowls worked out just nicely.

Our pork belly arrived first, with plenty of fat to go around. It positively melted and oozed around the hot plate, creating a lovely mess of grease. Not exactly the most appetising description to read, but fat is always a great ingredient ;) They were less generous with the raw garlic and lettuce (about 5 thin slices of garlic and one handful of lettuce), so I didn't bother eating it the authentic way and just shovelled pork, rice and bbq'ed garlic into my mouth.

Pork belly ($15.00)
Midway through cooking the pork belly, our Korean seafood pancake was laid in front of us. In most Korean places I've been to, the pancake is either crispy but not tasty, or tasty but soggy. Much to my delight, Sydney Madang made it both crunchy and delicious. Inside were the usual seafood pancake ingredients - octopus, shallots, chives, etc. While ordering, we had been tossing up between the small and the large, and I'm glad we decided on the large, as I smuggled slice after slice onto my plate. It also provided a nice carby alternative to rice to balance out all that meat on the bbq.

Seafood Korean pancake, Large ($22.00)
Finally, the main event was delivered - the meat platter containing a little bit of everything - mussels, prawns, octopus, marinated pork, marinated chicken, marinated beef and bulgogi! The meat was fresh, and it was all flavoured beautifully. However, I think my favourite on that platter was that bulgogi beef in the centre - tender, succulent and marinated nicely.

Meat platter ($53.00)

I had my doubts about whether we had ordered enough, but at the end of the night, I was almost uncomfortably full. It was probably also best to have ordered three dishes for the size of the table we had - there would have been no space for a 4th!

And, of course, you know you've had a great meal when you exit the restaurant smelling like barbecued

Sydney Madang on Urbanspoon

N2 Extreme Gelato

As Sydney Madang only has a bit of ice-cream for dessert, we decided to pass on having it there and ventured to N2 Extreme Gelato in Chinatown. I'd heard good things about it, but looking back on it now, I think the experience is more theatrical than anything - it's pretty cool to see smoke, beakers and people making ice-cream in lab coats.

The ordering system is slightly confusing, as patrons tend to crowd around the cash register even when they have finished ordering. Then again, that's like typical food court behaviour, so you just end up asking tonnes of people whether they are in the queue.

Their range of flavours on each visit is limited, and there is a lot of risk involved. One of my friends selected the "Salty Jesus Juice", a bright red sorbet-like concoction, containing salted coke and red wine sorbet. It was quite unpleasant to eat - though it tasted like sour, bitter coke (which matches the description), there was something quite jarring about the flavours. She ended up throwing it out after a few scoops.

I was quite content with mine - a "Strawberry Blonde Geisha", consisting of green tea and bits of strawberry. The consistency was creamy and these particular flavours mixed well. Nevertheless, I don't think it'll be top on the list the next time I feel like gelato - I much prefer Messina, with its larger range and milkier/ creamier textures. And to be honest, at $6.00 a scoop, I'd rather go to Coles and pick up a tub of Connoisseur.

1 scoop ($6.00)

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon


  1. YUM fish cake and marinated cold potato!!! The first time I tried Korean food was at Madang!Seoul Ria also makes pretty good seafood pancake with lots of seafood methinks :)

    I resisted the gimmicky attraction of N2 gelato and watched as my friends ordered the likes of "Earl Grey" (apparently the best) and "Salted Caramel" - now after reading your post I think I can finally stop feeling like I missed out on life because I didn't get any last time hehehe

    Keep blogging! xoxo F

  2. Hi F,

    Definitely agree about the Seoul Ria pancakes! Unfortunately I've been to Seoul Ria so many times I've resorted to trying other restaurants haha

    Salted caramel actually sounds normal - must have caught them at a particularly experimental time of the year!

  3. That's exactly what I think about N2. My mate wanted me to try it the other day but..i couldn't justify one big scoop for 6$ of a single flavour, much rather pay that (or $1 more! for 3 scoops) for 2 scoops at messina! passionfruit....mmmmm

  4. I reckon! Imagine if you actually wanted to eat two scoops at N2 - you'd be paying $12 since they don't discount orders for additional scoops :(

  5. N2 is a hit and miss for me. I do love how their flavours change regularly but like you I'm still a fan of Messina and Cow and the Moon. it's prob just the texture. haven't been to Madang in years so definitely due for another visit sometime soon.

    1. I haven't had Cow and the Moon's gelato. Sounds like a visit to Enmore is in order!