The recent closure of Claude's – the Oxford Street stalwart of Sydney's dining scene that operated for 37 years – looks to have contained a few silver linings. New Korean bistro Moon Park might be one of them. It's brought to you by Ben Sears (the former head chef at Claude's) and his partner Eun Hee Ann (also ex-Claude's). Joining them is co-owner Ned Brooks, from Brooks & Amos wine distributors.
Located on the first floor above Jason Mowen Decorative Arts, in the former site of the short-lived Selby Road bar, Moon Park's interiors are slick and low-key. Brooks explains, “We all come from a fine dining background – this isn't about that, this about doing something different and fun.”
It’s also all about doing it yourself. The dark wooden tables were handmade by the guys, as were the elegant dangling lightbulbs. A thick wooden shelf holds clusters of wine bottles and a Lego model of a Korean temple. There is also the large balcony, which overlooks Redfern Park, which they hope to utilise at some point.
The menu combines traditional Korean fare with a little bit of flair. “We wanted to offer all the normal Korean dishes, like kimchi, but we want to do it with nicer ingredients, and with a little bit more love,” say Sears. Ann makes the kimchi from scratch herself. “White people can't make kimchi,” jokes Sears.
Starters include cucumber kimchi, corn cheese - a dish of baby corn cooked in a corn stock, topped with fresh cow's milk cheese and served with a fermented black garlic aioli; and zucchini and mussel pancakes. Other highlights include a bulgogi beef burger and crunchy Korean fried chicken. King's congee with braised oxtail, tendon and homemade kimchi – the recipe coming from Ann's grandma – is one of the restaurant's signature dishes.
To drink, there are tinnies of OB beer, as well as soju and plum wine. With Brooks' background, expect a well-thought out wine list containing local drops, in amongst a contingent of French bottles and wine from Italy and the USA.