The only words you need to say to us to convince us to dine at a venue are ‘modern Asian fusion’. All of our favourite cuisines have originated from different cultures and countries in Asia, so seeing how restauranteurs take food they’ve grown up with and put a new, personal spin on it is always going to be a good time for us. Khoi at Barangaroo does exactly that, complete with a pretty outdoor dining area with waterfront views.
We started the meal with two dishes off the raw menu (can’t ever turn down some tasty raw treats), kingfish sashimi and wagyu carpaccio. The kingfish was a beautiful dish featuring delicate slivers of Hiramasa kingfish slowly cooking in the acidity of the lime on the plate, topped with burnt corn salsa, orange tobiko and miso garlic sauce. The MBS+5 wagyu was so delicate it simply melted in your mouth, and was bathed in cumquat ponzu, smoked truffle aioli, garlic chips, puffed rice and jalapeno. Though both dishes were light, they were packed with flavour and are absolute must-orders when visiting Khoi.
Next we tried some of Khoi’s famous bahn xeo tacos, featuring diced prawns coated in smack mayo paired with viet slaw in crispy, almost fried wonton-like ‘taco’ boats. These were super juicy (albeit a bit messy) and boasted plenty of big chunks of soft, sweet prawn meat inside to contrast with the crunchy outer shell.
Lovers of tofu, this one’s for you. Squares of lightly battered and fried tofu come together with a moreish sambal XO sauce to create Khoi’s crispy tofu. Drizzled with sesame goma and topped with slivers of spring onion, it was deliciously salty, and we left no trace of that tasty XO sauce on the plate.
Words simply cannot do the sticky gochujang pork belly justice. Coated in a rich, sweet gochujang glaze, the pork was perfectly cooked so the meat was tender and soft with the ideal amount of rendered crackling on each piece. Crunchy garlic chips and puffed rice were sprinkled on top.
We devoured the pork belly with a serving of Khoi special fried rice, which, like everything we tried on the menu, went above and beyond with ingredients and taste. Throughout the rice was chunks of wagyu beef, chinese sausage, egg, pickled mustard greens, shallots and seeded mustard, ensuring it was just as packed full of flavour as the feature dishes were.
Khoi is definitely one of those restaurants where you come for the food and stay for the cocktails. As delicious as they are aesthetic, our recommendation off the menu would be Old Smokey. It’s Khoi’s take on an old fashion, made using Ardbeg, Toki, cherry blossom, bitters and orange zest and poured over a large chunk of ice at your table from a smoking vessel.
You can find Khoi on Barangaroo Avenue in Barangaroo, with a funky sister restaurant Tokki also located in Surry Hills.