Koi Dessert Bar by Reynold Poernomo

13.5/20 What does it all mean?

Food Icon 8 | Service Icon 2 | Ambience Icon 2 | Value Icon 1.5


Thumbs up

  • Desserts would fit into any 3 Michelin Star or World’s 50 best restaurants and not miss a beat
  • After a few pop-ups, Reynold Poernomo, MasterChef Dessert King, has a permanent location
  • Savoury dishes were also creative and well executed

Thumbs down

  • The full dinner course will most likely leave you hungry
  • An inflexible menu structure

Recommended dish(es)

  • Chocolate Sphere – Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Gel, Consommé Jelly, Chocolate Almond Soil, Chocolate Ganache and Strawberry

TL;DR – Reynold Poernomo truly is the Dessert King. The hype from MasterChef is real. His desserts at Koi Dessert Bar would fit into any 3 Michelin Star or World’s 50 best restaurants and not miss a beat.


MasterChef Australia is a good show. Not only is it the best of all MasterChefs internationally, it is one of the better food shows in the world. However, for the same reasons you watch Hell’s Kitchen for Gordon Ramsay’s creative profanity, you watch MasterChef for the people, the relationships, and the drama – not the food. And why would you? Behind the smoke and mirrors, the food standards on MasterChef are actually very low.  

This became increasingly apparent as each season of MasterChef went by. First the disappointing MasterChef pop up restaurants. Then Marion Grasby and her decidedly average supermarket meal kit range. But who can blame them when the judge’s own restaurants are mediocre at best.

Koi Dessert Bar Reynold Poernomo

Reynold Poernomo in action.
Photo credit – Network Ten

So when Reynold Poernomo, the darling of Season 7, announced that he was opening a dessert bar in Sydney, I was curiously sceptical. Reynold is the only contestant to receive a perfect score of 30/30, but was this a MasterChef 30/30 or a real world 30/30? The judges called the now 22 year old the best pastry amateur cook they’ve ever seen on MasterChef. But that’s exactly the problem; best pastry amateur cook, not best pastry cook. MasterChef comes with its own reality distortion field.

However, after dining at Koi Dessert Bar, I’m glad to say that Reynold is the real deal. His desserts would fit right into any 3 Michelin Star or World’s 50 best restaurants and not miss a beat; it would even have the better of a few of them.

To have such incredible cooking talent at just 22, I have no doubt that Reynold will one day be a global powerhouse in the culinary world. He may not have won MasterChef but he will likely be the best of thing to come out of MasterChef. Contestants and judges included.

Koi Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Koi Dessert Bar
42 – 44 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW (map)
+61 2 9212 1230
http://koidessertbar.com.au/

Koi Dessert Bar Chocolate Sphere

Woah, spoiler alert!

I know what you’re all here for, so click here to skip straight to desserts. Otherwise, read on for the full dinner menu.

The Savouries.

Koi Dessert Bar Tomato

Snacks – Compressed Tomato, Cold Sambal Terasi, Micro Greens, Prawn Cracker – 7/10

A clever interpretation of Sambal Prawns – one that tastes of Sambal Prawns without remotely looking like it. The Tomato was bursting with juicy sweetness, helping to offset the heat from the Sambal.

A solid start to the meal that opens up your appetite.

Koi Dessert Bar Barramundi

Steamed Barramundi, Dashi, Quinoa Parsnip Porridge – 8/10

A dish that was seemingly taken out of a Japanese Kaiseki menu comes next. While it pales in comparison to the seafood and dashi soups you would get in Japan, it was still a good dish in its own right.

I’m not normally a fan of Barramundi, but this was steamed perfectly. The Dashi was good, but lacked the sweetness and umami you would get in Japan. The Quinoa Parsnip Porridge partially made up for this, adding creaminess and an extra dimension to the Dashi.

Koi Dessert Bar Chicken

Poached Chicken, Toasted Nuts and Grains, Spiced Coconut Espuma (foam) – 7.5/10

Like the Sambal Prawn, this was a clever modern interpretation of a chicken curry. The Chicken was poached perfectly, despite being chicken breast it was juicy and tender. The Spiced Coconut Espuma was well balanced and light – perhaps all curries should be given the cream whipper treatment. The Toasted Nuts and Grains are a healthy version of the fried shallots you regularly see sprinkled on top of curries.

My only gripe with this dish? I was left wanting more. Being of Asian descent, when I’m served rice, my appetites grows since it is generally the indicator of the bigger dishes that are about to come out. This dish was over before it ever really began.

The Desserts.

Citrus Cheesecake, Honeycomb, Curd, Burnt Orange, Fraiche – 7.5/10

Not so much a full dessert but rather an appetiser dessert.

The best way to describe this is a deconstructed Burnt Orange Cheesecake. The Curd and Fraiche provided the creaminess of a good cheesecake, while the Honeycomb substituted for a textured cookie base. The Burnt Orange added an extra dimension to the citrus as well, but given its tiny size, I would prefer just a slice of good honest Cheesecake.

Koi Dessert Bar Chocolate Sphere

Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Gel, Consommé Jelly, Chocolate Almond Soil, Chocolate Ganache and Strawberry – 9.25/10

And to the dessert that everyone is here for (apart from Reynold himself). The famed Chocolate Sphere.

Dessert Spheres have popped up all over the culinary scene as quickly as foodies have collectively lost their shit over them. This not only means that all Dessert Spheres come with a certain level of hype, but also means that there is a fair share of bad Dessert Spheres out there.

koi_chocolate_sphere_2.jpg

Unintentional love heart.

Despite all the hype, I’m glad to report that this did not disappoint. In what is a very difficult dish to nail technically, Reynold does almost everything right. Perfectly tempered chocolate exterior, a Chocolate Mousse to rival Hidemi Sugino (the best mousse I’ve ever had), and a Raspberry Gel that offsets the creaminess of chocolate and prevents the dessert from ever getting too heavy.

The only criticism is that the Chocolate Almond Soil was not particularly crumbly, leaving a gaping textural hole in the dish. Easily forgiven though, with another spoonful of that mousse.

The sphere is on par or better than the spheres I’ve had at Michelin Starred restaurants such as Hajime and Caprice. And to think that this was ideated and created by a 22 year old sends shivers down my spine.

Koi Dessert Bar Peach

Poached Peach, Almond Soil, Rosemary Cream, Rose and Thyme – 8.5/10

While it wasn’t the best dish of the night, it was the surprise dish of the night, and the dish that suited my tastes the most.

The Almond Soil was brilliantly nutty and buttery, to the point where it tasted savoury. This paired well with the frozen Rosemary Cream, made from liquid nitrogen, which had an intense milky flavour with a subtle aftertaste of Rosemary. I can see some people disliking this, but this is a milk lover’s heaven.

Koi Dessert Bar Peach

Poached Peach, Almond Soil, Rosemary Cream, Rose and Thyme – 8.5/10

The Poached Peach was needed to offset the heaviness but was really just a piece of fruit. I was hoping that Reynold would push the boundaries a bit more.

Koi Dessert Bar Panna Cotta

Coconut Panna Cotta, Black Sesame Sponge, Yuzu Curd, Mango Crème – 4.5/10

The Panna Cotta is a dish that is close to Reynold’s heart, being his MasterChef audition dish – the dish he cooked to get on the show. As such, even though it wasn’t on the dinner menu, we ordered it separately after the dinner was over.

Unfortunately we must have had a bad batch. Though the Panna Cotta had the right bouciness and wobbliness, the texture was not smooth; it was grainy and tasted like it had curdled. Cardinal sin for any Panna Cotta.

The rest of the dish was good though. The meringue melts in your mouth after the initial crunch, and is one of the best I’ve had. The Yuzu Curd and the Mango Crème balance each other out, walking the tight-rope of acidity and sweetness. The Black Sesame Sponge serves as a contrast to the Panna Cotta and adds an extra dimension of nuttiness to the dish.

If only the Panna Cotta was smooth.

Koi Dessert Bar Reynold Poernomo

Reynold Poernomo in action.
Photo credit – @reynoldpoer

So overall, an enjoyable meal, a must for any dessert lover. Before I wrap up, let’s talk about how eating at Koi Dessert Bar actually works. At Koi Dessert Bar, there are three things you can eat –

  1. Ready-made cakes and pastries at the counter – You do not get access to the dinner or desserts menu. Eaten at the outdoor seating area (walk-in option).
  2. Dinner menu – Five course menu consisting of two savoury dishes and three desserts for $77. Eaten on level 1. Booking recommended.
  3. Dessert menu Three course menu consisting of three desserts for $60. Eaten on level 1. Booking recommended.

My biggest gripe with Koi Dessert Bar’s menu is inflexibility. In both the dinner menu and dessert menu, you cannot choose the desserts you get. With both menus having unique desserts, in order to try them all or if there are desserts from both menus that you want to try, you will have to pay extra.

Other small gripes include ambiance and service. The tables were excessively small which is a bit bizarre given the overly spacious and decked out dining area. There was not much space left over once the food and drinks were on the table.

While overall the service was friendly and attentive, there were several occasions where we were left with dirty cutlery from the previous course or no cutlery at all. Given the quality of food and the price, you would expect more from the service, but I have no doubt this will get ironed out in the coming weeks after launch.

So fellow foodies, what’s your favourite dessert in Sydney?

17 thoughts on “Koi Dessert Bar by Reynold Poernomo

  1. Your whole review is just appaling. You described Reynold’s desserts 3 times in the same repetitive and unimaginative way possible. “would fit into any 3 Michelin Star or World’s 50 best restaurants and not miss a beat.” If you really wanted to praise Koi, how about use more sophisticated, coloured and most of all, different vocabulary. But then again, after reading this distasteful opinion of yours, (I use the word opinion as it is your thoughts that make you think like this) I can imagine you don’t even own a dictionary or a thesaurus even though you can use the internet to post this dull and bitter views but cannot seem to type thesaurus.com into google. Your whole blog on this is bland and tasteless (pun intended). For a food blogger, you use very ordinary and little orchestrated words to create a sense of the world when you enter Koi. It is repetitive and BORING.
    Before you judge or “blog” about the food in any restaurant, how about post your qualifications at the head of every post? That way, the world can truly see how qualified of a “food critic” you are.
    What happened to the world, where we actually got REAL blogging on food and how amazing it was and where are we going with it in the future? After reading this, I am very upset to say the very least, food blogging is “going down to shits”.

    Like

    1. Hi Jordan,

      First of all, thank you for your feedback. I’m sorry to hear that you did not enjoy my review of Koi Dessert Bar. To address your points –

      Yes I did describe Reynold’s desserts 3 times in the same way, but this is due to the way the review has been broken up. Once in the pros and cons, once in the TLDR (or summary) and once in the actual body of text. My readers tell me that the way the review is broken up is useful as they will generally either read the TL;DR, or the full review. This is the reason why it is repeated, not due to lack of imagination.

      If you let me know which words you deem “ordinary” and “boring”, I’d be happy to work on them to be more “sophisticated” and “coloured”. Perhaps you can provide a sample or your own review of Koi for my reference. I am relatively new to this, and in life, one is always learning.

      Finally, this is a food blog. This blogs serves to educate and advise fellow foodies, to help them make educated choices in discovering great food. I lay no claim to being a food critic, but having eaten my way across many countries, I’ve found that my readers value my insight and knowledge in being able to compare the cuisines in different cities. Being able to compare Sydney’s food on a global level is insight that few other food bloggers can provide.

      Thanks for reading.

      Eric

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Constructive criticism is great, but the reply up there sounds more like haters just looking for things to hate on. On the contrary I find that your blog is done pretty well and draws in general readers. I enjoy reading your posts. I think it’s simple and your use of words are great and easy to understand for everyday general people. Everyone just has their own different styles of food blogging. If everyone conformed to a certain style, then everything would look the same and would be so boring.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. As a fellow food blogger who occasionally reviews restaurants (in my own humble opinion, of course!) – this post is well done and encourages the reader to try this restaurant! The food, especially the desserts, look wonderful and I’m sure would be enjoyed by all! Thanks for your review!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Desserts would fit into any 3 Michelin Star”. Can you please share which 3 michelin star restaurants you have eaten at (so I don’t go there)?

    I personally have not had that chance yet, but have eaten at 1 michelin star, where desserts were far better than what I have tried at Koi Dessert Bar. Yes desserts look good there, but that’s pretty much where it stops, at least for what I tried, which did not make we want to try more, especially because the price is that of luxury pastry, which it is not. Taste wise, these is absolutely nothing to rave about. I had a dessert similar to the sphere you describe, with chocolate mousse and raspberry gel. The mousse was very sticky, and I would bet that he uses gelatin to help set it. If not, I don’t understand how he gets such a thick sticky unappealing texture. Don’t get me wrong, the dessert was good, but just good, not great, not amazing, not surprising, not inventive, nothing I would expect to find in a 3 michelin star restaurant dessert. $9 for this, no thank you.

    You mentioned you travelled a lot. Have you tried pastries in France, at places like La Patisserie des Reves? This will blow your mind and your taste buds. Koi’s desserts in comparison are so bland and boring that it just shows how TV shows and marketing can distort reality!

    Liked by 2 people

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