50 Pitt Street Sydney
Open Mon to Sun Dinner; Wed to SatLunch
Rating: Four stars out of five
The name comes from a combination of the English word Fun and the Korean word Da (meaning a lot) and this new restaurant Funda deserves its name. The flashing neon sign and ear-catching hip-pop music emanating from inside make passers by and would-be diners curious about what lies beyond the neon-lit arched restaurant entrance. Inside, the decor is lively with red tables, green seats and a flashing neon bar.
The owners Jangho So and Sunyoung Kim want you to have fun. They have created a unique Korean-styled restaurant in Sydney by adding elements of European cuisine while retaining the traditional flavours of Korea. Funda’s executive chef Jung-Su Chang, one of Sydney's hottest chefs, has spent the past four years as executive chef at Jungsik, Seoul, helping to maintain its Michelin two stars rating. Alongside him on the Funda team is head chef Chris Kim who has cheffed in some of Australia's most prestigious restaurants (Tetsuya's, Mjolner and Sepia). Together, they have combined Western and Korean cuisine, pushing boundaries with their creative menu.
As the pink neon lights reflect off the window, my cherry-flavoured pink mojito ($15) with a hint of mint arrives, accompanied by the first appetiser, rice cake and chicken sausage skewer ($9). The special flavour is achieved by mixing gochujang sauce and avocado puree.
Next comes the Potato Croquettes ($22), one of the restaurant's most popular appetisers: crispy potatoes with pâté and parmesan cheese, blended with a special sour sauce for a layered texture that lingers.
My main course Twice Cooked Chicken ($46) was an excellent choice. The slightly sweet gastrique sauce collides with the taste of chicken encrusted with black pepper. It was served with a shredded cabbage salad tossed with rosemary.
The restaurant seats 120 guests but the combination of low density seating and the loud DJ-style music mean conversations from nearby tables do not carry. This allows diners to focus on the experience of food as staff provide a seamless dining experience. If you are lucky enough to get a table facing the bartender's counter, watching those handsome faces while eating could add even further to your dining experience.
Funda, in combining European and Korean styles, has created a culinary cultural crossroads experience in Sydney. It's a dangerous proposition to set “lots of fun” as the standard for your customers' experience but Funda has delivered on its promise. At the end of their evening, every customer can say, what a fun restaurant.