Koi Dessert Bar built its name on, well, desserts. And for good reason. What sort of an establishment calls itself a “dessert bar”? More importantly, what sort of a place does long-winded dégustations for the sole satisfaction of the sweet tooth?
But what sounded like a preposterous idea when the restaurant opened in 2016 turned into a social media sensation, with university kids from across the road Instagramming its devastatingly good-looking cakes and mousses.
As of March 2019, though, the restaurant – in Sydney’s buzzing Kensington Street precinct – has added “& Dining” to its name, along with an eight-course dinner menu. While the ground-floor section of the restaurant continues to operate as the dessert bar, the dégustation dinners unfold on the first floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows framing the Kensington Street goings-on. Ask for the table overlooking the lantern-strung Spice Alley for the best views.
Ex MasterChef alumnus Reynold Poernomo has masterminded the menu, which kicks off with a delicate brik pastry cigar filled with smoked kelp cream and salmon roe. Small pumpkin balls drenched in a rending sauce are next, with the food reaching peak perfection when the braised short rib with sambal and beef jus hits the table.
Dessert, of course, is no afterthought. Jasmine-tea gelato is matched with yuzu in a creation called Binchotan, while banana, caramel and chocolate make up Mon-Yet.
And if you want even more of the sweet stuff, ask for Moss at the ground-floor bar on your way out. Made up for nine different components – matcha crumble, pistachio mousse, apple sorbet, et al – it's Koi’s signature dessert with a cult following.
Atmosphere: Super-chilled at the dessert bar, but more intimate upstairs in the dining room
Best for: Romantic dinner and special occasions
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Standout dish: Braised short rib
Open: Tuesday to Sunday for cakes and coffee all day and dinner after 6pm
Address: 46 Kensington Street, Chippendale
Phone number: (02) 9212 1230