Sydney’s worst kept secret, Sydney Madang, is tucked in a laneway that runs between buildings on Pitt Street. Even at 5.30pm on a cold, wintery weeknight, you’ll find a crowd gathering. As you stand and wait for a table, your olfactory senses will be tantalised by wafts of barbequed meats.
This time though, we decide to pass up Korean barbeque for Yetnal Bulgogi ($36/2 people). This old-style marinated beef isn’t cooked on a barbeque. It arrives as a pile of rough-cut beef piled onto the raised centre of a silver dish, topped with onions, greens, julienned carrots and thinly sliced mushrooms, surrounded by a moat of broth.
It’s placed on a gas burner, and the vegetables are transferred into the broth. While a staff member gets busy breaking up the generous mass of meat, we get stuck into some drinks.
We order our usual Kooksoondang Mak Gul Li ($13) and a Kloud Original Gravity ($7).
The latter is a Korean beer in the style of a German Pilsner lager, with caramelised malt as the dominant note.
Beer is the perfect accompaniment to Burseot Jun ($16/small) – a very simple rice-based mushroom pancake that has thoughtfully been cut into segments for ease of consumption.
You can dip it in a very round and flavoursome chilli sauce, and add it to the good array of free banchan (side dishes) that arrive at your table. Kimchi and the potato salad cubes are particularly good at Madang, and when we ran out of these dishes, they were quickly replaced.
With our meat browned and drizzled with broth, and our vegetables softened, it’s mixed together and left on the raised part of the silver dish. Yetnal Bulgogi is eaten like Japanese sukiyaki over a bowl of hot rice. It’s the perfect antidote to a cold wintery night, and a great choice for when you don’t feel like barbeque.
371A Pitt Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9264 7010