Jackie McMillan
21st Apr 2024

With a LED-tunnel entranceway, fluorescent perspex bar cabinets, and an undulating ceiling of molten silver, Funda Sydney screams nightclub louder than restaurant. Leaving it to young people however, would be a mistake. Executive chef Jung-Su Chang and head chef Chris Kim (ex-Tetsuya’s) ensure the food shines as brightly as the neon. The magic starts with fried seaweed rolls ($12/each) that wrap a log of prawn-and-scallop mousse in seaweed and perilla leaf then pass them through the deep fryer so they arrive looking like street food-style Korean fishcakes. 

Lean on the attentive and knowledgeable floor team for suggestions. Their recommendation—tender curls of calamari ($32) with soy-pickled seaweed and celery—were the highlight of my night. We were expertly steered into Australian-made Hoju soju ($80/500ml) straight and in a seamless martini ($20) with Four Pillars yuzu gin, sunrise lime, and mango leaf oil. However, with its shocking crimson hue, the Red Monkey makgeolli ($35) was my drinking highlight, taken with sticks of tteokbokki rice cakes ($9/each) lashed with gochujang and avocado. 

We moved from the fun of Korean night market to hiramasa kingfish sashimi ($29), which lubricated buttery, firm-fleshed fish and crisp nori strips with kimchi oil. Chef Kim makes the latter in-house, so in true Korean fashion you can opt to punctuate everything with crunchy daikon and basil kimchi ($8) and juicy white wombok kimchi ($10). Silky cold noodles—bibimmyun ($28)—team soy-cured bluefin tuna, mushroom sauce and cucumber into a palate-soothing dish. Miso cream and pickled shiitake mushrooms make plump mussels ($28) into an instant classic: I predict they’ll be adopted more widely. Across all these dishes, including my beloved Skull Island prawns ($16/each) served split with XO pipis ssamjang sauce, this kitchen did not miss a beat.