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Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Monk and Me

Better write this while it is still fresh in my memory.

Monday night, my girlfriends and I dropped into
Monk & Me for a catch up dinner. The place was a little hard to find. Evans Place is actually on the side of the large car park in front of Rivoli Theatre, or the back of Bourke Road, Camberwell. But technically it is Hawthorn East.

I had a look at my Good Food Guide and Cheap Eats guides and didn’t see the restaurant mentioned, so I went to the place not knowing what cuisine it served and how good it was.

Once at the restaurant, there weren’t many people, so I could easily spot my friends. The decor was simple, with wooden communal benches in the centre of the room, and wooden square tables on the side. There was some attempt at creating an Asian feel with antique Asian decorative carved wood window panels and artwork on the walls. It reminded me of Omah’s at Port Melbourne, but less sophisticated. So I didn’t think much of the place, but after looking at the menu and tasting the offerings… I would definitely go back.

Our dinner began with two entrees, Lohbak – Minced chicken blended with five spices, wrapped in bean curd skin and fried; and Ling – Rockling fillets marinated in curry paste and snap fried.

Then we got a bit greedy and ordered three mains: Chicken Red Curry, Mee Goreng (Indian Style) – Wok-tossed Hokkien noodles with a blend of spices, bean curd, potatoes, tomatoes, chicken, egg and prawns, garnished with fresh lettuce, shallots and a wedge of lemon; Gado Gado – Mixed vegetables, tofu steamed and topped with peanut sauced garnished with egg slices and pappadams; and a side of Roti slices with peanut sauce.

All the food was awesome! I loved the lohbak especially with the light plum sauce provided. The rockling fillet was fried just right, and great with the sweet chilli sauce provided. Mains were spicy, fresh and delicious. The chicken was so infused with the red curry that it was a reddish-brown colour, which I first mistook for slow-cooked beef. Roti slices were a bit oily and the mee goreng a bit salty but very flavoursome.

One thing that slightly diminish the overall enjoyment was that the waitress gave us the bill without us even asking for it, even though she said “Here’s the bill but in your own time”. I don’t know, I just found that somewhat rude, and that would never happen in a fine dining restaurant. I know it’s not a fine dining restaurant but I would not except that from a well-decked out place. Our bill came out to be $25 each including wine –
Evans & Tate Estate Shiraz (creamy and delightful).

Monk and Me
9 Evans Place
Hawthorn East
03 9813 1151

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