Our second stop is Monkey Magic, surprisingly a Japanese bar restaurant rather than a Chinese restaurant as the title may imply. The place is hard to spot at first, with minimal signage and when peering in from the street, it appears to be a room of wooden logs and chairs. The beauty of it all lies up the stairs.
Pork san choi bao
Soft shell crab sushi roll
For nibbles we order pork san choi baos (finely sliced meat, vegetables and sauce served in a lettuce cup) and a soft shell crab sushi roll to share. I definitely enjoyed the san choi bao – the fillings were generous as well as the sauce, and the lettuce cups were fresh, crunchy and green. I’m not a soft shell crab fanatic, but it was better than I had expected and better than many I’ve had before – it was crunchy and digestible; I’ve had too many occasions when the shell is just too chewy to swallow.
We never order dessert as we usually consume way too many cocktails, but as a treat, we order the tiramisu served with biscotti (not shown) – as my work colleague and I are still on the world search for the best tiramisu. It’s a white sesame tiramisu with flavoursome layers of mascarpone and espresso soaked sponge fingers – there was a subtle hint of sesame, but not very evident at all. Big grins all round.
Ego Garden Tea, Ageha Tokyo Punch, Gomeshu Bon Bon, Kirishima Sour
As the cocktails arrived, we did the circle taste test. I definitely enjoyed my poison of choice, the Kirishima Sour, a very nice balance of sweet and sour flavours. The other hot favourite was the Gomeshu Bon Bon served with a sugar rim and orange peel stars.
Great place for a quality catch up – subtle music, not too busy with great food and cocktails.
3&4, 410 Crown St
Surry Hills, Sydney