Monk and Me, again

11/12/2011 11:42:00 PM

The new Chef's Specials menu at Monk and Me

Monk and Me
9 Evans Place
Hawthorn East VIC 3123
(03) 9813-1151

Earlier this month, Clement, manager of Monk and Me invited me to try out their new specials, and of course I accepted!  Full disclosure: as you may have read in my previous post about Monk and Me, Clement is a friend of my brother, who worked there many years ago.  However, I really like the food and often visit as a paying customer.  (Sandra, in particular, is obsessed - obsessed, I tell you! - with their super crispy, amazing curry puffs).

Knowing that three dishes would be way too much food for just two people, we enlisted the Food Rehab crew to help out with the eating - thanks for the awesome company and sharing tummy space!  Between the four of us, we were Tweeting, Foursquaring and Facebook-ing like crazy throughout the night - cameras and iPhones at the ready!  (But no flash photography of course, wouldn't want to distract the other customers!)

We started off with some entrees: curry puffs (of course), and a new item, Jade's Trio.  These were juicy little steamed prawn dumplings, with a dipping sauce of soy, chilli and vinegar.
Jade’s Trio – steamed prawn dumplings - $9.00 for a serve of 3.
Curry Puffs – $6.00 for a serve of 2. 

For our mains, we shared the three specials, with two serves of coconut rice - a good amount for four people.

Beef Kelantan - Tender gravy beef cubes in an aromatic spicy sauce with coconut shavings. $22.
The Beef Kelantan looked similar to a rendang, but was quite different.  With less gravy than a traditional curry, this dish was full of large, tender chunks of beef held together with a deeply flavoured, almost smoky sauce.

Hoi-sin Quartet - Steamed scallops, rockling fillets, calamari and king prawns served in a fish soup with onion, lemongrass, ginger, celery, pepper, dry chilli topped with steamed choy sum and green beans. $26.
Malaysian food can tend to be a little oily, and the light, clean tastes of the Hoi-sin Quartet were a welcome contrast.

Duck Massam - Boneless braised duck in a hot and sour sauce with okra, zucchini, capsicum, ginger flowers and kaffir lime leaves. $25.
Finally, we have my favourite dish of the night: the Duck Massam.  It contained a generous amount of boneless duck pieces, and I absolutely loved the sauce.  It had a nice chilli heat to it, and an addictive sour taste: similar to assam laksa or fish head curry.  Lovely!

There had been quite a bit of food, but we somehow found room for dessert...

Raspberry and Passionfruit Sorbet - $7.50
Refreshing, fruity sorbets are always nice after a rich and spicy meal!

Sago pudding served with brown sugar & coconut milk - $7.50
I love traditional Malaysian desserts, and this comforting sago pudding topped with rich coconut milk (mmm... santan... lemak!) reminded me of the bubor cha cha and pulut hitam that my mum used to make when I was a kid.

Banana fritter topped with maple syrup and served with vanilla ice-cream - $9.50
And of course, we had to order the classic Asian-restaurant dessert: banana fritters.  Who doesn't love them?  They just go to prove my theory that "deep fried" makes everything better, hehe.  I was impressed by the generous size of the bananas (har har), but wasn't convinced about the need for the drizzle of chocolate sauce. However, overall it was a satisfying dessert: freshly fried, crispy and tasty.

It was a super fun evening - fantastic company and lots of delicious food.  It was also good to try some new dishes, as I tend to stick to my old favourites whenever I visit.  Thanks to Clement and the team at Monk for a great night!

Sarah and friends dined as guests of Monk and Me.

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My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.