Posted August 6, 2010 by Jennifer Lam in Bar

Monkey Magic

There is lots to like about Monkey Magic – it’s nostalgic theme, their chillax vibe, the sophisticated decor and the well-crafted menu. There isn’t one thing on the menu I don’t want to try.
It is clearly date night, with couples spread across every corner of the restaurant. We’re one of them and I’m really excited as I’ve been daydreaming about the menu all afternoon.

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills, interior of restaurant

We start with the renkon chips ($6) which are crisp lotus roots. Most of them are light and crunchy, deliciously seasoned well with freshly cracked pepper and pink salt, but some are densely saturated with oil and over-cooked.
The cocktail menu continues the Monkey Magic theme by playfully categorising the drinks into journey from the east and to the west. I have the Fairy Wings ($16) from the east menu. It is a refreshing twist of cucumber and gin, smoothed with honey and a hint of absinthe. The flavours are delicate and revitalising.

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - cocktail, beer and renkon lotus root chips

We also have half a dozen of oysters ($21), served with a tangy ponzu dressing which has notes of the Japanese citrus, yuzu.

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - oyster with yuzu ponzu granite

Moving onto a selection of small dishes, we share the duck pancake ($16, 4 pieces) and sugar cured salmon ($17).
The roast duck is succulent with a light smokey flavour. The accompanying dark miso sauce is earthy and flavourful. The buckwheat pancake is small in size and due to its flimsy and moist nature, we eat this dish deconstructed. I’m not sure if the chef intended on making this a DIY wrap style dish, but we take the neater route.

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - duck pancake, roasted duck with buckwheat pancake and dark miso sauce

The sugar cured salmon is served with salty pops of salmon roe, thin shavings of fennel and a vibrant preserved lemon and yuzu dressing. Yum!

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - sugar cured salmon with shaved fennel, preserved lemon and yuzu dressing

Next we share the Monkey Magic Style Sushi Selection ($35, large). It is a beautifully presented platter of nigiri sushi, each uniquely paired with flavours such as yuzu cream, sesame dressing, basil sauce, ao-nori tempura flakes, tartare and yellow anticucho.

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills- Monkey Magic Style Sushi Selection

We then welcome the larger dishes and share the Saikyo Miso Toothfish ($34), Teriyaki Chicken ($19), Wok Tossed Mushrooms ($7) and rice. It’s a lot of food for just two, and even the waiter comes to confirm we still want these dishes… But it’s a cold rainy night and we have big appetites 🙂
The miso toothfish is an absolute stand out – buttery, slightly nutty, flakey and oh so good.
The teriyaki chicken is a tad dry and strangely served with wasabi. The mushrooms on the other hand are aromatic and robust in flavour, making us feel that tiny bit healthier, knowing we had some vegetable in-take.

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - rice

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - main courses -teriyaki chicken, saikyo miso toothfish and wok tossed mushrooms and lettuce hearts with citrus miso

And dessert? We share the banana and white chocolate spring rolls ($13). I think they’re something you either love or hate. In our case, we loved everything about them, from the zesty taste of shiso leaves to the slight tartness of the raspberry coulis which balances out the sweetness of the banana and white chocolate. Green tea ice cream is always a winner too.

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - dessert of banana and white chocolate spring roll with shiso leaves, raspberry coulis and green tea ice cream

Monkey Magic - Surry Hills - at the bar

So whether you want a full dining experience or just some plates of superb food to share, let Monkey Magic work its charm on you.

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Monkey Magic
Shop 3, 406 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW
Phone: (02) 9358 4444
Web: www.monkeymagic.com.au

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JENIUS and her partner dined as guests of Monkey Magic and WasaMedia.

Jennifer Lam

Jennifer is the founder of I Ate My Way Through. Growing up in the multicultural melting pot of Sydney’s Inner West as a second generation Australian (of Vietnamese refugee parents of Teochew Chinese ancestry), Jen has always had a deep curiosity about global cuisines, culinary heritage and the cultural assimilation of immigrants. For Jen and her family, food is always at the centre of all celebrations, life events and milestones. A lover of the finer things in life, as well as cheap eats, her blogging ethos is all about empowering and inspiring people to expand their culinary repertoire. These days, you'll most likely find Jen blogging about slow & intentional living On The Slow Lane and sharing what she knows now about mindful parenting and play-based learning at Mama's Got This.