Review: Monkey Magic, Surry Hills9

Posted on July 28, 2010 by ChristieRestaurants

20% off at Monkey Magic on Mon/Tues/Wed nights, all Winter!

Quick! Get your Japanese-food-lovin’-mouth down to Monkey Magic.

Dillon and I have deemed it the best Japanese food we’ve tasted (outside of Japan), in Sydney. You still following me?

We went early on a Tuesday night and stayed for a few hours (you’ll see why when you feast your eyes on all the food pics) and the restaurant was almost full by 7.30pm.

I guarantee you it’s not just because of this special 20% off deal they’re offering right now – it’s because the food is bloody fantastic (excuse my Aussie cursing!).

We started with Edamame ($6) – it’s the perfect appetiser, especially with a cold beer or white wine – although I had neither of those due to the Little Miss I’m growing inside my tummy.

They’ve also got a great sounding cocktail menu which I look forward to trying later in the year.

The edamame were sprinkled with pink salt and the pods were dry, firm and warm, just the way I like them.

Next up was the Sashimi ($18) (see first pic above) and although I’m not supposed to eat raw fish as a pregnant lady, I snuck a piece. What’s a girl to do when her hubby is ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ about the softness and freshness of the fish?

Besides, I’m sure Japanese women eat raw fish all the time and I was confident the fish was handled carefully, which is the main reason they tell you not to eat it raw while pregnant.

It was delicious. They sure know how to respect fish at Monkey Magic. I’d urge you to travel, across town if necessary, to try it for yourself.

Caramelised pork lettuce cup ($17, 4 pieces). These were super fresh and crispy, positively rejuvenating. The roasted tomato and nam jim (Thai style) salsa added a nice piquancy and sourness to the rich, sweet pork.

Agedashi Tofu ($8). This is one of my all-time favourite Japanese dishes.

I’m totally addicted to contrast of flavours and textures; the silky smooth centre, the crispy shell, the umami-rich broth and of course the super thin bonito flakes that sit on top and seemingly come alive as they uncurl in the hot steam.

This version was near perfect.

Thanks to Jill Dupleix on Twitter, I recently discovered the awesome YouTube series Cooking with Dog (it’s not what you think!) which shows how to make agedashi tofu step-by-step. Stay tuned, because I’ll be trying it soon.

Soft Shell Crab Roll ($15). Yum, yum! The spicy mayonnaise really made this for me. I’m a big fan of Japanese mayo.

Prawn Noodle Salad ($18). We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the house-made noodles in this lip smacking chilled salad.

There were so many flavours and textures and the fragrant soy and truffle dressing brought them all together in harmony. Bonus points for the crunchy little panko crumbs, just lovely.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly ($32). Oh. My. Goodness! Heaven.

We’d already eaten enough for four people, but just had to try this dish – along with a side of wasabi mashed potatoes (divine!).

The pork was soft and sweet and I really loved the gelatinous fat layer that glided down a dream.

Molten Chocolate Pudding ($13). I know what you’re thinking – piglets! Yes, I’d agree.

It’s just that I was told this was really nice and what’s a restaurant review without dessert food porn?

It tasted as good as it looks.

We waddled out with big grins on our faces and happy hearts. We’ll be back and more than willing to pay full price, but you should check it out now, the 20% discount offer ends on September 1st.

Fig & Cherry dined as guests of Monkey Magic. Many thanks to Krissie at Wasamedia and Monkey Magic for making it possible.

Sayonara, Christie x

ps. Sorry I missed a week of Foreign Food Fridays last week! Don’t worry, it’s back again this Friday :)

  • looks super delicious! Okay – adding Monkey Magic to our list of places to eat when we go ‘home’ for a visit in October – thanks xx

    • Thanks Michelle – I adore your website! Your children are gorgeous and your photography is stunning. Plus, I might even start knitting (maybe!).

  • I love your description of the bonito flakes coming alive – the first time I saw them I was quite worried by it! All the best with your little Miss too!

    • Hi Arwen, The first time I saw them I stared for a long time trying to figure out what they were and why they were moving! Absolutely fascinating :)

  • Wow best Japanese food outside of Japan, now that is huge!

  • Great pics Christie! I can’t believe it took me so long to check this place out. The food and service are a cut above.

  • KatyB

    Beautiful pics. I like that they keep the lighting low in Monkey Magic. I don’t want to sound like a whinging Yank but I find Sydney restuarants way too bright!

    • Hi Katy – Agreed! It’s a lovely atmosphere. Perfect for throwing back their gorgeous cocktails and over-indulging in the food :)

  • Fabulous food and stunning pictures. The presentation skills of the chef (chefs) is simply magic. Pity I would have to travel half-way round the world to eat there!

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