[Sydney] I will be honest here, I came here for the truffle. Okay, maybe for the Poernomos.
However, Monkey’s Corner located at Chippendale Sydney does have quite a reputation, even though it is just a small bar.
The founders are not just anybody, they are the Poernomo Bros (Reynold, Ronald and Arnold) who are the also owners of one of Sydney’s best places for desserts – KOI Dessert Bar. (Reynold Poernomo gained fame as a dessert whiz after his appearance on MasterChef Australia.)
Arnold has a particular preference for savoury foods, so he wanted to make this the focus of Monkey’s Corner.
(Photo credit: Monkey’s Corner)
While this is basically a cocktail bar with a range of interesting drinks, there are other interesting aspects. One thing is the size of the building (which is also heritage listed).
It is tiny, only has 20 seats (10 inside, 10 outside), and is designed Japanese style.
Food choices are quite limited because they can’t actually cook in the traditional way (ie grilling and frying) inside due to heritage restrictions.
To get around this, they use a blow torch and serve food either raw or steamed. The food is interesting as there are things like slow cooked ox tongue, smoked and whipped eel on toast, rice bowl with spicy trout belly paste, steamed corn tossed with popcorn and gochujang butter.
The food is basically high-end bar snacks, loads of focus on seafood, and the servings are not very big and so you would not come here for a sit-down meal.
Items are seasonal, so you get different things every time you return.
Some of the hot food available (at time of writing) include King prawn with kombu butter chives and lime (AUD22), Ox tongue, beef fat, chives and lime (AUD15), Kingfish collar with sichimi and furikake (AUD16), and Duck breast, dashi, charred shallots (AUD18).
For the rice bowls available in limited quantities, they include Rice with scrambled egg and kewpie mayo (AUD12), Rice with spicy trout tartare (AUD14), Crack & Truffle which includes rice, black truffle, scrambled egg, foie gras (AUD45), and Crack bowl of goose foie gras, wagyu rump and onion sauce (AUD48).
As the presentation is very elegant, Uni (sea urchin) and Ikura (Yarra Valley salmon roe) rice bowl are some of the most popular dishes on Instagram.
The Black Truffle egg noodle with mushroom (AUD27) came literally piled with truffle shavings, that could really send truffle-lovers on a high.
It hit quite a nice spot, I imagined the base to be quite rich and creamy, but everything came together well-balanced.
The egg noodles were springy with a soft-chewy bite, and you get truffles accompanying every spoonful.
Though the plate has increased price recently from AUD25 to 27, it is still probably worth that indulgent treat.
Feeling that I needed to go on a budget, I also ordered the Rice with scrambled egg and kewpie mayo (AUD12).
This looked simple enough, reminding me of a Japanese Oyakodon WITHOUT the meat, but it rose beyond how it looked taste-wise.
There was this delicious-fluffiness about the texture of the egg, and made a perfect-comforting light meal with the steaming hot rice.
While majority of online reviews are positive, some complain about small serving size and lack of seasoning.
Service was attentive and friendly, but customers may have to wait 30+ minutes for a table. No reservations are taken on SAT or SUN due to small size of venue and limited seats.
Oh yes, you can pair your meal with the Instagram-worthy KOI Bobba (AUD15) of Thai tea cream with tapioca pearl, hazelnut sponge, freeze dried mandarin and salted coconut ice cream.
If not, Monkey’s Corner is located right next to KOI Dessert Bar, so you can enjoy both dinner and a dessert.
40 Kensington Street, Chippendale NSW 2008, Australia
Tel: +61 9212 2085
Opening Hours: 5:00pm – 11:00pm (Tue-Fri), 12:00pm – 11:00pm (Sat), 12:00pm – 10:00pm (Sun)
Google Maps – Monkey’s Corner